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Garmin Connect IQ: An in-depth introduction to the platform you can now use today

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This past week Garmin not only launched a slew of new devices, but perhaps more importantly – launched availability of the first portions for Connect IQ.  Garmin Connect IQ is the application development platform for newer Garmin wearables that enables individuals or companies to develop a number of different application and watch extensions.  These extensions allow folks to significantly extend the features and functionality of your newfangled Garmin device.

While the platform is available immediately on the Vivoactive, Fenix3, Epix, and FR920XT – only the FR920XT is already out in the wild.  So, for practical purposes, this week’s announcement is applicable only to owners of the FR920XT multisport unit.  Note that the platform is not available for older units prior to the FR920XT, simply due to them not being designed for it (processing/memory/screen/etc…).

It should be called out that all apps are indeed free, and Garmin says they have no plans to introduce a monetization option, telling me that “Connect IQ apps will always be free in the Connect IQ Store”.  However, since Connect IQ apps can communicate with apps on your phone as well as via the internet, there are ways to enable monetization there outside the Garmin servers.

The Connect IQ Basics:

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The Connect IQ platform was announced back in September at the ANT+ Symposium.  At the time I provided this basic overview of the four types of extensions within the platform, which are as follows:

Apps: These are fully functional applications running on the watch that can have menus, state (saving data), and can be driven through a number of user interactions.  When you think of an app similar to that of your phone, this is what you’re looking at (roughly).

Data Fields: This allows one to create a single data field (or multiple fields) that users can add to their existing data pages on their watch.  For example, you could create a cupcakes earned to eat data field and have it alongside more standard fields like speed, cadence, and distance.  These fields can be different sizes as well, and potentially have more than one piece of information on them.

Watch Faces: These are faces that are available from the default screen of the watch and can include any information you’d like.  They’re updated at once per minute and run 24×7 in a low-power mode that doesn’t require shutting off (whereas most other smart watches do).

Widgets: These are glanceable pages that are mostly non-interactive (though they can do basic input such as accept/reject) that are included within the main screen loop of your watch.  For example, a widget might be something that has a single page that pulls the local weather forecast from an internet service based on the device location data, or the current leader at the Kona Ironman.  In the photo above, you see an example of a widget from AccuWeather.

As of this past week, they’ve rolled out two of the four functions: Data Fields and Watch Faces.  Those users with Garmin FR920XT’s can update their watches to a beta version of the FR920XT firmware and give these functions a shot (see later section).

The remainder of the features will be available later in Q1 as they fine tune the software development kit (SDK) and allow companies a bit more time to work out the bugs in their apps.  Both apps and widgets are a wee bit more complex than data fields and watch faces as they have far greater access to communication channels.

To illustrate all the different Connect IQ functions I’ll go through each of the four main categories on a variety of Garmin Connect IQ capable devices.  Note that most Connect IQ functions are available on all devices, however there will be some apps/widgets/etc that are only available on certain devices.  This could be because the hardware doesn’t support a given function, or because the developer simply only wants it available to a given platform.  It’s up to the app developer to choose which Garmin devices it’ll support.

Understanding Data Fields:

Data fields are pretty much exactly as the name implies – they are data fields that you can add to your training pages in any sport modes.  For example, today you might have a running data page with three metrics on it: Pace, Time, and Distance.  With Connect IQ you could create a new data metric – such as ‘Beers Consumed’ or ‘Animal Speed’.

These new metrics can have calculations behind them that are either simple (like beers consumed, just a basic burned calorie divided by beer calorie calculation).  Or, they could be incredibly complex algorithms that take into account many different factors.  It’s totally up to the developer.

The strength of these metrics is that they can be added to any of your existing data pages.  To do so, you’ll go into customize one of your existing data pages.  Once there, just as if you were to pick a given metric category like Heart Rate or Power, you can choose Connect IQ:

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Then from there you’ll select the Connect IQ data fields you have transferred to your unit:

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It’s all pretty easy and straight forward.  I dive into this a bit more later on in the post.

Like with Suunto when they introduced a similar concept two years ago, I expect it’ll take a few months to get some really interesting data fields out there in the App Store.  In the case of Garmin they have a bit deeper level of coding available for developers than Suunto does, so you might get more complex algorithms, and potentially more interesting scenarios.  For example, on Suunto we saw 3rd parties use this function to automatically display power from trainers that don’t normally have it – like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine – by using the speed sensor on your bike.

Understanding Watch Faces:

Next up is Watch Faces, which allow you to replace the default watch face on your Garmin device.  This is very similar to what virtually every smartwatch out there can do.  You can customize the look and feel of the display of time.  Different watch faces will have different display capabilities though, so keep in mind that some watch faces might not display all data available as the Garmin ones might.  But for the basic time and date, most do.

When you transfer over the watch face using Garmin Express, it’ll automatically become your default watch face.  However you can easily change it within the System menu of your Garmin device.  Then from there you’ll find yourself having a new watch face:

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Garmin has already put together a handful of interesting new watch faces to download as part of the Connect IQ launch, but I suspect you’ll see others create their own pretty quickly – such as sports team watch faces and the like.

Understanding Widgets:

Next we have Widgets.  Widgets are available from the main screens of the watch in what is otherwise a low-power mode.  These are accessible on most Connect IQ devices by just pressing up down (or swiping if the display is touch screen) – all without having to unlock the device.

These are designed to pull data from the internet via your mobile phone, which can be used as a conduit to access data on other services.  As of today (January 9th), widgets aren’t yet available to download, but are planned for Q1.

That said, here’s a look at some widgets and how they work.  You’ll go ahead and enable them within the main settings area after downloading them to your watch.  You can then enable or disable them in the carousel of screens individually:

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For example, here’s the Tempo widget, that shows upcoming meetings from your calendar.  It can also notify participants you’re busy eating ice cream and running late.  Tempo also has a full blown app as well.  In many cases a number of the apps I talk about have a widget that goes with them (such as AccuWeather seen earlier in the post).

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You’ll see more and more widgets as a way to quickly display data from 3rd party services.  I expect this is where you could, for example, see a TrainingPeaks widget to quickly display your training load for the week, or perhaps another widget just to show headlines from a news service.

