Garmin – What next?
The Garmin Forerunner 965 Review is Now Live
It’s only February yet you can be 100% sure that the watches and bike computers that Garmin hope you buy at Christmas are already WELL ADVANCED in the planning stages.
But this article is talking slightly longer term. What comes AFTER the models we already know about?
other manufacturers – thoughts for 2023 (Polar, Apple etc)
There won’t be anything spectacularly off-field this year. After a bumper year in 2022, I’m expecting a slowdown in the number of new models and I’m expecting current trends to continue rather than tech supporting exciting new directions for our sports devices.
Garmin’s financial drivers are maintaining market share and maintaining profit margins. That’s an important sentence as it means that they WILL keep pursuing value-added features like AMOLED and LTE and they will actively defend the market positions and features of key devices like Edge 530/540, Fenix 7 and Forerunner 255/265.
Garmin’s conundrum is what to do about the smartness in its watches. Garmin knows that it will easily maintain its position of sports leadership but it can never, ever, ever (really, never) be a leading SMART watch. Garmin’s watches have limited integration capabilities with smartphones, unlike the Apple Watch Ultra.
Prediction Number 1 – Garmin Epix 2X and Epix 2s
In my opinion, there is a high likelihood of an Epix 2X this year, well before we see a Fenix 8. Perhaps also an Epix 2s.
The upcoming Forerunner 965 has a 1.4″ display. Garmin is conservatively market-testing the 1.4″ tech for the first time with this watch. Once proven, it will make its way into the Fenix line, probably as an Epix 2X that provides the AMOLED option to the 7X.
Q: Are you sure?
There is zero intel here however I would have a good bet on this one for H2.2023. I’m pretty sure that there is a huge demand for AMOLED screens and that AMOLED is the future for the Fenix line and indeed for Garmin’s consumer-grade watches. Epix will eclipse Fenix sales ‘at some point’, not this year, but relatively soon.
We know for sure that the Forerunner 265 will also come as a 265s (small case) and that MARQ2 already has a 1.2″ AMOLED screen. So th265s model is volume testing the smallest screen tech and it doesn’t take a genius to extrapolate that onto an Epix 2s.
We’ve seen from the 965 that although the screen appears bigger than the 955, the overall case size is not that much bigger, if at all (intel credit @Flo). The black ring/bezel area has instead been shrunk and a titanium bezel was added – probably to maintain the structural integrity of the watch. Page up to the first image in this post to see that, handily, the Epix 2 already has a bezel that can be eaten into by a larger display and, of course, the Epix 2 design already features a structurally strong case.
Because Garmin accidentally leaked pictures of the Forerunner 965 on its own website, I was able to better depict the ratio between the FR965 and FR955 a little better. Thanks to @the5krunner for pointing out. Still no CAD-precise drawing.#garmin #forerunner #leak pic.twitter.com/1PDKHqZdgh
— Flo | FTT (en) (@fttest_en) February 9, 2023
Prediction Number 2 – Venu 2 plus (40mm,
Eagle-eyed readers will already know that the Venu 2 plus 43mm is the only 2plus model with voice and that the voice features are tethered to the presence of a smartphone. As well as make/take calls the Venu 2+ 43mm can already play music on its speaker, support voice assistants, and boost incident detection abilities.
Expect these voice features to find their way to the 40 and 45mm models.
Prediction Number 3 – Yawn Fest
We are going to also see an Edge 140 and Forerunner 65. Which you know are going to have a cut-down range of features compared to their mid-range counterparts.
The only interesting move here might be that the Forerunner 65 has a SMALL AMOLED screen. I would have betted against AMOLED finding its way so quickly to “budget” watches but we’ve already seen Polar Ignite 3 do precisely just that.
Prediction Number 4 – LTE
I’m currently using LTE on my Apple Watch 7, and it is a massive battery guzzler. I doubt Garmin has invented a chip that can mitigate the rigours of good LTE performance, so expect a battery drain fest from its LTE-enabled watches too. However, at least Garmin starts off with a bigger battery from the get-go.
However, Garmin’s LTE problems go beyond battery life. The real issue is smart integration. Unlike Apple, I can’t see Garmin producing a watch that can make and take cellular calls without using WiFi or Bluetooth. Apple just won’t let them. Although LTE is a high-margin feature, Garmin can’t fully implement its possibilities due to this limitation. And even if it could technically do it, Garmin would still have to get the agreements with the carriers; even Apple is restricted to a limited number of carriers for LTE services (at least in the UK it is)
The Forerunner 745 is a small-format 955, also available with an LTE option. So maybe we will get a Forerunner 755 that has LTE rather than AMOLED. I’m not so sure about this one. More likely will be further LTE
Perhaps instead of the 2plus (40mm, 45mm), we will see a complete line of Venu 3 watches all with voice and LTE (but perhaps confusingly NOT voice over LTE)
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