Garmin Forerunner 945 – Imminent?

I’ve done some more digging after Monday’s post on the Forerunner 245 and 245 Music. The 2x 245 product releases are a near certainty, just take that as being correct and move on.

However there is evidence that I have seen which shows that the Garmin Forerunner 945 is to be released very soon ie by the end of May 2019.

The Curious Case of the Band in the Filing

The FCC filing IPH-03521 , including the detail in the SAR report, demonstrates that Garmin’s new watch has these characteristics

  1. It is a wrist-worn transmitter – ie it IS a watch.
  2. It has Bluetooth and ANT+ : ANT+ *IS* specifically noted (read the full submission 😉 carefully).
  3. It has WiFi – this has typically been for high-end devices like Fenix 3/5/920XT/935. Such a feature will likely become more mainstream however – NOT for the post-workout uploads but rather to support music streaming and download when at home. The world is moving towards streaming and, whilst caching over BLE at home or on the move is used, it’s not as good as home WiFi.
  4. It has NFC capability – near field comms as typically used for instant payments and Garmin Pay. OK it could be used, instead, for some fancy, proximity pairing to ANT+/BLE sensors to improve the reliability or speed of pairing but I think that’s a longshot of an idea
  5. The rectangular label that is shown implies a rectangular watch face or it implies a small rectangular label on a round watch!
Garmin Forerunner 935 Review

Jeez. there will even be new features like auto-transition support.

Bear with me and indulge me for a little longer.

The FR245 and FR245M launch is IMMINENT. I’m pretty sure they were pulled from CES2019. Let’s assume that to be true. It seems likely that if there are any other simultaneous launches, which there are, then they would have been for a related product. So, to me, this would exclude a Fenix 6 and exclude something like a Vivomove (the analogue hybrid) and probably yet another Vivoactive (too soon). Then, of the products that are overdue and related, this only leaves the entry-level Forerunner 45, the Forerunners 945 and 745XT triathlon watches and maybe also a Fenix 5 Chronos.

I’ve been told that the 745XT is on hold for the near future even though it is due to be replaced and only has CIQ2. But I don’t know for sure if that is true.

So we then pose the questions

  • Q: Will an entry-level, rectangular Forerunner 45 have streaming Music (WiFi) and  NFC payments?
  • A: It’s possible, I guess. But a long shot. Say 5%

But let’s now kill off even that 5% chance.

The Killer Blow – The Curious Band

The filing shows part number 010-12740-01 is used and that, my friends, is a quick fit band. These historically are compatible only with Fenix-related devices, including the 935. Inconveniently for my argument, they are also supported by the mid-range Garmin Instinct.

Curiously both a TITANIUM Quickfit and a SILICONE Quickfit one were tested.

Thus the curious band indicates a watch that is very likely to be mid-range to high-range and sport/outdoors related. That could be the Fenix 6 but I think it is too early and I think that Garmin’s flagship cash-generating watch will get a launch of its own rather than sharing it with a FR245. Plus there is zero chance that the Fenix 6 will have a rectangular watch face. OK, almost zero.

  • Q: What about a Fenix 5 Plus Chronos?
  • A: Well the titanium band might support your argument, I guess. Chronos won’t launch alongside a mid-range running watch (FR245M), if at all. Why test a Chronos with a cheap silicone band?

So that only leaves the update to the Garmin Forerunner 935 – ie the Forerunner 945. I guess the filing must be for the new tri watch

  • It’s due
  • It’s due as a ‘935 plus’ version rather than a 945 as I would have expected it to lag behind developments in the Fenix line. However it is now near-certain that we will see a 945 model, which implies new hardware and firmware.
  • Q: As a 945 model, would it have payments and music? A: Sure, why not. I’d buy it for those.
  • Q: Would it have that rectangular watch face? A: That would probably be the best thing to meet the need of the market of people who buy it and make it a better product and make me very happy. I just don’t see it though as it then becomes much more of a totally new product (with new bugs) rather than a plastic Fenix 5 Plus that ‘just works’. My money here is on a small rectangular label on a round watch!
  • Q: Would it have Quickfit straps? A: Most certainly, yes.