Understanding Apps:

Finally, we’ve got Apps.  This is the granddaddy of all the options, and is the one that allows the most flexibility.  Like on your phone, these apps can run and operate more or less by themselves.

To understand this a bit, today when you open up your Garmin device, you’d typically start by choosing a sport – i.e. Running or Cycling.  In the Connect IQ world, these are now called ‘Apps’.  In fact, on the Fenix3 it actually says ‘Apps’ instead of sports now.  If you want to start a running session you open up the ‘Running’ app, not just a running sport mode.

In that same manner, this is where you’ll find 3rd party apps.  You can see how at the top of the list is the standard Open Water swim  and Triathlon functions found on all Garmin multisport devices.  Then below it I’ve got the various Connect IQ apps.

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You can download as many apps as your device has space for.  But like the early smartphone days, you can only run one ‘App’ at a time.  So you can’t run both the default Cycling app as well as a downloaded (imaginary) Strava app.  Instead, you’d have to depend on the (imaginary) Strava app to fully cover your cycling needs.

There are a number of apps that Garmin in conjunction with 3rd parties have announced this week.  I preview three of them in the following sections in more detail, but I’ve also had the chance to go hands-on with a number more.  Ones that I won’t go into as much detail on include iSki, which provides ski resort information.  And then Lifeline, which can trigger an SOS-style alert through your phone using the device.  Below are a pile of photos I took showing some of the features of those apps.

Now let’s dive into three apps in a bit more detail.

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I’ll walk through two pretty cool apps.  The first is the Octane Fitness app, SmartLink.  As a company they make some pretty advanced indoor gym equipment, including the Zero Runner (seen below).  The idea behind this machine is that it removes the pounding from your legs during running, and can be key for enabling people that may have some form of injury to still run long distances.

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The machines are used not only by those working around an injury, but also in elite runners putting in a lot of miles daily.  They were explaining how one elite running coach/group is having their runners do about 16 miles outdoors, and then coming indoors for the final 4-6 miles.  As most runners know, it’s those last handful of miles that do the most damage and prolong the recovery phase.

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What they’ve done with their Connect IQ app is to allow you to blend those two workouts together into a single file.  You’ll launch the Octane Fitness app and go for your run outdoors:

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Then using the app it’ll transition to an indoor mode where it’ll connect to the Zero Runner machine.  The Zero Runner will then transmit the pace, distance, calories, and cadence from the machine itself directly to your Garmin device.

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Even more than that, it can actually pass through heart rate data from the machine which is gathered via any number of different heart rate strap types (non-ANT+).  Pretty cool.

You can imagine now extending this same concept to other gym equipment.  So much potential.

App Examples: Moxy Muscle Oxygen Sensor:

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Next up we’ve got Moxy.  They’ve been a bit of the poster child for the Connect IQ team in terms of potential capabilities of the platform.  Moxy is the muscle oxygen sensor that allows you to monitor muscle oxygenation and related metrics.  Moxy was a good example for Garmin because while Moxy has the Muscle Oxygen ANT+ device profile, it wasn’t a sensor type that Garmin was natively supporting in their fitness devices.  But with Connect IQ, Moxy could relatively easily add support for the Garmin devices to record the information using what’s known as a generic ANT channel.  This means that apps can leverage the ANT capabilities to connect to any ANT device/sensor – including ones where no official profile exists (like Shimano Di2).

Because Moxy is running as an app, it replicates a given sport – cycling at the moment.  So they’ve added in not just the ability to connect to the Moxy ANT+ sensor but also the ANT+ power meter, ANT+ cadence sensor, and ANT+ heart rate sensor:

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Next while wearing the sensor the data will be streamed in a few different data page formats that they’ve whipped up:

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All of this data is then recorded to the .FIT file, so you can open it up later on in a 3rd party site.  Garmin Connect itself won’t show the Moxy data, but 3rd parties could support the sensor data saved in the file.  For example, SportTracks could add support for it on their site.

Now, later on in the post I’ll talk about some of the challenges that make Moxy’s life slightly more difficult, due to the architecture currently in place by Connect IQ.  Still, it’s a pretty cool app and really demonstrates how a smaller company like them can get their data onto the much more widespread wrists of many users.

App Examples: Komoot Trail Navigation App:

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Next we’ve got something that I suspect will greatly appeal to many FR920XT users that might be feeling a little bit of Fenix envy with all the navigation features found there.  The app is Komoot, which already has a phone app in the market that allows you to download thousands of hiking trails/routes to your device.  You can cache them ahead of time both on the Garmin device itself, as well as on your phone.

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The app will then give you turn by turn navigation on the trail in question, leveraging the GPS within your device:

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Pretty cool, huh?  As you can see, this is an example where I’ve included photos from different devices to show you how a given app works across the Connect IQ device lineup.  In this case you can see it working just as well on Garmin’s $250 Vivoactive as it does on the $500 Fenix3.

Getting Yourself Setup with Connect IQ:

Ok, you’ve seen the trailer and now you’re ready to try it out yourself?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to update your device (the FR920XT).  As of today (Jan 9th), the update that supports Connect IQ is still a beta update.  I suspect it won’t be long until it reaches ‘production’ status.  As with anything beta though, it’s still not final – so you might run into some bugs.

To grab the beta update, just head over here to this page and follow the instructions they give inside the file.  Pretty straight forward.

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Next, in order to configure the various Connect IQ components you’ll need to use either a computer or a phone.  As of today, the updated Garmin Connect Mobile app isn’t quite released yet.  So you’ll be using a computer for today.  But I do want to make clear that all of this will be fully configurable via just your phone shortly.

Given that, you need to ensure your Garmin Express installation is up to date to see the Connect IQ functionality.  You can access that by clicking the little settings icon at the top, and then clicking “Install Now”:

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Once you’ve got that all installed, you’ll see you’ve got a nifty new menu within Garmin Express:

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At present, this gives you two options: Watch Faces and Data Fields.  Down the road it’ll support the other capabilities, such as ‘Apps’ and ‘Widgets’.

