Is the 920XT the end of the line for 9xx devices? Will the next Garmin tri-watch be a 740XT?
The release of the pretty, but plasticy run-cum-tri-watch, the Garmin 735XT, is great.
As a populist tri watch many may well be happy with its sound feature set.
As we’ve seen, though, the “pro gadget wearers” will most likely stick to the 920XT. Even if that is simply because of: the barometer; quick release abilities; or Ironman-friendly battery life. OK there are now a few trivial features missing compared to the 735XT but the key word there is TRIVIAL. They don’t matter one iota in reality.
So does that leave the 920XT as the end-of-the-range for that particular form factor?
It might do. It just might do. But I think not. Here’s why:
Q: Are Garmin going to have 3 near-identically-featured top end tri watches? Fenix 3/4, Forerunner 9XX series and 7XX series?
A: It’s possible. But you have to wonder if those 3 will cannibalize sales from each other rather than from the competition. Such cannibalization is financially BAD NEWS as there are 3ish lots of costs and no additional sales.
REGARDLESS: The Fenix series WILL keep on running – it is simply too profitable. Fact. If Garmin fail to follow that route Suunto certainly will capitalise BIG time. Suunto will be partying like it’s 1999 if the Fenix series fails to go to #4. It’s a no brainer. Honest. there WILL be a Fenix 5 in planning NOW.
If the 9XX series does stop at the existing 920XT then Garmin are missing an Ironman watch. FACT. Plain and simple. For many (not for me) Ironman is the pinnacle of triathlon. If Garmin stop at the 920XT it will be a HUGE financial mistake. First reputationally and eventually financially.
Just for that reason there must be a 930XT
Garmin see the 735XT as an extension of the Forerunner RUNNING WATCH series. They see it as a running watch that can also do tri. The Forerunner 920XT *IS* seen by them as a tri-watch. ie they have 2 different sub-categories.
An optical upgrade for the 920XT to give a 925XT/935XT could happen (this would have been my bet at various times over the last year). It would get some more revenues for sure. Those revenues would probably not come at a huge development cost. Maybe though there would not be so many sales NOW because of purchases of the competing 735XT.
But that optical ‘upgrade’ would still be the 925XT’s Achilles’ Heel as a top-end-watch and dinosaur-purists like me would say ‘it ain’t a proper triathlon watch’. Simple. End-of-story. I’d use my Polar V8xx/Spartan-Sport even more (if the former comes to exist).
What about the argument that the next super tri watch will be the 740XT?
I don’t buy that argument. It would have to have lots of new stuff. I can’t see what that stuff would be. AND IT WOULD NEED DOUBLE THE BATTERY LIFE…the form factor of the 735/740 may not allow that. The 740XT would also have to have a high build quality (the 735XT does not) and that would mean a totally different form factor.
So: There will be a Fenix 4. There MUST be a 930XT otherwise Garmin have messed up; and there might be a 925XT but I think not now. 935XT is more likely further down the line. There will be a 740Xt at some point but that’s a long way away too.
So. We still await the F4 (next) followed by the 930XT. Nothing’s changed.
As to when? Then I still reckon Garmin have a surprise or two in store for us before Christmas, let’s say September. Not necessarily these two named watches, but similar surprises nonetheless. Edit: The surprise from Garmin was a VERY expensive F3, it now looks like Q1.2017 for the F4 or for the 930xt.