May 2019: Sports Watch Update: ‘All’ new & current Bike/Run/Tri/Fitness Models with GPS. Rumours of replacement dates for Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, Fitbit

 

V2.099 – 15 May 2019

This post is regularly updated before being replaced, periodically, with a new one that contains a more pertinent introduction & commentary. The intent is to give you an idea of which GPS Triathlon, Bike and Run sports devices are available NOW and likely to be superseded SOON or which have been DISCONTINUED. As well as reviewing and discussing ALL of the leading endurance tech devices in detail, this site also speculates about some potential devices in detail as well.

Garmin Instinct Review

Baby 245 vs the beast that is the Instinct

Skip to the section you want, though if you are here for the first time and interested in ‘future sports devices’ then this entire post should be of interest (or not !), although last month’s post from April 2019 was probably al little more interesting than the commentary in this one.

Recent New Stuff

The full list of ‘everything’ is further below for each manufacturer and, for now, here are some recent headlines:

Monthly Commentary

The show has begun.

945

My apologies to @RalphR for my overuse of the word IMMINENT, stuff really is imminent though ;-). Like the 945 today as well as the 45 and 245 and ROAM.

Like the opening scene of a good blockbuster movie, Garmin has set 2019 rolling with the Edge 830. The simultaneous announcement of the highly similar Edge 530 to counter the ELEMNT ROAM was perhaps the more interesting plot twist. On paper, the Edge 530 is a 9/10 device with ticks in boxes galore. I described it as the BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE CYCLING COMPUTER that every other device needs to try to beat in one or more respect.

We’ve had some interesting sensor news from Polar and Garmin as the world seems finally to have gone dual BLE/ANT+ mad. Shame it’s taken so long, but sometimes you have to wait for good things. Expect this trend to continue in 2019.

I’ve also had both interesting and relatively uninteresting things turn up via UPS. There will be a non-Garmin something-or-other watch in Mid-May as things currently stand. With a prevailing wind, we should hopefully see 3 somethings that are tri-capable this month in addition to the 945 (one was the Vantage V Titanium, another the Vertix) ie with the 945 that is 4. These things can slip though, despite being ‘imminent’.

We’ve had the Forerunner 45 and the Forerunner 45s (small format) confirmed and they will almost certainly pop onto the shelves soon as the sales season for those types of devices is already well underway. The same argument applies to the Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music which are now shipping. I initially thought these devices would be spread over a few months and then thought that they would be released at the same time (ie this week).

I hopefully have a ‘new’ head unit review for you this month as well as the Wahoo ROAM. 2-3 tri watches too maybe…with another perhaps scheduled for Q4. #BusyBusy

Garmin Running & Triathlon Tech for 2019

I’ve covered all the known Garmin models above and just about anything beyond those is speculation right now. See the table further below for that.

So the main interests here for 2019 are getting to grips with which of the newish features will start to seep down the various Garmin ranges and become standard at cheaper price points. I’m mostly thinking of music, PAY and maps here but we can also have a degree of anticipation for WHEN the Sony GNSS chip and new ELEVATE sensor will make their way onto iterations of other, existing devices. I tend to find it a bit harder to always get my brain around the mass-market VIVOxxxx devices and quite exactly how they fit against the various different elements of product competition in those different sectors.

Of course, there are also new high-end features to make their way across the Fenix/MARQ range and maybe to an Edge 1040. I’m talking about LTE, video recording and (god forbid) voice control. Don’t forget too that Garmin still could be looking at expanding features by supporting Apple Music or Google Play Music and/or by integration with new training platforms.

Other ‘obvious’ speculative predictions include a dual BLE/ANT+ footpod as well as a dual-HRM-TRI/SWIM. The latter will DEFINITELY come soon but the footpod is more of an unknown and may well get tied up becoming a physical pod to rival STRYD if, indeed, Garmin think that market is big enough for them to bother about. ie a new dual Garmin footpod is likely BUT might just end up being like the (discontinued) STRYD Live model and just deliver speed+distance – so it would just add compatibility and maybe also accuracy to what is already offered. This would seem to be an obvious move for Garmin to stay in touch with the ZWIFT POD/MILESTONEPOD part of the market. Even tho the Zwift pod will likely always be cheaper a certain large chunk of people will just buy Garmin accessories to go with their main Garmin watch.

My suspicion is that Garmin will be working on other seemingly boring things. Yet it is these areas that may well more positively impact the more serious athletes amongst you. So I’m talking about things like the TRAINING API and a revamp of the UIs for both the devices and for the wider CONNECT platform. I’m talking about some of the post-workout presentations of data better taking over SOME of the scope that some of us might rely on 3rd party analysis platforms.