To go ahead and add a new watch face, you’ll click ‘Manage’, which will take you to the list of watch faces you’ve downloaded.  If you’re like me, that’ll be approximately none, so it’ll look blank.  Along the bottom you’ll see the total capacity shown on your device, as well as how much space you’ve got available.

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Next, click ‘Shop Now’.  This brings you to the Garmin Connect IQ App Store, where you can pick out things to install.  Right now that just includes Data Fields and Watch Faces.

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If you click the ‘More Watch Faces’ or ‘More Data Fields’ options, it’ll go ahead and show you various ones to download.  Some of the options are pretty cool, and some of them are frankly pretty…non-useful.  But, that’s the cool part – Garmin doesn’t appear to be applying a filter regarding usefulness.

The trick will be for them to ensure they’re bubbling up the most relevant and/or interesting creations to users as part of their store.  That’s an area that Suunto had some challenges with initially (but later solved).

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You can then click on a given watch face and select ‘Send to my device’.  You’ll notice it’ll list which devices it supports.

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Once you’ve clicked that it’ll send it over to Garmin Express and it’ll show up on your device:

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You can then manage these as you need to, taking them on or off the device if you run out of space.  You can see you get 512KB right now (irrespective of how much space you actually have available on your Garmin device), and you can see this one watch face only took up 6KB of that.

And of course, going back to Data Fields, you can do the same thing there as well:

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Again, like Watch Faces, the Data Fields don’t take up much space – at least the basic ones people have put together thus far.  In the case below just 3KB for the all important ‘Beers Earned’ Data Field.

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With all that done, you’re ready to crack open your device and start using them.  To start you’ll notice that your selected watch face is immediately available on the home screen, just as-is:

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Alternatively, you can change it through the settings options:

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Meanwhile on the data fields, you’ll go ahead and select to add the data field just as you would for configuring data fields on any other data page.  So that’d be: Activity Settings > Data Screens > (Screen Name) > (Field Name) > Connect IQ.

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At which point you can select the Connect IQ field in question and add it to your layout:

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Once selecting the field it’s all set and added into your data page.  Simple as that!  Then simply start an activity as normal and just change to the training page that has the newfound data field on it.

A Few Considerations:

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Now, there are some limitations here with Connect IQ that immediately become apparent – or, will soon anyway.  Here’s what are really the three biggest ones that I see right now with Connect IQ.  Keep in mind that some of these will be resolved in time, but, they’ll still be an impact nonetheless.  And further, Garmin has been making a number of iterations in the platform already based on feedback from developers.  You can see that feedback cycle if you wander over to the Garmin Forums.

1) A data field can’t use the generic ANT channel available in Connect IQ
This is applicable for ANT+ devices that aren’t natively supported on the FR920XT (or any other Connect IQ device), such as the Moxy oxygen sensor or the Tempe.  In these cases, you can’t simply pair to the sensor like you could in a Connect IQ app and have the data show up in the data field.  Instead, a full-on Connect IQ ‘App’ has to be created to access the data.  This is a bit of a major bummer because it significantly increases the work that ANT+ sensor companies like BSX, Moxy, Stryde, and many others have to do to get their data into the FR920XT (or any other Connect IQ device)

For their part, Garmin says this is on the roadmap, but doesn’t have a specific timeframe.  Hopefully they’ll re-prioritize this a bit, as the majority of serious data will actually come via this route and making companies develop full apps just to save sensor data is a big waste of time.

2) Apps replace sport modes, they don’t supplement it
One of the challenges with the current Connect IQ Apps model is that when you launch an app, you need to think of it as a full sport mode.  So for example, if in the past you went into the ‘Swimming’ mode, you didn’t have access to the cycling power meter function.  That all makes sense of course, because you don’t need that functionality in the pool.

The challenge though is that apps are now the training modes.  So when you launch the Moxy app, it’s not within the context of cycling or running.  Rather, it’s by itself.  All functionality that you get while doing that activity has to be programmed by Moxy.  This has a very practical limitation in that you won’t get access to things like structured workouts, intervals, or even auto lap functionality. Any feature that you might have expected to access via the sport settings, Moxy would have had to replicate within their app.

For a company like Moxy, this is a solid pain in the butt (and not something they wanted to really do).  For them, they would have just rather accessed their sensor data via an ANT+ field and written it to the .FIT file.  But Connect IQ isn’t structured that way unfortunately.  Thus instead they’ve got to manually recreate all the work that Garmin has spent years doing to give the end user an equivalent experience.  Most companies won’t do that, they’ll just give you something minimal.

The end-state of this model is that when you use an app, it’s very likely you won’t get the full set of features from the Garmin watch that you’d come to expect.

3) Connect IQ apps don’t have access to Garmin Connect data
Finally, there still exists a division between Connect IQ and Garmin Connect.  Even if an app records cool data into your activity file, they can’t actually access that data afterwards wirelessly unless they pay the Garmin Connect fee ($5,000).  They can access the data if you as the user upload the .FIT file by manually copying it from your PC using the USB cable.  But they can’t access the data via any web API or service via ‘the cloud’ unless they pay the fee.  So all of the connected aspects of Garmin’s newest devices fall apart here.  And as a reminder, Garmin is the only mainstream sports technology company to charge other companies to access their user’s data.

So if you apply this to someone like BSX or Moxy, if they collect all this cool sensor data via their app, that file upon completion is sent to Garmin Connect.  But these companies can’t then easily get that file over to their own websites for analysis to see the extra data unless they pay the $5,000 fee.  The only way the 3rd party site would see the data is if the user (you) manually uploaded, via USB, the .FIT file.

And in that same vein, the user can’t see said ‘extra’ recorded data on Garmin Connect either, as unlike Suunto Movescount, it’s not shown there as new data fields on charts or graphs.  I suspect upon launch later in Q1, if Garmin Connect doesn’t display this data it’ll cause quite a bit of confusion.

My ‘Most Wanted’ Apps List:

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Now that we’ve covered just about everything, a few people have asked what I’d like to see when it comes to apps developed.  These won’t/don’t need to come from Garmin, but rather 3rd party developers.  Perhaps you.  So, here’s a handful on my ‘most wanted’ list.

