When you use Garmin Connect/Express on your computer to install a data field or app from the online CIQ store then you will probably find the experience to have been OK but certainly not a WOW moment. Plus when you are in a car in the middle of a field and you want to add, or configure, a CIQ app without a computer then you might have found it a wee bit tricky.
Bring on the Garmin IQ Store app for your smartphone
Garmin’s Android and iOS apps were released over a month ago and attempted to make access to Garmin CIQ easier and more familiar via your smartphone. I never quite got around to using it at launch and there seems to have been a VERY mixed reception. Since the launch, there seem to have been a few updates, at least there are on Android, and I’ve been using for a few days and I have to say it seems good to me.
During installation, the Android app interrogates the CONNECT MOBILE APP and automatically picks up devices you’ve already paired and gives a good overview of the current status of all-things-CIQ on your devices. Like this…
Handily you can even make changes to the settings on your installed apps.
Here is an example of how I can change the averaging setting in the STRYD data field, which is not that amazing in itself, it’s just that it’s now a bit easier and more intuitive via the app ie some people would FOR SURE have not known that these settings could have previously been changed on Garmin Express – that was not an obvious place to look to configure aspects of your watch. Well, it wasn’t for me.
However, I think the real beauty of the Connect IQ app store is that it conforms to the concept of what an app store should be. 99% of you reading this will use either Google’s or Apple’s app stores frequently or from time-to-time. You are familiar with what they do and how they work. BUT you use them to explore new app content ie to install and play with new apps. The same will happen for Garmin. The Connect IQ app store will encourage people to play more with the content on their watches. This will help them get more out of their ‘investment’ and it’s all free…for now, mostly.
Choosing new CIQ functionality via Garmin’s app store seems mostly intuitive to me either by using the search facility or narrowing down by category.
The one thing I tried to do but found tricky was to find a podcast app. I would have expected there to have been a section just for music…there wasn’t. But I found RUNCAST anyway (eventually).
With the appearance in the image to the right of the SPOTIFY app alongside RUNCAST this nicely brings us on to the topic of money.
There ARE currently ways for developers to make money. As in the case of Spotify, this is done by requiring a login to a paid for service that is managed outside of the Garmin environment. But it’s not always possible for some data fields and apps to work in that way. Clearly, Garmin’s Connect IQ store COULD be changed in the future to allow paid-for apps.
Some CIQ data fields and apps have had tens and tens of thousands of downloads. So for a 99cent app that’s potentially a lot of money to reward the developer’s hard work. Of course, converting ‘potential’ into ‘actual’ is another matter entirely. As with this blog and as with many apps…most people want free stuff.
Developers might also find that EU rules on VAT and determing where the app was bought might cause a few accounting headaches…just sayin’. Be careful what you wish for.
I’d be interested, below, to hear of anyone’s experiences with the Garmin CIQ store when it first went live.