New Garmin Tech For 2022: Which Will Have The Most Impact? Hint: THESE…..

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Fenix 7|Creatively manipulated to create original artwork

New Garmin Tech For 2022

Garmin’s Fenix 7 & Epix are coming in only a matter of weeks. For sure.

What could the key element of new tech be to entice us and excite us? More importantly perhaps, which will actually make a positive difference?

A few rumours and leaks have slipped out and I’ve seen few Reddit comments along the lines of “Oh, so it’s only a minor release then?”

Err. No.

Garmin acolytes and tied mainstream news sites pretty much toe the Garmin line and are afraid to properly highlight the key areas where Garmin lets us down. Don’t get me wrong; Garmin produces great watches and I get lots of use out of them for my sports but it is naive to even think they are perfect.

Let’s start with these strategic shortcomings that have been obvious for several years

  1. The labyrinthine menu interface on the devices
  2. GNSS/GPS accuracy is just not as good as it should be
  3. Those screens are mostly not pretty enough for a huge number of people

Must Review: Garmin Fenix 7 Review & Thoughts

Then I’ll add these two more lower-level annoyances

4. (fairly niche) Running Power is not native

5. (niche but fundamental) Buttons are an awful way to manipulate maps on a watch

If you agree with that list of Garmin shortcomings then be prepared for 2022 to make you a very happy bunny.

Spoiler: These are definitely leaked features for the Fenix 7 series. There will be some ebb and flow about which exact models support which exact feature and if it’s available on launch day in January but the broad thrust is that I’m pretty sure that the following is accurate

Garmin Fenix 7 – What We Know So Far (1/2)

Offline Settings Configuration

Following Wahoo’s lead and general awesomeness, Garmin will start to let you make watch settings on the Garmin Connect app.

It looks like the two ways of changing settings will initially work in parallel. However, in the longer term, I would expect that this will lead to a very significant tidying up and simplification of the watch interface which, on the Fenix 6, is really NOT great.

Dual Frequency Chipsets

This is different and better than the existing setup of GPS+GLONASS+GALILEO+[insert regional satellite system here!]

New (Sony) chipsets allow navigational devices to receive an extra frequency from, say, a GPS satellite. The signals can refract differently through the atmosphere and one may indicate a longer distance than the other. If the two are the same then it’s highly likely that atmospheric refraction has not impacted the signal and that that source of error is minimal. I believe that signals reflected off a building can also be identified and, hence, eliminated from the calculation that determines your position.

In a nutshell: positioning becomes more accurate although there will be a battery cost. With more accurate positions, pace can also be more accurately determined and, for a variety of factors this will improve the performance of running and navigating in built-up areas. Perhaps also biking or running under trees will also improve.

This is happening in January. Whether it makes its way to Edge units…IDK. Whether it can be disabled on a Fenix to same juice…IDK for sure, but I’d imagine so.

Screen innovation takes a step forward

Garmin screens are about to take a big leap forward in 3 specific areas

  • Increased solar charging efficiency. I’m not absolutely certain on this but rather fairly certain it’s coming to the Fenix 7 (solar) series.
  • New AMOLED screens on high-end tech. This looks like it will be on the resurgent EPIX Gen 2. Essentially that is a $1000, high-end Fenix but with a pretty AMOLED screen that can have always-on mode disabled. I’m certain about this…or as near as I can be.
  • Much wider adoption of touchscreens on watches. Don’t panic, the Fenix will still have its 5-buttons.

Native Running Power

 

Native Running Power looks NOT to be coming in January on the Fenix but, instead, it will be the/a headline feature on the Forerunner 955 in Q2/Q3.2022. This is a likely feature. The Forerunner 955 already exists and has been seen in the wild.

Button use with Navigation

My speculation here is that the current use of buttons to pan and zoom the Fenix around maps has been recognised by Garmin to be pretty awful. Reason? Because it is.

Thus an OPTIONAL touchscreen should help here in many circumstances…just think how much easier things will be with pinch-zoom. To be clear there WILL be a touchscreen, I’m just not sure of the precise interaction it will have with maps.