1) ANT+ Weight Scale support: Ok, let me start off by being brutally honest here.  I personally don’t care about ANT+ weight scale support, I stopped using ANT+ weight scales years ago (and stopped recommending them, too).  But many of you have them, and still use them – despite Garmin otherwise not supporting them in recent devices.  But my request here is actually still self-serving.  This app would stem the non-stop questions into my inbox on when/why/how/if weight scales are supported.  The Connect IQ team added Weight Scale support as a profile, so this should be pretty straight forward.  Though, it’s unclear (to me) how or if someone could actually then get that data to Garmin Connect and show up on the Garmin Connect dashboards like the older Garmin devices did.

 

2) Tempe support: While I rarely use the Tempe temperature sensor, I know many folks are interested in it – especially on the FR920XT where it doesn’t record any temperature data.  This is also supported natively by Connect IQ as a profile, so this would should be pretty easy as well.  I’d have to expect this is a good example app for Garmin to develop (like they did for other Connect IQ pieces), since it only increase sales of their accessory products.

 

3) Interval Workout Support:  This one would be for the Vivoactive in my mind, which lacks interval workout support.  By creating an interval workout, you effectively bridge that device into being more feature-complete than it is already.

 

4) ANT+ Gym Equipment Support: This is another feature, like weight scale support, that was dropped from new devices made by Garmin in the last year or so.

 

5) A power meter recording app: Why do I want to record power meter data?  Well, because the Vivoactive doesn’t have such a capability.  By creating a straight forward app that replicated the base cycling functions and common ANT+ sensors, this would bridge the gap for many people who really like the Vivoactive’s size.

Now, I actually have two specific ‘most wanted’ features directed at the Connect IQ team themselves.  These are ones that aside from some of the changes I’ve suggested in the previous section – that I’d like to see on the Connect IQ platform:

1) Ability to use as many ANT channels as available: A device like the Garmin FR920XT would have a ANT+ capable chipset in it that allows use of up to eight ANT channels.  Each time you connect to a sensor, such as a heart rate monitor, you use up one channel.  For most people, that still leaves plenty of channels, even if you account for speed sensors, power meters, as well as Edge or VIRB remotes.  Today in Connect IQ you’re only allowed to utilize a single empty ANT channel, regardless of how many other channels are in use.  I’d like to see that opened up to just any leftover ANT channels.  The reason for this is that I’d like to be able to do power meter comparison testing, and to do that with more than two units I’d need more channels.  And power meter accurate testing with just two units is pretty boring.  Of course, after the Connect IQ team develops this, I’ll need someone to develop an app that connects to an unlimited number of ANT+ power meters.  But I’ll tackle that problem when we get there.

 

2) Enablement of Connect IQ on the Edge series of devices: While I think there’s tremendous benefits for having it on ‘wearable devices’, I think there’s actually so many better ways it can be leveraged on the Garmin Edge series.  The pure real estate size of the display is reason enough.  This would really catapult the platform, and would likely immediately pull in parties like Strava to develop a Strava app for the Edge series to include live segments directly on the device.  After all, Strava pretty much develops an app (as basic as some of them might be) for any smartwatch that anyone releases.  Plus, if you follow the factually true logic that anytime you use Garmin (Edge) & Strava in the same sentence cyclists go bananas then this is a no brainer (seriously, my biggest page views ever are when those two words are in the same title).

Of course, I recognize that the first request is probably more me-specific, but based on the number of enquiries I get from around the industry, academics, and teams on how to do testing, I think there’s probably many multi-sensor scenarios out there under a rock that could be uncovered.

Wrap-up:

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Phew, this post ended up being about 10 times longer than I originally envisioned.  Once we see full blown apps released later in Q1 I’ll probably revisit things and take a look at what’s come out since then as well as the other apps that companies are working on that aren’t yet announced (yes, there are some).  Sound good?  Good.

In the meantime, feel free to drop any questions below.  Note that for development/SDK related questions and support, it’s probably better to use Garmin’s sub-forum for Connect IQ development support, since they’ve got a bunch of folks there to answer coding questions and the like.

Thanks for reading!

Welcome to CES 2015! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as a slew of updates only seen on Twitter.  It’s been a crazy busy week!

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259 Comments

  1. ukexpat

    “Fourty”? I hope they fix that before production…

  2. Drew W

    All very cool tech. Are there any formatting issues that you see with the different shape watch faces such as the 920 square face vs the Fenix3 round face? Are apps written that way? I would hate for a great app to come out for the 920, but it does not translate well to the Fenix3 because the corners are all cut off.

    • Matt

      Apps need to be designed and compiled specifically for each device, which also implies to accommodate its screen size. There are are also some functions to render text in predefined sizes like large/medium/small, so there might be a small chance here that an app/data field is tested with one of these font sizes on one device, but might not render perfectly on another.

    • Eli

      The 920, vivoactive, and epix are all 205 x 148 pixels while the fenix 3 is 218 x 218 pixels so at least 3 have the same screen size to target. The other hard part with UI interaction is the 920 is the only one without a touch screen.

      Kind of funny that the cheapest and the most expensive are the ones that would support the same UI.

    • Eli

      I was wrong. Based on the SDK 920 and fenix 3 are not touch (also 16 color display) while vivoactive and epix are touch (and 64 color display). Vivoactive only has buttons for Back and Menu while the other three have buttons for Up, Down, Enter, Back, and Menu.

      So looks like the epix can easily run 920 and vivoactive apps in that its a superset of both.

    • Jay

      Wow I hadn’t noticed the 16 vs 64 color display between those models. Going to have to reevaluate now. :)

    • Jay

      Actually where can I see more detailed info about the screens? All I see is [nothing] or [transflective MIP color].

    • Eli

      The epix kind of needs it for displaying maps but not sure how much it impacts the watches for other purposes. In some ways the watch is really just black and white with color for highlighting. Do wonder if there is any advantage to the 16 color display over 64, guessing lower power usage and sun light visibility. (Full color displays cell phones use are much higher drain)

    • Eli

      Connect IQ User Experience Guide.pdf in the SDK

  3. Phellan

    This is a really cool feature so far. But do you know Ray if Polar is planning to do something similar?
    Since I like hiking and trail very much, the lack of an advanced navigation mode and a few more things makes the V800 almost useless. You have already mentioned on other posts that Polar was considering letting 3rd parties support on the near feature. Since the V800 is firmware updatable may be a Polar IQ is possible, the hardware is there.
    Did they told you something in this CES??? That komoot app is a killer for me and if polar finally decides to do such a thing I wouldn’t consider buying a Fenix3 for that.

