The next few weeks are going to be rather busy in the sports technology world (remember my 2011 predictions?). There’s a ton of companies either announcing new products, major changes to existing products, or new services. While both these companies and I would love to dedicate an entire post to each and every one, I’m kinda choosing which items get a full blown post, and which ones get a consolidated post. Sorta like Interbike – just too much good news to go around!
Polar RCX5 Multisport Watch Coming:
Some of you may have seen some of the tweets and Facebook postings from Polar USA around the upcoming RCX5 multisport watch. In addition to the official channels, there was also a minor leak of product pricing from one of the European retailers to a few forums, which ultimately ended up in a variety of places. Here’s a picture of the watch from those leaks.
I had a good telephone conference with the Polar folks over the last few days, and got to chat about many of the features of the new watch. It’s got some good new additions that should add a bit to the market.
I’ve got a post lined up with tons more in depth detail from my rather detailed talks with them about features and functionality (also answering many of the questions I’ve seen floating around). Though…I’ve gotta hold off a bit more until I can release that info. Hang tight! Additionally, they’re sending me out one of the final production units to review – which should arrive at the latest by next weekend. Looking forward to it, and branching out a bit more into the Polar world.
Training Peaks App Acquisition:
I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past that the next major battlefield for sports technology is the mobile platform. While there will always be a place for standalone watch devices, we’re seeing a pretty big shift towards the phone platform for both casual users, and data driven users. It won’t be for everyone, but ignoring that market would be foolish (Note: ultimately I think we’ll see a partial shift back towards watches with iPod Nano like screens that can load any app you want).
Not wanting to ignore this trend, Training Peaks went out and acquired the SprintGPS app from Screenmedia. This app has the ability to record your workouts and then automatically upload them to Training Peaks. While there are many apps that do this today, the goal here for Training Peaks is to take an already well established app and then really make it become the best Training Peaks app out there. At the absolute top of their list is adding in ANT+ support via the Wahoo Fitness dongle, and for the Android versions – also adding in ANT+ support for those phones that have it built in.
Now, there is one little snag. For those familiar with Apple’s App Store policies, there’s a minor complication in simply ‘transferring’ this app from it’s previous owner to Training Peaks app store. As a result, if you’ve already bought it with SprintGPS, you’ve gotta buy it again. Not ideal I agree…but they came up with a minor work around to simply charging $.99 (as opposed to the usual $5), and then donating all of that (minus Apple’s cut) equally to three bike/run/triathlon charities. Though, this offer is only good Tues/Weds.
In my discussions with the founder of TP and some of their staff – the whole team at Training Peaks is pretty jazzed about this, and I’m optimistic this will allow them to get some functionality that really focus on the training and analysis side pulled from TrainingPeaks.com – down into an app form factor (and maybe…just maybe, they’ll add ANT+ transfer from the FR310XT and the like…if I keep begging). In the meantime, if you use TP, I’d grab the app now before it gets five times more expensive…and since it benefits a good cause for now. All the deets here.
While the rest of us have been slaving away in the pool during the winter (me above, this winter with the Swimsense), the folks at Swimsense have been slaving away on their computers adding features, functionality and bug fixes to the Swimsense watch.
Let’s get into all the cool stuff that was released over the past few days.
New functionality via Firmware Updates:
As part of a new firmware update released over the last few days, you’ve now got the following updates and changes:
Continuous Save: Some folks experienced workouts being lost when the battery died during a workout. The Swimsense will now save the workout on a (virtually) continuous basis.
Improve Stroke Rate: we improved the Stroke Rate calculation to not include wall push-off time. This is a key feature for those folks that train by stroke rate (e.g. this is a key component to the Total Immersion program).
24 Hour Clock: Implemented a 24 hour clock
Bug Fixes: Here’s a pile of the more notable bug fixes-
– Fixed bug when clearing watch which may cause the buzzer to sound until reset – Fixed when the watch is configured to meters, the ready-to-swim screen still shows yards – Fixed issue where watch does not save weight setting when set in KG – Fixed the battery icon faster on USB Charger Disconnect to remove the charge symbol – Removed the rest time from Interval History – Feature: Increment Age + Weight Config options by 1 rather than 5
Note they are also going to release another firmware update later this week which will improve the charge time of the Swimsense. Currently a single charge will last about 4 hours of swimming or 20 hour of non-swimming (this calculation does not include Sleep mode). Once the new firmware is released, a single charge will last about 8 hours of swimming or 50+ hours of non-swim time.
Note: Huge thanks to founder John Anthony from Swimsense for getting me all this detail about about changes.
Added Training Peaks support:
I’ve been pushing this for quite a while…and it’s probably the most exciting useful functionality change I’ve seen this year from any company (sometimes companies add non-useful yet fun functionality that you rarely actually use). In short, when I upload workouts via the Swimsense Bridge, it will now automatically relay that workout to my Training Peaks account.
This means that instead of having to manually transcribe my workout from the Swimsense training log into the Training Peaks log – it just does it automatically. The distance, laps, splits, everything all comes across:
Now, I’m not going to go and say that everything is quite perfect yet. There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t quite align as well as it does on the Swimsense log just yet. But, it’s a good start. I’m hopeful some of the bugs will get worked out and the data will come across a bit cleaner. My primary goal was pretty much just getting totals and splits to show up, so I was happy that piece generally is correct. It’s some of the individual lap pieces that look a bit funky in the Training Peaks graphs (see the last few sets):
Adding Sport Tracks support
In addition to Training Peaks support noted above, the team at Sport Tracks is putting the finishing touches on a Swimsense plug-in that will allow you to view your workout details in Sport Tracks. Here’s a quick sneak peak:
Ok…that’s all I’ve got for now – but trust me, there’s a ton of stuff coming out over the next two weeks. Don’t be going too far away…or ya might just miss something! Plus, remember you can always get the absolute latest news via my Twitter feed as well.
You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2021 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s Gear Guide too.