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
- It is a wrist-worn transmitter – ie it IS a watch.
- It has Bluetooth and ANT+ : ANT+ *IS* specifically noted (read the full submission 😉 carefully).
- 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.
- 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
- The rectangular label that is shown implies a rectangular watch face or it implies a small rectangular label on a round watch!
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).
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.
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?
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