    • At this point the only thing Polar has discussed is 3rd party support on their web platform, Flow.

      I don’t know if the hardware they have today would support things to anywhere near the extend the new Garmin hardware is capable of.

    • Phellan

      As far as technical data has been provided the V800 has that possibility, is just the software that needs to be developped. polar just has to make an compatible sdk and release it, but as always Polar is really reluctant to let others use their own technology.

    • Markus

      The komoot app is live on Android Wear so far link to youtube.com
      Will also be on AppleWatch soon.

  4. Stephen

    A few ideas…..

    1) An app to bridge ANT+ data to a Bluetooth device. This way trainer road, or other software/apps, could use the data.
    2) stop watch and/ or countdown timer
    3) watch face that has the perimeter lined with dots. As you take more steps Pac-Man eats his way around the outside. I get skinny, Pac-Man gets fat!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    So today we have Connect Lo-IQ SDK (see: app/channel restrictions.) Here’s hoping Garmin is already hard at work on the Connect Hi-IQ version.

    Maybe it was too much to hope for actual 3rd party sensor integration (e.g. Moxi) directly into the existing apps/sports modes. With any luck we’ll get that with Connect IQ v2.0 on a FR930XT in two/three years. As it stands, Connect IQ turned out to be underwhelming.

    • They noted to me that they do plan that devices would get updates for Connect IQ, just as they are alteady today. I pressed for a duration from releare timeframe, but didnt get any commitment.

  6. Trent

    It all seems like a duplication of effort for developers, which means less apps and reduced quality. I’d rather see Garmin launch a watch with Android wear, that could leverage wear apps- this would also make it easier for specialist sports wear companies to create apps that would support many more devices. How many developers can Garmin lure into their walled garden (and keep them there to update their apps)?

    • Phellan

      Android based?? No thank you. Though is a really extended platform as an OS, is really hardware hungry, so a propietary OS is a much better idea if it is done correctly (no java).

  7. Joe

    That makes my decision whether to upgrade my 910XT or not for me now – don’t.

    Those restrictions eliminate anything I would actually care about using Connect IQ for, and as someone already commented, who knows if they’ll be lifted on the current generation of hardware.

  8. Matt

    I could only get connect iq to work on my windows pc and not on my mac. If anyone else has the issue where the store shows an error. Leave garmin express open and go to link to apps.garmin.com in your browser from there you can send the apps to your watch. You won’t be able to manage the watch faces/data fields on your mac though. Garmin express will still give you an error but everything will work on the watch.

    • Mark A.

      Matt, it says the beta is only available for pc…that’s why it won’t work on your mac

    • RickNP

      I can get the apps to my 920 through Express on my Mac running Yosemite, but can’t use the “Manage” feature at all. Occasionally getting the apps to the watch takes two tries. Once to load them into the queue to send, then remove them entirely using connect.garmin.com., then send them again and they take. No ability to “manage,” though. I have Win7 as a VM so I’ll probably install Express there.

  9. Mark A.

    No mac version of the beta, huh?

  10. Gabe

    so far not working that well

    I suppose we shouldn’t expect any impressive apps until big devs that work with apple/android

    Yet still the garmin ui wouldn’t allow for such functionality imo

  11. Michael Martinez

    Just curious why an app developer for Android/iOS would want to make an app for this? “Garmin says they have no plans to introduce a monetization.” That leaves the big companies with web based services and/or stand alone software that already exists (and I guess, hobby developers). Couple that to the insane sandboxing of ANT data, no way to complement/enhance the modes built into the watch, and this thing smells like a dud.

    If you already make an app for Android and iOS, you know that supporting two platforms is really, really difficult (especially with Android). Supporting another platform for free is not likely to get a bunch of independent devs to commit with virtually no chance of reward, short of making another web based activity site a la Endomondo, Strava, Runkeeper, Smashrun, etc., etc.

    If Suunto, TomTom, Polar or any other sport watch manufacturer wants to eat Garmin for lunch, now is the time to marry their hardware to Android. iOS is a walled garden and we are not likely to see iOS running on non-apple hardware. However, Android wear could be massive for sport specific watches if the right hardware maker got on board.

    • I do agree on monetization. I think that’s a mistake to not offer a way to sell apps.

      That said, I’m actually not as worried about some of the current platform v1 shortcomings as some commenters. I think that’ll get resolved relatively quickly. Further, Garmin has done quite a bit already in changing the SDK through the preview iterations (I suspect 3rd party developers would agree there), based on feedback from developers.

    • I saw the monetisation as coming through an accompanying smartphone app (for example something that provided better config and customisation of what is shown on the watch) or web service – not strava or TP but perhaps a subscription to effectively an API that does some extra work, maybe a weather service that provides live weather data along a gpx and offers re-routing around it (keep the wind behind me :)

    • Stepan

      I just imagined my 920xt leading me far far away from home because of the headwind risk on the way back 😀

    • MattB

      .. Or a notification popping up while you are wondering where the heck you are…”pay £1.99 to be directed home”.

    • John

      Yeah, I can’t wait for IAP to buy additional maps (for example) when I happen to wander into the next county. 😉

      I suspect the real monetization will occur at the subscription level. i.e. Strava could come out with a “free” Connect IQ app for their Premium level memberships. It would certainly make for a better revenue stream from a business model standpoint.

    • Michael Martinez

      Ultimately Garmin should ask the question; What incentivizes developers to make apps for our platform? Maybe you can answer that. The Suunto app zone is actually a decent way to learn some basics about programming and see it work. Its crazy easy to make an app and deploy it to your device. It reminded me of when I was learning Java and Python with print statements.

      v1, v2, or v3 doesn’t matter… The fact that Garmin developed a specific SDK to kick things off is non-long-term thinking. An Android wear or iOS watch with a dedicated GPS sensor, bluetooth and decent water resistance will significantly eat into Garmin, Suunto, Polar and other manufacturers market share, unless they wise up.

