Garmin decides not to add Left/Right power or TSS/NP/IF to Forerunner 310XT

912While checking on status for the forthcoming Edge 500 and FR310XT firmware updates that were scheduled to add the TrainingPeaks Metrics of TSS/NP/IF to the Edge 500, Edge 800, Forerunner 310XT and Forerunner 910XT – I got word that the FR310XT will no longer be receiving these data fields as planned.

Last month the Edge 800 had the new data fields added via a free firmware update, which included not only the TrainingPeaks metrics of TSS/NP/IF, but also future Left/Right power meter support for Garmin Vector…and a host of other new data fields.

This means that while the pedal based power meters (like Vector and Zone) will still display total power from ANT+ enabled power meters, it will not display the balance breakout of left/right.  This essentially puts it into the same category as the Edge 700, which is no longer receiving new functionality updates and only receiving occasional bug fixes.

The official update from Garmin is as follows:

“The Forerunner 310XT will display cadence and total power and will still remain a very powerful training tool for multi-sport athletes, runners and cyclists alike. Though it will display total power, it will not show Left/Right when paired with Vector nor will this device receive the TrainingPeaks data fields update.”

In other words, the FR310XT – like any ANT+ capable device that can supports the ANT+ power meter device profile – will be able to show total power and cadence from Garmin Vector, but will be unable to show the left/right balance (as seen in the Edge 800 screenshot above).

4737Additionally, it will not have any of the TrainingPeaks data fields, such as those to the right.  These fields will still be added to the FR910XT as well as the Edge 500. They were already added to the Edge 800. 

If we look at the brief history on this, it was initially stated in July that they were still deciding which devices would get left/right power support for Vector.  Then in August as part of the lead-up to Eurobike they announced more information about Garmin Vector, and as part of that they announced support for the Edge 500/800 and FR310XT.   That support stance continued through Interbike and also in updated public facing Garmin communications on their blog

I think this is a pretty big about face – especially to happen nearly three months after announcing support.  Even more so, to change direction after folks likely went out and bought the FR310XT expecting support for the new metrics, especially the training peaks metrics.  So what does this all mean?  Well, quite simply, the FR310XT is being left out in the cold.  You know…just in time for winter.

IMG_9224

If I can find any good news in the messaging I got it’s that the Edge 500 update is still being worked on currently and is still scheduled for release.  Additionally, the timeframe for the FR910XT remains as previously announced – with a goal of the end of November for initial orders to be fulfilled.

If you’ve got feedback – feel free to leave it below, as is always the case – most folks in the industry are watching…not only probably at Garmin, but also at places like Timex.  After all, how much would it take to simply add in the Left/Right power support and some of the additional metrics…undercutting the FR310XT…ya never know.

55 Comments

  1. One more reason to upgrade to a 910xt I guess.

    Reply
  2. What this feels like is Garmin trying to force-upgrade people from 310XT to 910XT.

    While I can afford to, I don't necessarily want to. It means I'm up for the cost of a 910XT and Vector when it's released - about USD 2000.

    At least I have the option of buying overseas. Pricing in Australia is measurably above US or UK retail.

    Reply
  3. ERR

    I agree with Stephen, this feels exactly like they are trying to drive sales to the new product. While I can understand that, if they said they would support the 310 then they need to do that. People might have made expensive purchases based on the word of Garmin.

    Hopefully they will renege on their reneguing.

    Reply
  4. Tim

    Amazing stuff. I've got to agree with everyone so far in saying it is a pretty raw deal for 310xt owners.

    We live in a day when free software upgrades are expected, although need to understand they cost time and money without bringing in any necessary extra revenue.

    Still, with most Garmin fitness devices I've owned it seems that Garmin also lives by this expectation -- most products are released with pretty obvious bugs.

    I have to admit, the 910xt is an upgrade to the 310 but not the most substantial one to many people. Perhaps the increased data fields will entice more people. Bummer they don't have an effective trade-in program to ease the cost difference.

    Reply
  5. While I'm not rushing to get the vector pedals, I don't like the slap in the face to us 310xt owners. I'd say as much as garmin hates it, the 305 is still the most popular unit in terms of new sales (basing this of conversations with casual runners who want the cheapest garmin that does everything).

    A $399 or $450 price point is pretty darn expensive, and I hope if they start discontinuing upgrades they'd at least drop the cost of the 310xt (still at $350) to make it more popular - only makes sense.

    My statements are kind of contradictory I guess - but I like my watch. Want to see some respect for the owners (who were mislead with its original swim capabilities - gps + hr monitoring).