We’ve seen too that things like INCIDENT DETECTION, weather and HYDRATION/NUTRITION planning and alerting are also being included to various degrees. I somewhat poo-poo most of those but if you put yourself in the shoes of other types of athletes or fitness fiends then I’m sure you can see they might appeal to others. We’re all different.

WearOS Tech – & Similar Smarts

Not much happening here AFAIK.

I have a new (to me) WearOS device (TicWatch S2). I’m going to be playing with that on STRYD (yep) and maybe a few other interesting things (to me) too if I have the time (which I haven’t).

Bike Wars

Garmin’s Edge 530 looks very impressive and at an unusually low Garmin price as they probably deliberately undercut the new Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM. Some difficult calls ahead for WAHOO even though their usability and free global maps add to the ROAM’s ‘value’. Garmin’s Edge 830 looks less appealing in all its touchscreen glory unless you REALLY want a touchscreen.

The Edge 1040 will not now be with us until 2020 and there will now be some updates to the 1030 in October to match the improvements in the new 530/830 models.

Below is the list of ‘all’ sports devices that you may have read this article for…#Enjoy.

Please let me know of any other new devices I’ve missed below

Leaks, Forecasts, Predictions and comments on current products are welcomed here: >> FORUM <<


 

This is my opinion of current & future devices across the GPS running/cycling market. Updates to this will be issued as and when information emerges which may include rumours, although please note that any information provided to me under NDA by manufacturers will not appear here and I won’t talk about it as I always honour agreements I make either written or verbal. So there will be a few more surprises over and above all of this πŸ˜‰ I have at least a reasonable level of confidence that watches predicted for the future are broadly correct – timings and functionality may NOT be what I expect. Please let me know of errors or omissions. At the end of the table is a brief discussion about current issues and potential future features. Thank you. Enjoy.

Garmin – Current and Rumoured Models

πŸ”΄ = Discontinued or effectively discontinued and replaced

πŸ”΅ = Expected Future Model or ‘very recent’.

Category Links to either a review, opinion article or your local Amazon Comments
Bike Edge 1000 Superseded
Bike Edge Explore Current: Jul 2018’s smaller version of the Edge 1030. Most performance features removed. Good for navigation
Bike Edge 1030Β  / πŸ”΅ Β 

Edge 1040 (2020)

Current, Summer 2019 will see updates to the 1030 to match the new 530/830.
Bike Edge 20, Edge 25 Entry level cycling computer
Bike Edge 130 Entry level cycling computer with very interesting specs. May 2018
Bike πŸ”΅ Edge 140 Due 2020 or beyond
Bike πŸ”΄ Edge 200, Edge 500, Edge 510 Effectively Discontinued
Bike Edge 520 Still a great cycling computer but a bit slow with no maps
Bike Edge 520 PLUS Current. Updated hardware capability (CIQ3), maps and software. Replaced by faster 530
Bike πŸ”΅Edge 530 Available May 2019
Bike πŸ”΄ Edge 800, 810 Effectively Discontinued
Bike Edge 820 Top-end, medium-sized, nav cycling computer. Replaced by 830
Bike πŸ”΅Edge 830 Available May 2019
Bike πŸ”΅ Edge MTB (something more than the 530 MTB bundle) There is a gap in the market here at least two price points. It could be filled by Garmin – just like the Instinct did for budget outdoors.
Outdoors πŸ”΄ Epix Nice But Effectively Discontinued and replaced by Fenix 5X
Outdoors πŸ”΄ Fenix, Fenix 2, Quatix Effectively Discontinued, not as good as subsequent models.
Outdoors πŸ”΄ Fenix 3 Fenix 3 HR + variants Current, still great devices
Outdoors Fenix 5 PLUS, 5s PLUS, 5x PLUS Garmin’s flagship model for 2018-2019. Notably updated Fenix 5 models. No update for the 935 yet.
Outdoors Fenix 5, Fenix 5s, Fenix 5x Garmin’s flagship model for 2017-2018. Caveat Emptor. The Plus version is the one you want to buy.
Outdoors Instinct Oct 2018 A cut-down outdoors-focussed Fenix
Outdoors πŸ”΅ Instinct 2 Due in 2020
Outdoors Tactix Bravo (disc), Tactix Charlie, Descent MK1, D2 Bravo, D2 Charlie, Quatix ‘military’/hunting, diving, aviation variants of Fenix 5
Outdoors πŸ”΅ Fenix 6, Tactix Delta, D2 Delta, Descent MK2 Expected 2020
Outdoors πŸ”΄ Fenix Chronos Quality innards. F5s firmware. Expensive.
Outdoors MARQ (effectively Fenix Chronos 2)

Aviator (aero), Captain (marine), Athlete (multi-sport), Expedition (Hike/Outdoors), Driver (car).