      What are some of the biggest selling points of current watches? Mobile connectivity, bluetooth, etc. When LG, Samsung, Motorola, Apple and others figure out the super basic formula (GPS, BT, WR, Battery) all they have to do is marry it to the ecosystem they already know or own. Developers will sign up in DROVES to make sport specific applications!

      This is the Garmin nuvi or the equivalent of dash mounted, driving specific GPS units. These watches are not going to be “needed” in a year or two as the Android and iOS ecosystems take over. Its all about the software!

    • Eli

      Have full sized phones eaten away at the full size GPS market yet? No? But phones have existed for awhile now. In the very long term android and ios may will, but that will be many years from now

    • Michael Martinez

      Eli – Yes phones have eaten away at full sized GPS market share. The point is Garmin has made these same mistakes… again, and again… market after market. The Garminfone… overpriced for what it did in its time (2010), full of bugs (sound familiar?). If they iterated/pivoted it may have been a winner. Failing to recognize that smartphones could replace handheld/dash mounted GPS units for “most, almost all” use cases was and is a major fail. Read the article linked below…

      Now, they fail to recognize that “smartphones” are coming for users wrists as well. The “majority” of potential customers will leverage what they already have invested in, which is Android and iOS with well over a billion active (monthly) users. I have Ant+ on my Galaxy Note 3 FWIW…

      Garmin has the hardware… they could remain relevant by leveraging the ecosystems that already exist. Instead, they create 15 watches that do one or two things well inside tightly controlled and expensive sandboxes. All the while LG, Moto, Apple, and Samsung iterate “smart” watches that will do it all.

      Please Read this: link to technologyreview.com

    • maciek

      yes they did. not only that, smartphones eaten away point and shot cameras. michael Martinez is right + sport active ppl are minority. no one i know has ambit/polar/garmin sport watch, and i know a lot of active ppl. a the sime time couple ppl i know own smart watch. and all smart watches now is a joke. combine smart watch features with sport watch and you got a winner.

    • Andreas

      I so agree with this. Here I am with my new fenix 3 ready to develop tons of new sports apps that I have som great ideas for but its not very motivating. Ive been programming for 15 years but the learning curve here is massive. Strange SDK, new made up monkey language, no open source examples. And as already mentioned – no way to make some coin on the effort to put in.

      Apple watch is released next week. And no it doesn’t have GPS nor is it useful without an iphone. But mark my words, apple already knows this. Im 100% sure they are already working on version 2 and 3 of their watch. And the key thing for them to be successful is just the fact that when its released next week a whole plethora of developers are ready to dig in, many of them already are because the sdks are out and that will beat garmin in sight if they don’t attract developers. The iphone wouldn’t be anything without all the developers. Also the simple fact that you can customize the device with your own watch band will make a giant industry of 3rd party watch bands. Garmin needs many devices that runs the same platform and the same apps and they need it now. Im thinking about scratching my app ideas for the F3 and just do them for apple watch instead because there i can make some money but sure I’m not going to replace the first version for my garmin but in the future, who knows… I’m pretty sure strava, run keeper and endomondo are eager to make up for competition for watch software, they are already good at software. Garmin is good on hardware and the hardware is useless without good software.

  12. Yancey

    An app that can provide pacing queues and realtime feedback based on a pre-calculated (best bike split) plan. The app could queue off lap distance or GPS data. Provide power-over-under guide. Delta from expected time. Motivational messages. Re-optimisation on the fly might be too computational intensive.

  13. Peter

    So, if I understand, when running with Komoot navigation I can’t see common data fields as pace, laps etc? Additionally, is it recording activity to FIT file when in navigation for Garmin Connect upload?

    • Michael

      That is a very interesting question. If there is no Fit-file with the record of the trip that I can upload to Garmin connect I do not see the point of using a third party app… ???

    • Ty

      Great question!! I would like to know as well.

    • It would be up to the app to actually record all that information (as well as the data fields). That’s part of the challenge, in that the apps have to essentially re-write the base functionality.

  14. Ben Pine

    Hi Ray, thanks for the update and interesting news from CES.
    Could Connect be used to control music on your phone? One of your first pics is an Epix (?) with a note symbol which got me wondering. That would be cool.
    Thanks again
    Ben

  15. Joe

    Hey Ray, great writeup. I see there is a music control screen in the first picture. Can you tell us more? Will it control music via Bluetooth on phones?

  16. Mark Liversedge

    Absolutely gobsmacked no monetization, why the hell would a developer work for free?

    I write free software and genuinely thought Connect-IQ would be a neat little earner, write some cool metrics and charge a few cents per hit, might make enough to pay for my PC8 .. if they ever ship !

    Big mistake.

    • Martin T

      Agreed, that combined with the duplication issue is a deal breaker imo. As has been stipulated above, I think Garmin are in a precarious position right now with this iteration of the software until they address fundamental issues that possibly should have been addressed before release, the duplication “feature” is just plain crazy.

    • Ian

      But how would you charge “a few pence per hit” without a service backing it up which you can monitise anyway?

    • Tom Taco

      I think you are looking at this wrong. I thought the same thing, but you have to think differently. if you had a hardware device, you might develop an app to go along with that device that is specific to that device. That’s how you might make money.

      It’s funny software people expect others to work for free all the time.

    • Mark Liversedge

      That makes no sense. ANT+ is a standard for devices to enable interoperability with headunits etc. If you have a device and it doesn’t have an ANT+ profile then its pretty crappy if the only way you can use it is via a Garmin headunit and a special app.

      No, Connect IQ is a software platform on a wearable (sports) device.

    • Eli

      Ever hear of apps that need to be activated? The app itself may be free but it needs a one time activation by going through the phone to set a setting that is stored on the watch to show the app has been paid for.

  17. EricD

    looks a lot like Pebble on steroids. The ANT+ is really cool, but what the wahoo reflkt does (bridging ANT-BT) is lacking here. Any idea on battery life, or did I miss that?

