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Garmin Updates November 2022
Garmin has introduced some new features and expanded the models that support slightly older features. It’s great Garmin does this but it’s a bit confusing as to whether or not your watch will get the feature, with the timing further confused when the media (like here) talk about new features that are only available to testers.
This chart should help, after which I’ll summarise the features if you are not already aware of what they do.
The major feature here is Adaptive Training.
The is a large dollop of secret sauce for the Garmin Edge 1040 and allows you to get an overview of the week ahead’s scheduled workouts which adapt based on a variety of factors. Elsewhere I and others have a good stab at explaining how this works but the reality is…no-one really knows exactly what happens and, as I found, if Garmin incorrectly assesses your basic physiological parameters the whole house of cards (Firstbeat Features) falls.
The connected features that share your race progress with friends via a smartphone are nice as is their ability to message words of encouragement to you. The reality is this is a peripheral, gimmicky feature that, whilst clever, screams out for an EDGE unit with LTE as no self-respecting competitor should have their phone with them on race day. At least that’s my opinion.
You have to look at the lack of new features on the Fenix 6 to extrapolate that Edge 530/830 owners will probably never get these new features.
Smart Watches, Fitness Watches Sports Watches
The major new feature is Garmin’s native but proprietary Running Power ecosystem (explainer here) which is more than simply a new data field as it is supported throughout much, but not all, of the Garmin ecosystem ie it’s included in workouts, alerts and compliance. Recently, Garmin has also done away with the need for an accessory and the power calculation is determined solely within all the Fenix 7-based watches.
The other new features are all relatively small and/or of peripheral use.
FWIW: I have Grade Adjusted Pace on my main running screen alongside Stryd‘s 3-second power but will probably never use Auto Rest in ULTRARUN. Similarly, I use Morning Report every morning but only as a means of accessing my overnight HRV to plug into HRV4Training for some proper HRV-readiness analysis.
Nextfork’s distance to the next junction is interesting enough, again I’ll never use it but some of you will love it and use it regularly.
My snowboard has sat in the same place in the loft for several years now delaminating away to its heart’s content so the chances of me using the Backcountry Snowboard sport profile are bordering on zero (it was my favourite sport back in the day).
Disc Golf might get an unexpected workout but only because my dog is pretty awesome at catching frisbees and I like to show her off, I’ll just see how the watch handles some random frisbee throwing.
I suspect that these features will not get further rolled out to the Venu watches as they are specialist sports features and Venu isn’t a specialist sports watch. Whether the Forerunner 255 deserves them is another matter entirely. It probably does deserve them but maybe instead they will find their way onto the soon-to-be-released Forerunner 265/965 (AMOLED) as a little sweetener to go along with the beautiful screen.
2023 – What new features can we expect?
I can’t see entirely new software features being invented, unless driven by new sensor data or other new hardware capabilities. There is only so much left to invent.
In my opinion, Garmin is likley to innovate in areas that allow features to better work together. For example, we already have adaptive workouts which work at a ‘macro’ level ie day-by-day. But another tier of adaptation could come within the workout as it is adapted to our fatigue state – thus the combination of features here would be Garmin STAMINA and micro-ADAPTIVE WORKOUTS (Xert already do this).
LTE is the other hardware feature that would leverage Edge 1040’s existing features and perhaps pave the way for improved performance-sharing and safety features across Garmin’s cycling range. However, Garmin is always going to be limited by what the networks will allow it to do with other messaging apps (iMessage, Whatsapp, Telegram)
We are fast approaching a new mini-wave of sensors that will be able to non-invasively determine lactate, blood glucose, hydration, blood pressure and other weird and wonderful metrics. 2024 is a good year to hope for in that respect. Some of you may have heard of Rockley Photonics but don’t necessarily expect the innovation I’m talking about here to come from them, it seems the company are struggling with getting its sensor to market and there are several others chomping at its heels.
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