Announced. the MARQ ATHLETE is simply a 945 in an expensive shell.
Outdoors πŸ”΅ MARQ2/CHRONOS3 2021
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 210, Forerunner 220, Forerunner 225 Effectively Discontinued
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 230 Probably won’t be replaced. Effectively Discontinued.
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 235 Replacement 245 & 245M are imminent. 235 is good
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 235L Apr2018’s cut-down version for the Chinese market.
Run πŸ”΅ Forerunner 245 & Forerunner 245 Music Shipping now
Run πŸ”΄Forerunner 25 Entry level run/sports watch
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 30 Entry level run/sports watch
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 35 Entry level run/sports watch
Run πŸ”΅ Forerunner 45, 45S Announced April 2019
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 610, Forerunner 620 Effectively Discontinued but good enough
Run Forerunner 630 Great device, superseded
Run Forerunner 645 and 645M Music and non-Music version Q1.2018. Possibly 645-Triathlon or other variants to follow
Run/Tri Forerunner 735XT, Current, great mid-range tri watch (no barometer). it’s the last remaining CIQ2 device hence nextish to be replaced (likely Q3/4 2019 tho)
Run/Tri πŸ”΅ Forerunner 745XT Expected Sep 2019ish
Run πŸ”΄ Forerunner 910XT Great tri watch in its day, still good enough if you can find one
Run Forerunner 920XT Great tri watch…all you need really. Sometimes CHEAP
Run/Tri Forerunner 935 Top tri watch
Run/Tri πŸ”΅ Forerunner 945 Here !! outsmarts the top tri watch
Fitness πŸ”΄ Vivoactive Effectively Discontinued
Fitness Vivoactive 3 Current – a contender to Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch 3
Fitness Vivoactive 3 MUSIC, Vivoactive 3M VA3 with music. Q2.2018
Fitness Vivoactive 3 Plus Music LTE Verizon Jan 2019
Fitness πŸ”΅ Vivoactive 4 / Music / LTE This is on Garmin’s lists and could be Q3.2019, that seems too early to me.
Fitness πŸ”΄ Vivoactive HR Great device, effectively Vivoactive 2, replaced by Vivoactive 3
Fitness πŸ”΅ Vivofit 2, Vivofit 3, Vivofit 4 December 2017: supersedes VivoFit 3. Vivofit 5 due for Xmas 2019.
Fitness πŸ”΄ Vivomove Dress watch, superseded September 2017
Fitness Vivomove HR Current Sept 2017
Fitness πŸ”΅ Vivomove 4 Overdue Could be soon, could be 2020. Could be never.

 

Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, Fitbit, Apple, etc – Current and Rumoured Models

 

Manufacturer Category Links to either a review, opinion article or your local Amazon Comments
adidas Run πŸ”΄Smart Run Discontinued
Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami) Run Bip / Pace / Bip Lite Current
Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami) Run Pace 2 This is the Smartwatch 2 (Chinese) or Pace 2 (Chinese), 2S is the sapphire model. Replaces A1602 Smartwatch (Chinese) and A1612 Pace (Intl)
Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami) Fitness Verge Current model A1811, as over 1 Dec 2018 now selling in the USA
Amazfit (Xiaomi-Huami) Run/Tri STRATOS Current, Multisport 2018 watch. Intl version
Apple Fitness πŸ”΄Watch Series 1 (Sport),

Watch Series 2 w/Nike, Series 3 GPS+Cellular,

Current
Apple Fitness Watch Series 4 w/Nike Current, runs on WatchOS5. A notable hardware upgrade from the AW3.
Apple Fitness Watch Series 5 Expected Sep 2019 will run on WatchOS6. Might even be good enough to finally call a sports watch.
Bryton Bike RIDER 100, 310, 330, 410, 450h, 530E, Rider 530 T, aero 60, one Current, 450E is top model @<$200 with all functions even 310 @<$150 supports a PM (Full model list here)
Bryton Bike RIDER numerous other models Effectively Discontinued
Casio Outdoors