  18. Some valid concerns about the Connect IQ platform, though I do hope Garmin sort them out. As for the apps I’d like to see:

    1. A cadence training app: the metronome feature takes too many button pushes to mute/restart and adjust. That’s frustrating with short & fast intervals. Also, combining cadence with stride length data would be brilliant.

    2. Multiple power meter pairing. Not just for the people who own a few power meters, but anyone riding on a combination of a direct force measuring unit and ‘virtual power’ based on a turbo trainers resistance curve. A bit more precision training helps.

    Thanks Ray

  19. MH

    Could I record a fit file with data from 2 ant+ devices that have the same device profile? i.e. 2 footpods, for kickbiking.

  20. gingerneil

    Great summary. I’ve been quite excited about IQ, without really knowing anything about it! I am a satisfied 220 owning runner, and have no reason for a 920 or F3 (altho I love the look of the fenix, I cant justify the cost). I’ve run a 5hr ultra, but don’t plan on stressing the 10hr battery life of the 220!
    It’s really interesting to see that this is supported on the vivoactive. Once this is up and running, do you see the vivoactive replacing the 220? In your vivoactive post, and above, you comment that it won’t do intervals – but with this it will. Do you see any hardware limitations on the vivoactive that will mean it continues to lag behind the 220, despite IQ support? I like the look of the vivoactive, and if it does everything the 220 can, could see myself swapping over. Especially with the flexibility of iq.

  21. BWinter

    As you wrote “Connect IQ apps don’t have access to Garmin Connect data”
    Can an app not just send all the data from the app itself to their own internet server?
    As i understand apps have access to internet, uploading data from the watch on user request (afterward) could be done.
    This off course can lead to paid subscriptions for extra data analyzes, but the apps remain free (only a little bit less usefull (afterward) if you don’t pay.

  22. Peter K

    Very interesting write up as ever, thanks Ray. I had no idea that other ANT+ devices would not be able to connect to a simple data field- I’m sure this will produce lots of discussion over on the forums as well and hopefully reprioritise the Connect IQ team to look at this.

    If I’m reading the above right even if Garmin made their own ‘TEMPE app’ they would need to make separate, ‘TEMPE and cycling’, ‘TEMPE and running’, ‘TEMPE and skiing’ ect etc apps to let you record temperature and use the watch as normal?!

    This seems crazy!!

    • Gunnar

      Yep, my question too on Tempe and apps. Seems crazy if that is the case.

    • ekutter

      As Ray says, this is very limiting to non supported sensors, which is really where this new technology could shine. Hard to believe any developer would create an entire running and/or biking app with the functionality of the built in ones, just to add temperature. This seems like such an obvious/important omission that they will need to add the functionality. Not just for the Tempe, but for allowing ANT+ device access from simple data fields.

      I wonder if there are technical issues at this point they are having a hard time overcoming.

    • Eli

      From the SDK: The ANT Generic interface is not available to watch faces, widgets, or data fields.

      That really sucks. Ant is low power so should have minor impact on battery life if someone uses Ant. Also appears as though an App is the only thing that can write to the FIT file directly. So that would need to change too if you wanted to save the temp data from the tempe sensor to the fit file.

      One other limit is there is no access to the raw ant+ data. This can be useful in making things simpler, but also limits the ability to fully utilize it. For example if you wanted to do HRV analysis you would need an app and create a raw ant channel.

  23. Dave

    Are the edge devices available today hardware capable of having connectiq support? In other words is it just a matter of them releasing firmware support?

  24. MattB

    Does the common operating system between these watches and future devices now streamline the development of Garmin’s own apps (ie running, cycling etc) to be hardware agnostic or do they have to replicate that work per device as they do now? Sounds very much like the latter, which seems like they missed the chance to reduce their own workload.

    It’s very disappointing to hear that CIQ is one app at a time at the moment, it sound like a great idea somewhat hamstrung by arriving a hardware generation too early. Still, I guess that is better than not arriving at all!

  25. neil rosson

    “Apps replace sport modes” this is the biggest fail for me.

  26. Just curious, why did you stop using and recommending ANT+ scales? Do you use any type of connected scale, like the Withings or FitBit?

    • MattB

      If I recall correctly from the ‘What I use” gear list he uses both, and recommends Wifi scales rather than ANT+ because they are simpler to get the data from.

  27. Jon Niehof

    Yeah, I’m afraid the apps having to code up the entire sport from scratch is going to be a killer, since both of the things I’d like to see are simple but require button presses, thus probably not data fields. I’d like to see: 1) a “gel” button to mark when I eat. Yes, I could use lap, but a lap is a section of the activity that I like to see summary metrics for; eating is a point in time. I don’t always eat at a turnaround point or the top of a hill. 2) an RPE data field, where a number is being continuously recorded and I can press an up/down arrow to change it. This would let me correlate pace, HR, power with RPE, both over a workout and over time. Otherwise I have to remember post-workout “oh, I sorta felt like this at that time.”

  28. Will

    I didn’t see you mention this in the post but are there any limitations to which widgets/apps can be used on the 920xt vs the newer devices announced at CES? Such as, is the 920xt able to use the Accuweather or Tempo apps? I already noticed my 920xt has only about 8mb of storage, which is limits the size of the apps that can be stored.

  29. Peter

    Any idea when (if?) beta (or production) Connect IQ will be supported in Mac OS rather than just pc?

    • Paul S

      They certainly have an SDK for OS X. I’ve downloaded it. The latest was released just this week (connectiq-sdk-mac-1.0.0.zip on Jan 5). You need to have Java installed, but otherwise it’s supposed to work. I’ve never used it myself; I just downloaded it to get some idea of how it works.

  30. Jay Brewer

    Given this article and your preview article for the Fenix3 and Vivoactive the one thing I’m not clear on is this:

    1. I have a Garmin 810 speed and cadence sensor on my bike, along with the heart rate monitor strap that I wear when I cycle.

    2. Can I simply not bring the 810 and use the Fenix3 and/or the Vivoactive and capture the same data using ANT+ (that’s what the garmin sensors are right?)

    3. Along with the capture of the data – I can also use the various apps to supplement on the watch?

    4. In the end I’d like to get one of these watches so I only have to bring it and not my iPhone as well in bad conditions or just first thing in the morning. My watch would be on – I could skip bringing the 810 and the iPhone and just capture the ride and data.