Take Out

If you take what I’ve said here as being true for a minute. Then what else does Garmin have to improve? The answer is “Not much”. With these strategic shortcomings addressed, Garmin only has to worry about battery life & screen readability when using AMOLED-type screens. That’s it. Sure there are numerous tweaks here and there but they are all of peripheral importance to small groups of users.

This will certainly make the job of Garmin competitors much more difficult and 2022 could mark a more significant turnaround in the fortunes of some based on the demise of others. For example, it looks like Coros is in a strong position to move forward with high-quality hardware that boasts many features. Their turnaround time for adding new features is highly impressive and personifies the meaning of the word ‘agile’ when applied to sports tech innovation. Add in the possibility of a global recession in 2022 and the boom times of the last few years will make many OTHER companies wish they had the billions in the bank that Garmin has. Garmin will weather any such storm…others won’t.

2022 will be Garmin’s year.

 

Garmin Fenix 7 – What We Know So Far (1/2)

https://the5krunner.com/2022/04/29/garmin-epix-2-review/ ‎

 

Garmin Fenix 7 Review ☀️ Hype? Or Best Ever? Solar too

 

 

 

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17 thoughts on “New Garmin Tech For 2022: Which Will Have The Most Impact? Hint: THESE…..

  1. 1, 2, 3 – I’ll give you those. Although GPS is as good as most need it, except for instant pace. Wonder if the new GPS chipsets will actually help with pace, or just give prettier tracks.
    4 – running power. The number of people that actually care about this are extremely limited. And most of those that think they care, probably won’t care once they have it and realize how little value it brings. Does it really provide more actionable value than any other running dynamics? Certainly not the value bike power meters bring to biking.
    5 – buttons are a great interface – in addition to touch. Pure touch is a worse interface than pure buttons as a fitness device.

    But I always do enjoy your insights.

  2. Great stuff as always, Ray! You mentioned the 955 has been seen in the wild. Any idea if there is a body design change? Either to the smaller casing of the 945 LTE, or to the original 47 mm casing but with a 1.3 inch screen? Thanks as always!

  3. Presumably running power and any 955 features not available on the F7 at launch will be added, right?

    Any idea whether there will be LTE on the F7?

    1. i have the list of features for both.
      from memory the headlines were very similar, tho that is no indication that the wealth of fenix features will be on the epix. tho for $1000 an epix buyer might expect them all.

  4. Presumably running power and any 955 features not available on the F7 at launch will be added, right?

    Any idea whether there will be LTE on the F7?

  5. The only thing that vaguely interests me is improved GPS.

    Running power is utterly pointless and its not a usable or actionable metric. I don’t think anyone cares about it – the feature has been on Polar for years and Coros has it and its not really selling them more devices. The CIQ download figures for Stryd and Garmin’s own Running Power vividly shows the complete lack of interest in this utterly pointless metric.

  6. I really hope for Garmin that they have more than this after at least 2.5 years of development. We need to hope the rumos are missing a lot.
    No prospect of better screen. (yes on Epix maybe)
    The screen appears to be the same size as on the F6, but the sun power area has gotten bigger. And since it probably does not provide anything anyway, if not access to alot of sun, it’s a gimmick.
    No prospect for a more modern processor and battery life.
    Sony’s new chip will provide better precision, but pace will probably be the same issue, as you use the Doppler to make pace accurate. And it does not seem that Sony supports this.
    If Coros or Polar add ANT+ and cards, they will give Garmin serious problems. Coros seem to be close, with their pace of development, and a much more modern hardware setup and probably also OS, as they can save so much energy.
    If you look at the development, the jump from F3/HR to F5 was large, the jump F5 to F5+ small (Moved Maps from F5X to all sizes and music/pay) and showed CPU/OS to be inefficient. The leap to F6 was new GPS and GUI update.
    What they need is a new OS that can use modern CPU technology where you turns on and off part of the proccessor. The problem are probberly all the legacy code they have to port. You see the samme with Apples M1 chip compared to X64 chips. X64 have to support legacy, M1 do not.
    Enduro shows signs for hope, and it supports API 3.2 like F6.
    Is Garmin rests on its laurels, and if so, how long can they do that?

