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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?”
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
- The labyrinthine menu interface on the devices
- GNSS/GPS accuracy is just not as good as it should be
- 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
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.
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.
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