    Reply
  6. While the decision does not directly effect me and my use of the 310xt I purchased about a year ago, what I don't like is a company that will not continue to support how they "should" give support for an item that is pretty expensive. My worry is that they don't do something in the future that will effect how I use the watch. It's going to give me one more reason to really look at the Timex GPS's a little closer the next time I'm willing to put out that kind of money. It's unfortunate.

    Reply
  7. I was excited earlier to see the news of continued support for the 310XT. I had just upgraded from a 405, and a 201 before that.

    Now they change their mind?

    While it's debatable if I'd ever end up with the Vector pedals I was looking forward to staying current with the 310XT.

    Hopefully 3.90 is not the end of the line. There are some new/annoying bugs in it compared to 3.70.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    VERY disappointing not to get the Training Peak metrics to the 310....guess Garmin doesn't like us! I'm one of those that Ray "mentions"---those that picked up a 310 figuring it was coming...

    Reply
  9. tms

    Wow - it's extremely disappointing that Garmin would go down that dangerous road. I'm very glad that I held out for the 910xt then! Was very close to buying the 310 a few times this year but held off because of the rumors of a replacement.

    Every device naturally has an EOL point, as they don't get paid for firmware upgrades so not adding the features in and of itself is understandable. But formally announcing that a device will get certain features and then not going through with it is a *very* different story as many customers may have purchased it on the weight of that promise.

    Aside from pissing off loyal customers, it also has the potential to make a lot of people think twice about buying products near the end of their lifecycle. The Osborne effect is strong enough as it is, but moves like this can amplify that significantly!

    Reply
  10. I was and am planning to upgrade to the 910XT sometime next year, but had looked forward to the TSS/NP/IF metrics on my 310XT in the meantime. In my book Garmin has a history of making nice hardware, but really blowing it on the software side and moves like this one makes me look around for alternatives. I think I'll keep a closer eye on what timex is offering now.

    Reply
  11. This is a disappointment from Garmin. Already the price point on the Vector pedals was higher than many of us were expecting - at least my 310XT was going to get the upgrade to benefit from the L/R power outputs and the useful TP numbers.

    Technically there doesn't seem any reason why it can't do this as Garmin had announced it would do it earlier.

    The motivation does seem to be to drive sales of the 910XT. Much as I'd like one too (Mmm, Gadgets) the combined price for Vector + 910XT is a step too far.

    Will the 310XT be logging this data but just not displaying it? If I upload to GC or TP will the 'missing' information be visible?

    Matt.

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    i agree with tms, i hope they realize they lured people
    in the last weeks to still buy their old product. giving them an upgrade option for e.g 50$ would be a fair thing.
    kai

    Reply
  13. DavidH

    Pretty dissapointed.
    I Only recently ( just before the 910 was released) bought a 310xt as a way to replace my ageing 405 but to also to add the power functionality that my 705 wasn't going to get.

    Totally agree with the other posts here. It seems like Garmin are trying to force upgrades to the 910. But with a 310 less than 2 months old, that's not going to happen here.

    Reply
  14. Perhaps the Garmin folks has trouble/issues with the 310 when they tried adding those metrics?
    As a 310XT owner without a power meter, this isn't a huge blow, but it's certainly disappointing. And honestly, Garmin didn't need to do anything to make me want the 910XT any MORE. When my 310XT dies (b/c it will, one day) I will certainly look to the 910, mostly b/c of the swimming updates.
    On the other hand, it's got to be a learning day for the guys at Timex. Anytime the frontrunner stubs his toe (however slightly) there's a chance to learn from another's mistake.
    In the end, a great product (like what we're all hoping the 910xt is) will sell without needlessly hamstringing a predecessor, simply b/c it's a great product.
    I use a 310 everday, and I still plan to get a 910, eventually. Unless Timex can actually impress in the tri market.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Very disappointed, i just bought a new 310...

    Ciao from North Italy

    Reply
  16. total sales move by garmin - best we can hope for is that they add it some time after the 910xt has been out and they have revieweed sales figures

    Reply
  17. Another unfriendly move from Garmin, after the Vector pedal debacle. Further cements my decision to stay with Cycleops and PowerTap, and to purchase the Timex Run Trainer.

    Reply
  18. Another unfriendly move from Garmin, after the Vector pedal debacle. Further cements my decision to stay with Cycleops and PowerTap, and to purchase the Timex Run Trainer.

    Reply
  19. Very disappointing move by Garmin (seems like a total sales move to me as well) as an owner of the 310xt I was really looking forward to having TSS/NP/IF integrated into my 310xt. The 910xt looks nice but having just purchased my 310xt about 9 months ago I'm going to need to stick with it a good while longer before upgrading.

