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Garmin LTE – A Boost to LTE features but…
Garmin has just added some new LTE features to its kids’ range of wearables.
As of now, you can get voice messaging and text messaging over LTE ie without a smartphone.
There’s always a BUT…
But It’s Currently Only For Kids This Time Around
The new kids’ watch is the Garmin Bounce and this comes with the option of an LTE subscription. If you go for the $100pa ($10pcm) Smartwatch Subscription Plan and use the Garmin Jr. app then you and your kid can exchange text or voice messages. Plus you can stalk your kids and track exactly where they are in real-time (hint: they’re in front of one of their devices in their bedroom).
The new LTE Features
In addition to exchanging text messages and voice messages, the screens below show the watch has real-time location tracking, check-in abilities and emergency assistance.
Whilst Garmin says you do not need to change your cellular service provider, in addition to $149 for the watch you do need to pay $100pa ($10pcm) for the Garmin LTE service. I’m currently paying about £6/$7 per month for my data plan for my Apple Watch so that pricing is not too unreasonable.
You will also find that the service is highly limited and only available in these countries (basically just the USA and parts of the EU).
Battery life is also fairly low with a maximum of 2 days with some vaguely realistic levels of usage as shown in the table below. However, once you start using LTE more then the battery life will be quickly eaten into. Also, factor in that your child has to remember to charge the watch and you can imagine the limitations.
Smartwatch Mode Usage Assumptions
|Incoming/Outgoing Messages per day||20|
|Voice messages per day||2|
|10-minute GPS activity||1|
|Display Brightness & Timeout||Default Setting|
|Number of Gestures per day||Disabled by Default|
|Number of LiveTrack events||0|
|Smartwatch Mode Battery Life||Up to 2 days|
Let’s go back to messaging which is NOT using the messaging apps on your phone. All the messaging is handled either within the Garmin Jr app or on the Bounce Watch.
Nominated contacts can communicate directly with your child’s Bounce and those contacts could be your partner, the child’s carer and the child’s friends. Up to 20.
Implications for Sports
I can’t see any implications for LTE on the Garmin sports watches. At least not right now as Garmin already implemented LiveTrack Spectator Messaging in 2021.
I struggle to even see why someone with an iPhone would buy this watch for their kids when an older Apple Watch 38mm/41mm LTE would do a better job and I struggle to see that Apple will ever open up its messaging services to Garmin unless forced to legally by multiple jurisdictions worldwide. Android? more likely.
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