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With the Fenix 5, the killer “app” will be MAPS and the gargantuan, cumulative effect of a shed-load of individually-trivial functionality.
Think about it though…
In the market for devices for casual runners, this MAPPING feature is worthless.
So there are lots of different killer functions and apps for sports watches depending on the segment targeted. There is also a trickle down effect where one year’s high-end function on an expensive watch gets passed down to a lower model in subsequent years. 2016 saw optical HR doing this whereas in 2014/5 it was decent smartphone notifications and before that activity tracking; and so on into the past.
In cycling, Garmin are integrating with in-ride sensors and functions; Group Tracking and Varia lights, for example, as well as integrating automated bits of gadgetry like heads-up displays and gear shifting. Of course also integrating with STRAVA and other ‘social’ and performance functions – these are also ‘killer’ features to varying degrees.
Here are some ‘attractive areas’ for the future, no doubt there are many more for the list. These are potentially SIGNIFICANTLY LARGE IMHO:
- Untethered music – this will appeal to many segments. This is happening NOW in 2016/17.
- New sensor types eg hydration from BSX’s LVL. But rather integrating such a sensor type within, for example, an existing oHR chip or putting a new sensor type into a watch. So rather than ‘an optical sensor array’ you would have ‘an optical hr and hydration sensor array’
- Running power (currently only on STRYD, yes I know there are sceptics out there)
- MAPPING – ever heard of Google Maps? It’ll never catch on, I’m sure 🙂
- HRV based training: used holistically and making it work properly ie MUCH more than what Garmin have done so far; and Garmin already do more than most.
- More and better smartphone integration – eg integration with other smartphone apps/widgets via AndroidWear/WatchOS
- Fashionable ‘proper’ sports devices
Of course there will always be new, highly-specific, bits and pieces but I wouldn’t class those as ‘killer’ apps/functions/hardware eg a more sensitive HRM might sway some people but not many. those are MUCH more targeted bits of functionality for smaller market segments.
There are other gadget areas bandied about as potentially important, like ‘hearables’ and devices built into rings. I’m sceptical about a lot of this stuff, at least in their current technical incarnations. Yes a Bluetooth earbud that also doubles as an accurate optical HR sensor is great but that is 2015 not 2017; nothing new needs to go in an earbud other than that. There are also things that are of interest to me personally like Muscle Oxygenation or Gait analysis – but I doubt the mass markets exist for those.