Timing and Other Factors

Time is running out to sensibly launch a triathlon watch ahead of the triathlon season. But there is still time and, in any case, if a launch was pulled from CES in January then most of the marketing work has already been done.

But what about the name

  • Q: Is it going to be called the MARQ?
  • A: Maybe not. There are two TM registrations of the MARQ word and one is linked to an analogue watch (possibly the one if you follow this link which is no tri watch). It could just be that the Trademark category also covers analogue watches and/or that Garmin wanted to stop an analogue watch of the same name being released.
  • A: Maybe so. You look up and hear “Go for it young triathlete, RUN and make your MARK/Q” …it does work. (kinda!)
  • A: Maybe so. The Forerunner people may have got fed up with the success of the FENIX brand name and want one for their own 😉
  • A: Maybe so. I thought that a 645t or 645 Triathlon was a possible name BUT that doesn’t help ‘locker room talk about gadgets’ and doesn’t quite roll of the tongue well enough for my liking. Whereas ” What was the distance shown on your MARQ?” does work.

Then there is the interview with Natalia Cabrera,  Commercial Director, Garmin Iberia. Published 30Sep2018 (Spanish Language source http://www.planetatriatlon.com/garmin-nueva-tienda/ ) – Sorry Natalia, you gave the interview. Read the full translation which says

  • “Cabrera ensures that next year the entire *range* of triathlon will be renewed and there will be surprises.
  • “big novelty at the potentiometer level . Something very new, which is not in the market and at a very affordable price, “he says. And they want it to be available to everyone.”

As I’ve said before several times this means a new 935 and a new 735XT and it might also mean a new, cheaper tri watch too. Clearly this could mean a new low-cost STRYD competitor footpod as well (potentiometer or Polar-like power measurement).

Garmin HRM-SWIM 920XT 735XT

Let’s get all 3 of these upgraded please.

Summary

The Garmin MARQ announcement is imminent with availability let’s say within 4-6 weeks.

It will be based on the innards of the Fenix 5 Plus. IE a faster, higher spec processor and support for Garmin Pay and Garmin’s Music (Streaming) Services.

It might have LTE and it might have a rectangular screen.

Oh. And it will have curious QUICKFIT Bands. OK. OK. Normal ones…titanium and silicone.

Opinion

I don’t like the conclusion that I came to. It doesn’t ring true to me and it plays on what I personally want to happen rather than, perhaps, the reality of what will happen. 2-3 big launches as well as the Vivoactive 3 for CES2019???? That doesn’t sound like Garmin. But you have the facts, or can Google them for yourself. Garmin and others have done the leaking first here…not me. Make your own call.

I’ll change this document based on what you say below, so…comment away.

And then we have this…and are we back to Garmin on WearOS again?

Garmin patent (Feb 2019) on uspto.gov via @MontreCardioGPS

and then we have this filing https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=10146188 and we probably have the hybrid analog/digital MARQ. #sigh

More Reading:

Garmin 2019: New Products – Forerunner 245M Fenix6 ?!? 945 ? Edge 1040 ? Speculation

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Jérôme
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Garmin registered Marq and Marq Analog. I therefore reckon it ‘s not the name of the tri line.

Guillermo Guerini
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Guillermo Guerini

I hope the 945 or whatever it’s going to be called doesn’t have a squared display. I know this is a big request from 920xt owners, it was mine when I came from the 920, but after a few days I was totally converted. This is especially true for people like me that wears the watch 24/7. The 920xt is comically ugly. I still remember the jokes I used to hear. This is also one of the reasons why I don’t like the Apple Watch.

About the name, it’s about time to get away from the Forerunner line. I’m not sure the answers is Marq. Let’s see….

Anxiously waiting for this watch iteration.

Will
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Will

My gross and possibly incorrect assumption is that a 24/7 wearer is typically (not exclusively) a daily step counter person. But a triathlon competitor cares less, if at all, about daily steps and more about the core functions of swimming, cycling, running.

Which in my small world means a triathlete favours a square format watch.