    I like the 310xt but have to agree with everyone else, given this dropping support (of a fairly new product) I'll be considering Timex and others next time around.

    Reply
  20. I understand where Garmin is going with this possibly aiming the 910XT to the more serious athlete interested in L/R power, however, if the hardware will support it and they are simply not doing it do increase sales then poor choice on them.

    It's kinda like Apple saying we're not going to give Siri to Iphone4 owners to drive sales of the 4s, when developers had Siri working on the Iphone4 for months before.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I wonder if Garmin would change their mind if enough people complain? I just bought my 310 about a year ago, and have no intention of "upgrading" to a 900 any time soon. Timex isn't a very good option right now, but if there is another option when I'm ready, I'll consider it. I like to buy products from companies that take care of their customers.

    Reply
  22. I have long been a loyal Garmin buyer. I have had two 305s. I have two 310xt (one for son and one for me). I have an edge 305 and an Edge 705. When I bought my power tap, I went out of my way to not get the Saris computer in favor of geting the Edge.

    Frankly, I feel rather kicked in the teeth that they don't plan to return the favor. I've never understood why it was so hard to give the TSS/NP/IF data in the first place. I literally kept assuming it was just one firmware release away.

    There will come a time when I'll need to replace or upgrade, and treatment like this will make previously easy decisions harder.

    Reply
  23. Thanks Ray, as always, for keeping us up to date.

    There are some important issues here that I hope Garmin accounted for in their cost/benefit analysis as to whether or not to do this (they certainly could have done):

    1) Trust and customer satisfaction. One of the reasons Garmin enjoys strong sales is that they've built a strong reputation for customer support. This is one of the reasons people are willing to pay quite a lot of money for their products: remember that they're competing with smartphones now. Orphaning top of the range units like the 705, and now the 310xt, damages this reputation... particularly when we're talking about interfacing with one of their own products over an "open" standard like ANT+!

    2) The success of the Vector will depend on how well it stacks up against Powertap and particularly Quarq. Reducing the functionality of the 310xt/Vector combination to Quarq levels will result in reduced uptake of the Vector. Quarq is proven, and tougher for road/cross racers, and you can get one now.

    3) As others have pointed out, where does this leave claims about future product capability and functionality? So the Edge 500 compatibility is really still coming is it? There's nothing different about the 310xt and the 500/800 that they didn't know 3 months ago...

    I own a 310xt and the Vector was top of my list once it came out. Now I'll certainly be considering Quarq more strongly. I'm sure I'm not alone!

    Reply
  24. Sir5

    I fully agree with Horsey.

    My 310XT is a reliable piece of equipment (like my GPSMAP278) and I intend to use it as long as possible.

    I will now turn to quark (planned for April).

    Except of course when they listen to their customers and apply an update to the firmware.

    Reply
  25. Horsey said it all!!!!

    Reply
  26. While I can see this as a move to drive up 910XT sales it takes a gouge out of potential Vector purchases. When the Q1 Garmin update this year turned out to be the 610 vs the expected 310XT update I and I know a number of friends assumed we were another year out from a tri specific watch update. This meant that many purchased 310XT's for this season. Considering there are other power options as several other users have mentioned that will be functionally equivalent (Quark) It is simply not worth it to upgrade to the 910XT & vector in the same year.

    When Garmin is trying to beat Timex to market and capitalize on the pedal based power meter budget there is financial incentive to create a large potential customer base with an update like this. I'm disappointed that Garmin has taken this stance and hope they will reconsider. If they don't I am in the same camp as 'Horsey' in that my power meter of choice is unlikely to be Vector.

    Reply
  27. ekutter

    From this post it isn't clear if they are going to stop releasing firmware updates altogether or just won't be adding the power/training peaks features.
    Regardless, I suspect this is driven more by Garmin realizing they don't have the bandwidth/competence to add these features without the risk of adding new problems. They have shown time and time again with buggy firmware updates that they are unwilling to put adequate resources into building a top notch software group.
    With my old Polar watches, I never had any expectation of a software updates after purchase, but they were always rock solid. Garmin has changed this by releasing products and firmware updates before they are ready. If they didn't give free firmware upgrades, they would go out of business as no one would buy their products.
    In this case, I can understand that they won't add features to a 2 year old product, but I sure hope they don't stop fixing the problems with the existing features. The caveat to this is that they lead people to believe they would add these features. Not following through is extremely poor customer service.
    Garmin still has the best hardware out there but there are a lot of options coming down the pipeline from phones to other competitors. If they don't start caring a bit more about the quality of their software, they will be overrun.

