While Garmin was at CES this year – the vast majority of their focus there from a new products standpoint was automotive and mobile in nature. All of the fitness related products had long since been announced back in the fall (such as the FR910XT in October, and the FR70 just afterwards). Thus, the tidbits of new from the Kansas folks was fairly limited, but certainly worth mentioning since it easily ranks amongst the most requested information I see on a daily basis.
With Garmin Vector (pedal based power meter) less than two months away from the previously announced release date of March 2012, most of the attention was focused there.
Here’s the rundown of updates from the land of Oz:
Garmin Vector Release: The pedal based power meter continues to be on schedule for a March 2012 release/availability date. I reconfirmed this again post-show with Garmin that the product is indeed on target for March. We’ll start to get more clarification on how the ordering and distribution aspects of the product will work as we get into February. As always, for everything else technical (and non-technical) about Vector, you’ll probably want to wander over here (Everything you ever wanted to know about the Garmin Vector pedal based power meter). If it’s not answered there, then definitely let me know.
Edge 500 TSS/NP/IF Firmware Update: The update for the Edge 500 that would bring it the TrainingPeaks metrics (similar to how the Edge 800 already received them), was previously promised back in the fall (2011), then it got pushed into the new year (2012). The new plan has this now occurring no later than the second week of February. From the sounds of the discussion the date has morphed from previously being a soft date to being a rock hard ‘thou shall not go past the second week of February’ type date. It’s unclear on what exactly the reason is for the shift in mentality, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it being driven either by Team Garmin commitments, or by upcoming Vector related items. Either way – it’s good for us that someone has put their foot down. Now hopefully it sticks.
Edge ANT+ Workout Synchronization: I was curious to see if any progress might have been made towards adding ANT+ workout synchronization to the Edge 500/800, allowing you to wirelessly download your activities (completed workouts) via phone and/or computer, similar to what you can do today with the much of the Forerunner series and the Wahoo Fitness dongle. They commented that nothing is currently scheduled, though they’re always looking at new options. Considering that I confirmed with the Magellan Switch folks that their new multisport device will support ANT+ wireless file transfers and the ability to use download mechanisms such as Wahoo Fitness to get it to Training Peaks, etc… I suspect we might see some competitive pressure applied to Garmin here.
Forerunner 910XT Related Items: A couple of items and updates related to the now somewhat available multisport watch.
Shipping: It’s fairly well known now that the units have started shipping last week to folks – so at least that question is now answered. As to when an individual retailer/distributor will get their allotment, that continues to depend on the giant Tetris puzzle that it is fulfillment of thousands of orders. I can say from my own personal order of another unit bought last week from Amazon, that’s now showing a Jan 27th delivery date – so about a three week lead time currently. By the same token, the unit I ordered off of Garmin.com on launch day morning (early October) arrived Wednesday at the house. And then, other units from other retailers are all over the map. Again, it’ll vary by source, and how and when they placed their order. It’s not as much a factor of when you placed your order, but rather when they did theirs – and how many they ordered initially.
Additional FR910XT Manufacturing Capacity: Garmin will be bringing online additional manufacturing lines over the coming weeks to help satisfy demand for the FR910XT and attempt to get through the existing backlog quicker.
TSS/NP/IF (TrainingPeaks Metrics): The current production FR910XT’s ended up not getting the TrainingPeaks TSS/NP/IF metrics. As I noted previously, even my test unit didn’t have it, as it was scheduled to happen just prior to release. I’m trying to get clarification on when exactly this will be available, especially given it was promised. I wish they would have been a bit more forthcoming on this one.
Quick Release Kit: A few folks have asked as to why the FR910XT quick release kit has a 90* different orientation than the Edge series quick release kits (meaning, if you put a FR910XT on a Edge series mount, it’ll be sideways). That’s basically just the resultant of the FR310XT series quick release kits also being sideways. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a good answer from Garmin as to why it was done that way to begin with – since it seems as though it would have been more logical to have them all orient the same way. Nonetheless, I did ask – but the answer seems a bit muddy.
Swim Workout Creator: Finally, I asked if there were plans to create a swim workout creator, to allow you to download swim workouts to the FR910XT – similar to what you can do for bike and run already. They could not commit to when such a feature might make an appearance, but did confirm they are very well aware of the demand for it, and the competitive nature of other products in the market.
Ensure you update your ANT+ Agent: Just a side note though for those that have the FR910XT already, or will shortly. Be sure to update your ANT+ Agent that’s installed on your computer. If you already have a Garmin, you may not think to update that piece – but in reality, that’s required to be able to correctly export some of the swim workouts from the device to 3rd party file formats. Additionally, it fixes some bugs in synchronization of FR910XT workouts as well. It only takes a second.
As noted, this is a pretty short update since Garmin doesn’t view CES as their normal stage for launching fitness products. Fitness products are normally launched ahead of the holiday season (October/November), in concert with EuroBike/Interbike for cycling related items (August/September), and in April for running related products (ahead of the Boston Marathon). For Garmin, CES is focused on the other product areas within the company.
As always, if you’ve got any questions, feel free to drop them below and I’ll try and get them answered. Thanks for reading!