WearOS

Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 Current, replaced by F20/F30 announced Aug 2018
Casio Outdoors

WearOS

Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30 Announced: Jan 2019, replacing WSD-F20. Expect a WSD-F40 in Jan 2020 πŸ˜‰
CatEye Bike STEALTH 50, Stealth EVO, STEALTH EVO, STRADA, PADRONE Smart+ 2016 models are current (full model list here)
COROS Run/Tri Pace Pace Multisport M1 Current, Garmin 735XT lookalike
COROS Run/Tri Apex 42mm 46mm Current Oct 2018. Highly credible endurance run and tri alternative. Competent small format available. Jan 2019 a special edition announced for 46mm.
COROS Outdoors

Tri

Vertix Current May 2019. Premium case and SpO2
Epson Run/Tri πŸ”΄ProSense 17, ProSense 57, ProSense 307, ProSense 347 Discontinued
Epson Run/Tri πŸ”΄SF-series Discontinued
Fossil Fitness WearOS Sport November 2018
Fitbit Fitness Blaze Replaced by Versa
Fitbit Fitness πŸ”΄Charge, Charge 2 Discontinued
Fitbit Fitness Charge 3 Current
Fitbit Fitness Versa Current SE version has Fit Pay payments

Versa Lite – Marhc 2019

Fitbit Fitness πŸ”΄Charge HR Discontinued
Fitbit Fitness Ionic Current, September 2017
Fitbit Fitness Ionic 2 Due September 2019
Fitbit Fitness Ionic adidas Announced Feb 2018, has an adidas app
Fitbit Fitness Surge Superseded by Ionic
Fossil Fitness WearOS Puma-branded From 2019 to 2028
Fossil Fitness

WearOS

Uses 2019 Snapdragon processor
Geekery Outdoors IronCloud T1 IndieGoGo Campaign Q2/Q3.2018 look but don’t touch. Cheaper Fenix 5 wannabe. Apparently, it’s folded. Caveat Emptor.
Giant Bike NeosTrack Cycling Computer
Hammerhead Bike Karoo Cycling Computer, first units released in Feb 2018.
Huawei Fitness WearOS Fit, Watch 2 Sport, Watch GT Active WearOS and a good spec. Current (Watch 2 was 2017 with an incremental 2018 update) The Fit was effectively the “Watch 1 Sport”.

Watch 3 Watch GT and this was codenamed FORTUNA (GT is not WearOS anymore)

The will be a sport Watch GT Active version in Q2.2019

Huawei Fitness WearOS Honor Magic WearOS and a good spec, November 2018
Lezyne Bike Mini, Macro, Micro, Micro Watch, Super, Mega, Watch variants MEGA announced July 2018

Full list here

LG Fitness WearOS Watch Sport Current, apparently one of the better WearOS devices – certainly spec looks the best. Watch2 has seen e-sim in China only
LG Fitness WearOS LM-W315, LM-305, LM-W325, LM-W319, LM-W315 could be called ICONIC. With one of the other models being the ICONIC SPORT. LM-W319 could be as soon as Sep 2018 (likely this is now the W7 which is a non-sports hybrid.) but a Watch3 derivative will be 2019.
Mont Blanc Fitness WearOS Summit 2 Announced – several quite advanced sporty features
Google Fitness WearOS Pixel Smartwatch To be released in 2019. Unclear if a SPORT/FITNESS version will be released as well.
MIO/Magellan Bike Cyclo 605, 505HC+ others Nice devices. The 505HC appears to now be discontinued and replaced with a slightly superior 605HC (Q2.2017). Other models include Cyclo 210 (re-announced Aug2018?), 400, 405, 405HC

Unsure of the situation in USA with sister company MAGELLAN. Who have dated ECHO/SWITCH run/bike products

Misfit Fitness WearOS Vapor WearOS. Replaced by Vapor 2
Misfit Fitness WearOS Vapor 2 WearOS. Current.
MiVia Fitness Run 350 2017 Fitbit Versa look-alike
Mobvoi Fitness Ticwatch 2 aka Ticwatch Active 2017 budget sports watch with GPS & Music
Mobvoi Fitness WearOS Ticwatch E2 2018 budget sports watch with GPS & Music, the replacement for Ticwatch E
Mobvoi Fitness WearOS Ticwatch S2 CES2019 replacement for Ticwatch S (ie S1). S=Sport
Mobvoi Fitness WearOS Ticwatch S 2017 WearOS 2.0 budget sports watch. Ticwatch E is cheaper and non-sport version. Ticwatch 2, Active and Classic are different – not WearOS. Replaced by S2.
Mobvoi Fitness WearOS Ticwatch Pro WearOS 2.0
Mystery ‘big name’ Fitness WearOS New Entrant WearOS 2.0, Q4.2018 at earliest. Maybe a long-term project for 2019
Moto Fitness WearOS 360 Sport – 2nd Gen/Sport Current
New Balance Fitness WearOS RunIQ WearOS. Current
Polar Bike V660 V650 refresh 2019/2020
Polar Run/Tri Vantage V V800 replacement
Polar Run/Tri Vantage M More run-focussed than the V model and a bit more than the M430.
Polar Run/Tri Vantage V Titanium high-end case variant of the Vantage V

