Garmin Can Now Brick Your Device REMOTELY
I was a bit shocked when I received an email from Garmin informing me that they would permanently deactivate my device (HRM-PRO) in 14 days. Although Garmin had every right to do so, as they had provided me with a free out-of-warranty replacement HRM-PRO Plus to address a common issue with the previous model’s broken retaining screws, I wasn’t aware that they had the ability to remotely ‘brick’ or disable devices.
I assume that the deactivation command will be sent through a sync on Garmin Connect, but I’m unsure how Garmin will accomplish this since the HRM-PRO was registered to a different account and they did not have its serial number, as far as I know. This approach does save the cost of returning a defective device that cannot be refurbished or repaired.
Perhaps “surprised” would be a better term to use, as I was not aware that Garmin could take this action.
While some people might find the Big Brother nature of this situation horrifying, I balanced my initial shock with an optimistic yen for a new feature.
Consider the scenario where you misplace or have your watch stolen, which is not uncommon since we sometimes leave our sports watches in various smelly bags or leave our Garmin Edge units on display in triathlon transition areas. It would be fantastic if we could report a lost or stolen watch or bike computer, not necessarily to retrieve the device, but to deter theft in the first place. Adding a feature that unlocks the device when found would also be beneficial, as well as the ability to remotely lock a device and display the owner’s information in the event of accidental loss.
When you’ve spent $500-$100 on a top-end Garmin watch or bike computer you might well expect such niceties to be added especially, of course, as the Apple Watch has long been able to d exactly what I am describing here.
Clearly, the new screwless battery cover design for the HRM-PRO Plus was in response to the design flaw that I experienced. I wonder how many others of you were similarly affected? I guess you wouldn’t know for a year or so as that is roughly how long a CR2032 battery lasts.
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