    1. some good points there. i’ll take a few:
      the fenix 7 has a new processor but it will be more of the enduro type than any radical change
      the coros multi-frequency chip seems to help the track a bit. one would hope garmin/sony have done even better
      coros/polar are both well behind when the whole offering is taken into account.
      new os for garmin – yes i think you are right and does the fenix 7 have it? no..probably not !

      1. I have now read your articles 1/2 Fenix and 1/3 Epix and I still have a hard time seeing whats new that will make me wish I should upgrade to Fenix 7 or Epix 2.
        I hope 2/2 and 2/3 and 3/3 show me something, because right now it’s for me wine in new bottles.
        The requirement today is a functional smartwatch which must be a mixture of what you can do on Fenix 6 + new features and Apple Watch Lite.
        Suunto 7 was a failed attempt as the battery life was like Apple Watch and poor fitness features and no ANT +.
        Either the watch must have LTE or there must be a significantly better integration between watch and phone. Something in the direction of tunnel the internet through bluetooth so the watch is on the internet all the time.
        For example, that Fenix does not support NTP for setting the clock is foolish. Yes I know that the watch get the correct time each time you use GPS, but when you don’t use GPS, it drifts.
        But it all probably lies in the fact that the OS is outdated in relation to today’s requirements.
        I have seen equivalent in router (Cisco + Allied Telesis) before moving their OS to Linux.

      2. 🙂
        the personal decision on whether to upgrade or not are many and varied.
        I’m kinda agreeing with what you say, i think, but don’t get over-excited about LTE. I have zero intel on that being released on f7. garmin’s LTE implementations elsewhere are highly restrictive as the data they can push through their network is limited (dcr said something along those lines), so music and full blown connectivity just aren’t going to happen soon.

      3. For me, it’s not music, but connectivity in general. I think the way to view emails, text messages and calendar is poor. All (most) watches have WIFI, but it is not used for connectivity. Furthermore, WIFI do not supported 5GHz but only 2.4GHz. It will be exciting when 5GHz is also possible. LTE for me is not important as I always have my mobile with me but connectivity in general, and yes Garmins use of LTE was very restricted. For me it is hard to see the use case. If i need that service I had bought a sattelite device from them in sted.
        Apple has set a high level of connectivity, and Garmin will have to come up with a counterpoint. Fortunately for Garmin, Apple’s fitness level is low and yes battery does not last long. What Google will bring this year, time will tell. I’ve seen DCR resignation and fear he’s right. I’m still excited about how far Cronos will move before Fenix8 / Epix3 is released.
        But still I am looking forward to the release:-)

  7. Interesting.
    Still I’m wondering what kind of novelties users do want in a F7, from à features point of view?
    Battery life is good, and I think very few people need +100h…give me a solid 40h with most precise gps and 95% of users will be fine.
    Save from that…minimal bezel to maximize screen size – but it’s no new feature.

    As for power, I’ve been using a Stryd for 3 months, I agree than on flats power seems consistent – but so is the pace in those cases…but it’s complete non sense on hills, and even more on trails.
    So..I have an accurate pace and distance – as a Suunto S9 owner i was actually quite good in this respect – but the power numbers…I really have difficulties to use them efficiently. It might serve for « false flats », or potentially headwind…but…nope…doesn’t work for me…

    Anyway I’m curious to see what Garmin will deliver. Coming from a Suunto S9, I must admit that the F6 did not thrilled me (used it for almost a year) – as little as I’ve gone back to S9.
    I’ve just ordered a Rival…just to see what it’s up to…but I think I’ll have a hard time to find much value vs the Suunto….

  8. Thanks for all of this great advance info!

    Any idea if the Forerunner 955 will have a change of case design or be similar to 945 or 945 LTE?

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