I’m not at all convinced that there will be a Vantage M – lite model. although this could theoretically replace the M200.

Polar Fitness A370 A360 replacement with linked-GPS
Polar Run M200 Entry level oHR running/sports watch 2016. Replacement 2019 maybe
Polar Run πŸ”΄M400 Replaced by M430 in Q1.2017
Polar Run M430 An optical M400, released. this is mostly replaced by the Vantage M, although the Vantage M has notable extra stuff kinda making it a model higher.
Polar Bike πŸ”΄M450 Replaced by M460 in Q1.2017
Polar Bike M460 M450 with STRAVA LIVE
Polar Run WearOS M600 STILL the best WearOS sports watch for Android
Polar Bike V650 Bike Nav Cycling device. Might get an ANT+ refresh but fine as-is
Polar Run/Tri πŸ”΄V800 Still a great multisport watch, replaced by Vantage V & Vantage M
Samsung Fitness Gear Sport Current (Gear Fit Pro is BAND format and the Samsung Gear Fit Plus could be the 2018 version of that)
Samsung Fitness Galaxy Watch Active Galaxy Sport is Galaxy Watch Active
Sigma Sport Bike Rox GPS 7.0, ROX GPS 10.0, Rox GPS 11.0, Rox 12.0 Sport Good feature set, current.

Rox 12.0 Sport June 2018 looks like a massive leap forward for the company

Full list here

Sony Fitness WearOS Smartwatch 3 SWR50 WearOS. Current
SoWatch Fitness SoWatch IndieGogo – Sports and other stuff
Skagen Fitness WearOS Falster 2 With GPS added, this now counts as a sports watch. It aims to be seen as the prettiest.
Pioneer BIKENAV CA600 Cycling Computer, looks nice. OSM, ANT+, power

Full list here

SRM Bike PowerControl 7 (PC7) Cycling Computer
SRM Bike PowerControl 8 (PC8) Cycling Computer
Stages Bike Dash (L10) Cycling Computer. cheap and well featured
Stages Bike Dash L50, M50 New models for release Q1-2.2019
Suunto Various Ambit 3 variants (Peak, run, Sport…) Still great devices. In many ways superior.
Suunto Various Ambit 4 The SPARTAN TRAINER is the replacement to the AMBIT3, at least in terms of looks.
Suunto Various πŸ”΄ Ambit/Ambit 2 Effectively Discontinued
Suunto Run/Tri SPARTAN Sport Current, OK to buy now
Suunto Run/Tri SPARTAN Sport with oHR (WHR) Current
Suunto Outdoors Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Current
Suunto Run/Tri SPARTAN Trainer New outdoor variants in Jan 2018, further variants possibly in 2019 under a new Suunto name
Suunto Outdoors SPARTAN Ultra Current, OK to buy now. Suunto 9 is an effective replacement
Suunto Fitness Suunto 3 Fitness Current. Low-end model with interesting specs. GPS only from paired and carried smartphone.
Suunto Fitness Suunto 9 Current. High-end Spartan ULTRA replacement
Suunto Fitness Suunto 8,7,6,5,4,2,1 Replacement for Suunto Spartan Sport/Trainer perhaps
TomTom Outdoors πŸ”΄ Adventurer Still a great watch. But it looks like TomTom sports division is closed down.
TomTom Run πŸ”΄ Runner 3, Spark 3 Still a great watch. But it looks like TomTom sports division is closed down. Still firmware updates as of 8 May 2018
TomTom Run πŸ”΄ Spark, Runner, Runner 2 Effectively Discontinued, there was never a Spark 2
Withings Fitness Move & Move ECG CES2019, Sweet Fitness ecosystem
Withings Fitness Steel HR Sport Current
Wahoo Fitness Bike ELEMNT A great cycling computer
Wahoo Fitness Bike ELEMNT BOLT A great cycling computer
Wahoo Fitness Bike ELEMNT ROAM Colour version of a super-sized Bolt with navigation
Wahoo Fitness Bike ELEMNT MINI Cut down cycling computer no GPS, no power compatibility, Wahoo-only sensors
XPLOVA/Acer Bike X3 EVO Current,
XPLOVA/Acer Bike πŸ”΄X5 Superseded by X5 EVO
XPLOVA/Acer Bike X5 EVO Current, refreshed model. onboard video
XS Fitness XS 4 Smartwatch Indiegogo – Watch, phone, everything.

