It’s only right to speculate on the Polar V900 / V850
There’s been plenty of speculation on the Garmin 930XT. There’s no point in speculating on the Ambit 4 as it is the Spartan Sport/Ultra. I suspect BUT HAVE NO INFORMATION FROM POLAR OR ANYONE ELSE that a V900 (v850) is due this year.
EVIDENCE: Other than ‘it’s obvious at some point‘, evidence is scant. Although this little bit of research from @lustyd on a new Polar HRM makes the obvious even ‘slightly more’ obvious, although that obviousness seems to have been misplaced with the recently announced H10.
The V800 is a pretty little thing with a great feature set and sound online ecosystem. Even in January 2017 the firmware is still being updated as new features continue to be added. It could always do with more features for some people and an improved screen resolution would help too. I still use my V800, it’s a perfectly good tri watch.
FORM FACTOR: I can see no great reason to move away from the rectangular screen. Indeed the recently announced M600 clearly shows that the rectangular form is current in Polar’s designers’ minds.
CONNECTIVITY: It will still be BTLE with Polar’s legacy transmission band for underwater HR. It would be ‘nice’ if a new H7i could introduce ANT+ to BTLE conversion in the HRM module allowing the V900 to be compatible with EVERY RELAVENT BTLE AND ANT+ sensor that already exists (PMs, pods, spd/cad). Sweet if they do, this in itself could be a game changer for the market and could deliver a route to challenge Garmin. Likelihood? … medium to low.
BATTERY: The V800’s long battery life is helped by *NOT* having to power a hungry high-res colour screen. The v800 is great for Ultras and the V900 will use improved battery technologies. Lower power-consuming, yet more advanced, technologies will be added to components to maintain battery life to V800 standards. Algorithms that turn off the screen will help this, for example.
OPTICAL HR: – I doubt it. But possible and has been included on the M600. Perhaps this will come as a second iteration of the V900 after 6/12 months?
OUTDOORS – The hiker/adventure set have nearly all bought Garmin Fenix 3s or Ambits. Polar will have been drooling over this uber-profitable sector for many, many months in the relative-triathlon super-watch wilderness. Polar already has the adventure sports profiles ready-to-go on Flow. The V900 will encompass breadcrumb navigation and all that goes with it: GPX track compatibility, compass, barometric altimeter. Maybe not initially but it will be on the routemap for the V900 procession towards market hegemony.
CONNECTIVITY/RELATED – The V900 will have a better charging cable than the V800 and will also support Bluetooth to phone uploads. Probably no WIFI uploads. Special devices like STRYD will be properly supported as might, but less likely, MOXY & BSX Insight MO sensors & hydration sensors. Polar Running dynamics will be supported internally through a proprietary HRM/accelerometer in the H10 and there may also be support for Garmin’s basic Cycling Dynamics via BTLE/ANT+ (or it could just be treadmill speed and cadence from the H10 🙁 ). HR caching WILL be introduced and will see the V900 better support athlete/coach data or team coach data as a top-end device feature (this feature would then be rolled down to more cost-effective devices for teams) however caching is NOT otherwise required by a Polar HRM as it currently transmits underwater.
ANT+ compatibility is the single most important strategic feature that Polar cold introduce. They seem reticent. Just about EVERY SINGLE media commentator has told them to go with ANT+. I would be one of those people.
SCREEN – will be colour but, hopefully, not touchscreen.
FLOW – Training programs will be better integrated on-device, so supporting recently announced FLOW training features.
MISSING: Garmin are moving to support additional spatial devices eg bike radar and bike lights. Polar won’t do that. Garmin are moving to support social cycling facilities eg group track (like Wahoo). Polar probably won’t do that either as they don’t have Garmin’s critical mass. Suunto are moving big into peer group stats. Polar might make more moves to integrate social features of either training and or sharing of the results of exercises (some may have been announced a few months back from my vague and failing memory).
APPS: Apps will not appear on Polar’s top-end devices. Such devices will be ‘proper’ high-end workhorses rather than toys (said nicely). Polar will NOT develop an app ecosystem; they have effectively chosen AndroidWear for mid-range devices and personally I think this is a good strategy to meet the need for ‘apps’.
Target: Could the V900 be a Fenix3-killer as well as a 920XT killer? Hopefully we will all soon find out. but it needs to be a Fenix 5 killer and a 930XT killer – whatever they soon turn out to be – that is a HARD ask, probably impossible.
Arguments Against: The tri market is a relatively small one. Polar may well be focussing on more mass market opportunities eg for the M200/M600 for the running world or the larger bike market. The tri market is QUITE demanding when it comes to delivering a complex and working product.
Those are my initial thoughts. I would love to here what you would LIKE as well as what you think MIGHT ACTUALLY BE in the watch. Any ideas on the name…let’s go V900?!?
PS I REALLY have ZERO inside knowledge. It’s all speculation.