    Reply
  28. Scott and ekutter both make very good points.
    If there's a technical reason they can't do it (and that could easily be something like too little firmware memory on the watch to squeeze the code in), they'd be doing themselves a favour by saying so.

    They clearly hadn't stopped maintenance releases, as one came out yesterday. But they still haven't fixed the map display for courses.

    Reply
  29. Bjørn

    I own an Edge 705, and was a total Garmin fan. I was so disappointed about no upgrades that I bought a Powertap instead of waiting for Vector to be released.
    Will think twice before getting a new Garmin..

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    When is the scheduled/predicted release for the Edge 500 update? I'm sure wanting to know about that!

    Reply
  31. Jon

    The Vector at a price point of $1500 is still $400 less than the least expensive Quarq powermeter that I can find online.

    The basic Garmin 910xt model is selling at $399.95.

    $1500 + $399.95 = $1900 (which is the same cost of a Quarq)

    While it sucks that they won't be updating the 310xt as it is a solid device and mine has many more years left, consumers will be better off going the Garmin Vector route and upgrading to the 910xt. You will get the benefit of all the new 910xt features and add power.

    However, as I already have a Quarq that gives me power readings, spending $2000 (vector and new garmin device) to get power by L/R is absurd.

    Reply
  32. Pretty disappointing, but honestly I'm still more pissed about the faulty wrist band problem on the 310 XT that required purchasing the QR kit to fix. That should have been provided for free, along with an apology. This, the bing map debacle, buggy firmware upgrades... I'm eager to see a viable alternative to garmin products, and definitely will keep these issues in mind before buying more garmin products.

    Reply
  33. As a 310XT owner I am very disappointed about Garmin's decision, but more the lie that there would be an upgrade. I bought mine pre 910 rumours but I can imagine those who bought them recently expecting similar power behaviour (as they were lead to believe) will be very frustrated.

    Personally I am hiring a Powertap at the moment, on the hope of a Vector purchase at the end of the hire contract. Given the lack of competitive pricing of the Vector (again that we were lead to believe sub $1,000 from the MetriGear days) and now no data benefit makes me really question if it's worth it.

    So instead of encouraging me to buy a 910 (which I dont need) they are risking the sale of a Vector - And I suspect I'm not alone in this decision.

    I am also now concerned about the update for the Edge 500. My girlfriend bought one specifically for power data - due to lack of support in the 405. (Also has a Swimsense - whose functionality has now been incorporated into the 910).

    If they actually had problems getting the functionality onto the device, then it would save them a lot of face to come clean.

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    I have a 310xt and was looking to get the Vector. This move by Garmin makes me looking at alternatives. How long will they support the 310xt? And the 910xt? There will always be new models...

    Reply
  35. Anonymous

    How about open sourcing the software? The 310XT looks also way better that the 910XT which looks like a crappy 1980s Casio...

    Reply
  36. From the begining, 310XT was left from supporting 3sec Avg Power long time. 1st premium HRM belt with a lot of troubles was left to the people who paid earlier.
    So maybe tri or longer sports people might not be important customers for the Garmin.

    My worry is about 910XT. Well 910XT will be supported for the next left-right or TSS things but maybe it's gonna be left from other Edge X devices someday.

    Reply
  37. What I don't like about what Garmin have done, is that the 310XT is their flagship model one week, and before the new model is even available, it's already at the end of the line for firmware improvements. WTF!?!? So much for being a loyal Garmin customer that's provided so much promoting of Garmin products, now I'll be sure to warn everyone about how whatever Garmin product you buy today, don't expect them to be supporting you tomorrow! Great work in your reviews Ray, and even greater work putting the pressure on this oligopoly type company that's getting just a little bit too cocky about how much money we think we're willing to fork out for them to become a monopoly.

    Reply
  38. Agree with previous comments. I do not like the way Garmin drops development for the 310 immediately the 910 is announced.
    I would have liked to see the planned updates. I would also have liked to see more devices than the 610 (especially my 310) support HR R-R data for analysis with firstbeat software and similar. Most of all I would have liked both of these in a firmware that was reasonably bug free and didn't have intermittent problems finding my ANT+ accessories like 3.90 and 4.20 do.

    Reply
  39. Did Garmin drop the TrainingPeaks measures TSS,NP and IF and include Firstbeat instead?

    Just downloaded the manual from Garmins site while waiting for the 910x to arrive....

    No sign of TSS - but Firstbeat Training Effect instead?

    What a shame being a TrainingPeaks user :-(

    Reply
  40. I'm checking on that now. It wasn't in the Dec firmware, but was supposed to be there by January release. I don't have an updated firmware on the development unit I have though, but will have a final production unit when my shipment arrives on Tuesday. That said, hope to have an answer long before then.