My 2p worth.

gingerneil
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gingerneil

With apple watch and fitbit being square, I think its now a little more acceptable for that form factor. I love my 935 (despite arranging an RMA today for sticky buttons – and yes, I asked about a 945 and go laughed at!). I MUCH prefer a round watch, but I could see there being a square variant. Is there a need for 735 and 935 to both be round ? Maybe the 735 replacement goes square to keep the tri folk happy, and the 935 replacement sticks as a round watch with the same generation internals as the Fenix family (as now?).

Guillermo Guerini
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Guillermo Guerini

I forgot to disclose that I am a triathlete. I do have a head unit on my bike, therefore I never look at my watch when I’m riding. When I’m swimming in a race, I also never look at my watch. The only time I look at my watch (when exercising) is when I am at the pool after a set or when running. In both cases, I don’t feel the necessity of having a square screen. You can have 4 data fields in the round screen. The square screen is REALLY useful when you are riding a bike AND you don’t have a head unit. I understand that.. but I assume most triathletes do have a head unit in their bikes. For the day to day use, I don’t care about steps, but I do care about the 24h/7 heart-rate monitoring. Either way, the 935 is a much better looking watch, compared to the 920xt. I’m not say it gorgeous, but it’s functional and very neutral. I don’t know.. I still hope they keep the 935 round. But if that changes, I hope it looks decent. I love my 935 (even after two RMA 1) stopped syncing 2) the… Read more »

Mike
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Mike

A new 935 with a rectangular screen, permitting bigger fonts on a larger display. A larger plastic watch, allowing for a bigger GPS antenna. Sounds perfect to me.

Justin
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Justin

I am not averse to a square faced watch. My wife has the Fitbit Ionic; plenty of my clients own the Apple watch; it’s not an ugly form fit for a watch face. Couple this with added functionality (physical like GPS antenna). My only concern is; It’s Garmin. And Garmin watches don’t always look, nice. The Fenix is a good looking watch, The 935 too, if not a tad bit on the sporty end of the spectrum. But then you have some of the vivo bands, the forerunner 35, which to me is hideous looking. How about the 920xt? People love it for what it could do, wasn’t much of a looker. And the thing is; some people want to wear the product 24/7. Hell, I RELY on the smartwatch functions of the 935 all the time now. I can’t tell you how many calls or emails I might have missed had I not been wearing this all the time. Now take that need and ask me to weigh is against wearing for “fugly” looking watch? This is the same issue some runners come up against with sneakers. You find the best runners you’ve ever tried on, they do everything… Read more »

Tomas Fojta
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Tomas Fojta

The picture is not properly rendered Here is the original patent filing and it looks like Forerunner 35: https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=D0839753&IDKey=7028A232702D

Another interesting (older) patent filing https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=10146188 shows maybe Marq?

Matt
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Matt

I knew you’d come around 😉

But really, it is a new high end Tri watch. I think the big sell with be the battery life + all the F5+ stuffs.

mark cameron
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mark cameron

Could they not add an NFC chip to a band and then make it easier to upgrade the 935?

Justin
Supporter
Justin

I’d rather they got in on the smart bands that act as an extra battery. For those amongst us that Ultramarathon, having an additional battery waiting to keep the watch running AND to swap out other bands on the fly (potentially, I honestly don’t know how the tech works in detail) would be far more critical than anything else.

Though, if they could squeeze in NFC too, that’ll be fine too.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Also to note: they specifically call out e-label, so it’s definitely not rectangular in reference to the printed label on the back of the device.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I will do a longdistance race in July and really want to upgrade from my 735xt because that battery sucks and wont survive the race anyway.
I also like a round shape.
Should I wait for a possible 945? The longer I wait the less I have a nice watch for my training (if they announce in April and deliver in may for example).
I have a small wrist so a bit smaller than 935 would be nice, also I am a bit afraid of all the stories people had to send them back because of errors.

Lazaros Filippidis
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Lazaros Filippidis

I hope for a rectangular screen, for a start you get so much more screen space, then aesthetically it is the same (although this is a bit subjective)