Notes

  • There are many other low-priced brands, several of which are visual rip-offs of the main brands’ models.
  • Some low-priced brands include: PARNERME, UWEAR, GoLife, GooPhone, Reabeam, igSPORT
  • There are probably also some Kickstarter and Indegogo type new models planned. My broad opinion is that if this is the first sports watch from a company with no track record then you will lose your money. Spend a little bit extra and instead get a real product now.

What have I missed? Are there others?

Note: information that has become available about accessories is NOT included (too many of them). There are also too many Power Meter variants for me to keep track of. I have more than a passing interest in PMs for triathlon disciplines but I don’t keep an eye on the whole market – the document I keep up-to-date on PM is my guide to the best power meter. I’m generally going to exclude wrist bands from the lists above, like the Vivokids v2, although some bands have sneaked in there already.

Firmware Updates

Please let me know of any I’ve missed

Recent Trends/Future Trends?

The big trend is ‘not here guv’….the smart money is now in MEDICAL-WEARABLE tech rather than sports wearable tech.

Otherwise: there will still be innovation in higher res colour screens; music (on watch and live-streamed thru eSIM/nano SIM); battery-duration innovation; <1m GPS accuracy Galileo now in many devices BUT for IMPROVED accuracy we need DUAL FREQUENCY GALILEO; vendor apps/app store (eg Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Apple Pay, Ali Pay); WORKOUT DATA standards, openness and integration; mapping/navigation (on watch and thru eSIM); support for novel accessories & sensor data – environmental (weather), physiological (hydration, blood glucose, blood pressure) & spatial (radar); optical HR; deep smartphone integration (WearOS, Apple, proprietary); common firmware across numerous watch variants; simultaneous dual-band workout recording (ZWIFT+your main recording device with BLE); on-watch SIM/eSIM (for live services like CRASH and WEATHER and FRIEND LOCATIONS mostly for cyclists and STREAMED MUSIC for runners); smart home integration/Internet of Things integration; integration of video recording onto Bike computers. We might also see voice activation ‘OK Garmin’ for CIQ apps but which also trigger sports functionality like ‘take a lap’ or ‘change screen’. Improvements on the wrist might see more accurate ECG/EKG. Battery tech will also see on-the-wrist battery charging from body heat and solar cells.

Future Challenges

Music on watches has still not been properly addressed but it is getting there. You might cite TomTom 3, Apple Watch, Garmin Forerunner 645M/VA3M/F5SPlus/245M/945 and WearOS as all including running with music capability but eventually someone needs to figure out how to properly support multiple, live streaming services (albeit with only one active). But just how exactly will live streaming services be properly handled other than through on-watch SIM? – answer? Vivoactive 3M Verizon. Very few sports+music watches have an eSIM eg Apple, LG and Samsung, instead, they rely on BLE or WiFi to sync your music from your online music provider rather than streaming out-of-doors.

Another trend that is yet to start with RUNNING TO MUSIC is that of support for Quality CODECS eg AptX and AptX HD, these are not supported on any running watches AFAIK.

Product Cycles: Some companies try to copy the Apple model of a new version each year. That needs a LOT of R&D to make plausible improvements. Furthermore, the arrival of material improvements in functionality can stagnate, as phone handset manufacturers are now finding. Garmin often has more plausible 2-3 year cycles for a replacement model – but their vast range of products keeps the marketing department continually busy. When Garmin announced a new hardware ‘base’ (usually the highest spec one) there then follows various cut-down versions to make cheaper less able devices – they can have cheaper components &/or restricted firmware, whilst essentially otherwise being the same product.

Your smartwatch is clearly going to become more like your smartphone. The small screen poses a problem and the only real way that can be addressed in the short term is though voice-control. In 2019 I’ve used ‘OK Google’ stuff at home much more and it’s not so shabby at all. Things will only get better.


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All the latest speculation and leaks along with comments on current products are here: >> FORUM <<

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