    Reply
  41. Do you have any info regarding the expected release date of the np/tss/if data field addition for the Edge 500?

    Reply
  42. I've been told absolutely no later than the second week of February. Apparently a hard date.

    Reply
  43. Billy

    I take it Garmin is still not planning on releasing a firmware update to allow the 310XT to display the left/right power output? Does anyone know if this information will still be recorded and then visible in TrainingCenter, Strava, or other sites after uploading the data?

    Lastly - are there any developers out there that could make a modified firmware update to show the left/right data? Seems like such a simple update but that sort of thing is way beyond me.

    Reply
  44. No plans at this point.

    The information isn't be recorded by the FR310XT, since it's unaware of the additional ANT+ data stream (right power, needed to calculate left/right and balance). Unfortunately, that means that it won't show up anywhere else.

    That said, I'll mention it during a discussion with them tomorrow - might be a viable alternative which would require much less coding (to simply record that data stream).

    There's little likelyhood of a modified firmware update, since that would require hacking and breaking the FR310XT, then recompiling a new firmware for it. Ideally, down the road, we'll see app-like development on these devices - such as the Edge 800 - but that isn't something I expect to see today.

    Reply
  45. Toby

    HR soft strap issues, cracked screen, broken wrist straps, firmware issues, screen freezes, lost training data, lost training time, wasted life...and now promise u-turns, I'm not surprised to learn they're turning their backs on 310xt users.

    So, I've taken a stand and bought a Quarq power meter!

    I'll be advising my athletes to do the same.

    Reply
  46. dan

    I'm selling my 310xt and buying a non-garmin watch. very dissapointed with garmin

    Reply
  47. Michal

    Ray, you mentioned that the left-right support data stream will not be read by the 310xt but what about the TP metrics? Will it be possible to do the post processing once the workout data from 310xt is uploaded or do you really need to have the 910xt to have any readings/measurements of NP,IF.. at all?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, unfortunately not. It doesn't record that portion of the ANT+ data stream, so TP can't analyze it.

      Reply
  48. Ron

    Can you clarify the issue of recording TSS data versus displaying it on the 310XT? I asked TrainingPeaks support:
    "Can you calculate TTS, NP, and IF if I use and upload data from a Garmin 310xt? If it matters I have a PowerTap G3 hub on my bike."

    The response was:
    "The calculations for TSS, NP, and IF are run from the TrainingPeaks software and are based on your thresholds and zones. As long as your device can record power, pace, and heart rate you will be able to upload your data and obtain values for these metrics.

    Please check out these links for more information:
    link to support.trainingpeaks.com
    link to support.trainingpeaks.com
    link to home.trainingpeaks.com"

    From this answer it seems the 310XT can provide the data to calculate TSS, NP, and IP on the TrainingPeaks website even though the 310XT will not display it. However, that answer is opposite from the way I read your responses to other comments. Could you please clarify this issue for me?

    Thanks for your great site.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The difference is the unit records all the data necessary for TrainingPeaks to calculate your TSS/NP/IF metrics from your power meter data - but it does that on the site, rather than display it to you on your unit. They take the data from your power meter information and calculate TSS/NP/IF on the web.

      Whereas the FR910XT, Edge 800/810/510/500, all will display the TSS/NP/IF numbers on the unit itself (on the device) in realtime, as well as afterwards. Further, they will transmit that information to Garmin Connect (that may or may not matter to some).

      So, if you're looking to get the TSS/NP/IF data and only care to analyze that metric on TrainingPeaks - you're totally good with the FR310XT. But if you want it on your device (the FR310XT) to display mid-ride, it won't show up there.

      Does that help?

      Reply
    • Ron replied

      That is clear. Cool. Thanks!

      Reply
  49. Adrián Chapela

    Also power balance could be show in the app or the data of balance is not recorded by 310XT ?

    Reply
  50. Gavin

    I have a 310XT and I'm about to buy a Garmin Vector.
    I understand the 310Xt does not capture all of the data fields available from the Vector.

    Is it possible to use the 310 to display whatever real-time fields it can while having a smartphone such as a Samsung S4 in your back pocket recording everything for later analysis?

    If so can you recommend a data capture app, ideally one that can export its data in a format that can be uploaded to TP or garmin connect?

    I've seen the ANT+ Plugin Sampler and it looks like its possible.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You could check out ipBike on Android. I don't remember offhand if it supports Left/Right data, but I suspect it does since usually he's on top of the ANT+ spec.

      Reply

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