Today’s announcement of the A370 sports & fitness band does not come as a surprise.
You could even add the Polar H10 heart rate monitor (review here) into the mix to further confirm the trend.
Q: So what is the trend?
It looks like Polar’s trend (aka Polar’s strategy) is to invigorate existing devices with a few, fresh features.
It looks like Polar have cleverly tracked changed in the NEEDS/WANTS of the market. Then selected the key changes to incorporate into their products to keep them relevant to the market.
So we’ve seen these highlights and lots of detailed improvements in each:
- H10 – more accurate and caching
- M200 – entry-level running with entry-level optical sensor
- M430 – top-end optical HR sensor
- M460 – STRAVA segments and power improvements
- A370 – connected-GPS, 247 HR and sleep improvements.
Regular readers of this blog will now groan and say ‘Ok…here we go again‘. I’m not going to disappoint 😉
These releases then give us a bit more confidence in predicting what Polar have in store for us next.
- Polar V660 – This is the larger, navigational cycling device. It would be reasonable to assume that this is freshened up with the exact same STRAVA segments as were received in to the M460 (plus extra ‘bits’)
- Polar V810 – The top-end tri-watch will get a colour screen such as can be clicked on to the right…NICE…and optical HR (plus extra ‘bits’…don’t get too excited 🙁 )
Judging by the prodigious rate of release of new products from Polar so far this year it is not UNreasonable to assume that we shall see these devices in the next 4/5 months although word on the street is that the V800 replacement is for spring 2018.
The disappointment might come from those looking for major improvements to the higher-end devices (V650, V810). It looks like only relatively modest hardware and software improvements could be introduced. Remember that companies like Suunto and Polar are small compared to Garmin. The resources that Garmin can throw at their R&D are large. Indeed if Polar can come up with 7 new products in a 12 month period then, actually, that’s pretty amazing. The new ones that I’ve been using are pretty-much working and largely bug-free…ahem GARMIN, take note.
I had this secret hope that in the lead up to Christmas 2017 we will have a ‘TA DA’ moment where Polar pull the ANT+ rabbit of compatibility out of the magician’s hat of Christmas presents (could be a mixed metaphor there but you know what I mean – and that must be the best sentence in sports tech this month…c’mon people!!).
But that isn’t going to happen. If you look at the back of the M460 there is not an ANT+ logo…just a Bluetooth one. Sure there are ANT+-capable bits inside but Mr FCC and other legal bods have not been asked to approve that. That’s a show-stopper when it comes to tech conspiracy theories.
Then again, don’t get taken in by what I’m saying, above.
Just look at Suunto in January 2018. The relatively obvious TRAINER OUTDOORS was another variant on the existing theme. But then, bam!, in comes the Suunto 3 announcement. Although that product looks similar to others, in fact it marks a quite distinct strategic turn for the company.
Maybe Polar have a surprise OR TWO in store for us in 2018? Maybe. (Hint: they do 😉 )