    5. If I want to use the map and route I’d bring the 810 and the iPhone on longer rides to supplement etc.

  31. Tom Taco

    My question…and I think I know the answer, Is the running mode that ships with the vivoactive just a garmin created app?

  32. David

    Would Garmin have a problem with the independent development of a base multi-sport app framework? If we all could all get together and work on the code for a single open source app then we won’t all have to keep reinventing the wheel for our independent apps and then who cares that Garmin won’t give us full resource access on data fields in their official Garmin apps. It would definitely take some doing to replicate all of the “normal” functionally but if we do it together, and someone better than me tackles the swimming modes, we’ll all benifite… And maybe, finally, we’ll stop getting annoyed with not having HR as even an option for certain sports (2.4 GHz in water blah blah blah, unrelieable optical wrist based blah blah blah).

    GitHub for Garmin IQ anyone?

  33. Peter

    support for the all edge series devices…….

    My vote it in..

    Please Garmin

  34. Josh Parks

    Ray
    Great work as usual.

    Completely dumbfounded as to why the Edge 1000 hasn’t been included. Is it really processing power? I love my 920 but I can’t agree more that this would be great on the larger 1000. And I would even exchange the functionality of the 920 message notifications (works well evey time) for what passes for it on the 1000 (more miss than hits)

    Most importantly very clever to let others access their hardware. Stick to what they do best and let others innovate.

    Can’t wait for live Strava on my Edge even if only based on my own downloaded times.

    • They aren’t saying never, they’re just saying what their focusing on for the first piece. Which, is understandable since you have to start somewhere. I suspect we’ll see it…

  35. Pfefferdude

    Ray, did you see Suunto at CES? It looks like Gamin has left them behind. How sad is that. Thanks for your replay

  36. Chris Elam

    2) Apps replace sport modes, they don’t supplement it

    There’s a simple solution for this, possibly. Assuming the built-in Garmin “apps” (swimming, cycling, running, etc.) are built in the same way and in the same programming language as 3rd parties would make apps, Garmin could simply release the source to their apps. That way if Moxy, for example, wanted to add their sensor to all three of those “apps” they wouldn’t have to start from scratch, but simply add their functionality.

    The built-in apps would also serve as fantastic examples for outside devs.

    • Paul S

      They should do that, but it’s Garmin. They won’t.

      They should open source Express (that’ll end complaints by Linux users) and VIRB Edit (so I can fix the track/video lineup problems I have in OS X). But they won’t do that, either.

    • Ian

      Or just make the functionality available through an API. That way they keep the IP but others don’t have to duplicate functionality (just UI – which would be something you would probably want to keep in your branded app control anyway).

      For things in between you can use the other options of data fields, and widgets and clock faces.

      Personally I think it is a good start from Garmin that will evolve but certainly seems way ahead of the competition. Apple and Google will have a stronger developer story out of the box, but for the detailed sports functionality they both have someway to go yet.

  37. Bob

    No serious developers are going anywhere near this.

    1. Garmin has a history of not being developer friendly. Charging developers $5,000 to access Garmin Connect data with no promise to not charge additional fees in the future.

    2. Garmin fired their entire web development team a few years ago because they didn’t deem it a valuable part of their strategy.

    3. No ability to monetize apps.

    4. Who here has spent time debugging Garmin developer tools. Has anyone else had the luxury of debugging the horrible mess that is the Garmin Communicator Plugin?

    5. New language to learn that can only be used on a super specific set of devices.

    6. Slow development. I believe it took Garmin over eight years to release an official API for Garmin Connect.

    7. Android wear, iOS watchKit, Microsoft Health. You have three great alternatives that all will most likely fair better than Garmin’s app ecosystem.

    8. Losing market share. Garmin still may be the top player for tracking GPS activities in the fitness space. Even if that continues for the next few years, they’ll be taking home a smaller piece every year due to growing number of competitors.

    • Ian

      Bob – could you provide some resources about what you are saying here, otherwise it looks pretty superficial.

      On the surface of it I’d respond as follows but would be interested in more detail from you to counter any of my points.
      1 – didn’t MS do this with Xbox Dev originally, and with the Surface table thing. Not that that validates it but I don’t think it is necessarily a bad strategy and could be seen as a way of keeping controll initially so quality is manageable.
      2 – though it’s pretty central to them now right?
      3. There clearly are ways to monetise – see other comments and the Garmin SDK docs
      4 – not me – but as a user it was horrible. Maybe that’s what cause point 2 ?
      5 – yes but not exactly different from many other languages most secs will know
      6 – could be – but again they seem to be developing quickly at the moment judging by recent releases both software and hardware
      7 – agreed – but it is the garmin hardware and fitness market position that is hard for anyone to shift.
      8 – guess we will have to wait and see on this one – is there any evidence of this currently?

      Cheers

      Ian

    • Bob

      1. I’ve worked with many APIs in my career, and I’ve never seen a strategy like the one Garmin implemented. Typically there is rate limiting or charge based on the number of requests. A one time fee of $5,000 only limits the number of people developing on your ecosystem to a select few. They’re competing against products with completely open APIs. We know that Garmin customers want to use their data on a variety of sites and in a variety of manners. Yet, Garmin is dead set in locking them into their ecosystem. Have you seen the rating for the Garmin Connect iOS app? It’s atrocious.

      2. I think they were forced into this position. With that said, I doubt they hire the top talent in Kansas. I also doubt their leadership has really given full support to their software teams. They’ve always been completely focused on hardware – to a fault.

      3. Their suggestions to monetize are by forcing it on the developer. They’re essentially punting on it. One of keys for any app ecosystem is to natively provide developers a way to accept payment for their apps. They’re not doing this.

      4. Two separate teams. They fired the Garmin Connect team and the people working on the Garmin Connect API.

      5. All languages are similar, but it’s also another hoop to jump through. I looked through the SDK and it’s filled with inside jokes and sparse code examples. If they were serious, they’d get as much code as possible on github. Also, like I mentioned, due to its specificity, there is a strong possibility of spending time learning a language that you’ll never use again.

      6. This may be true, but historically they’ve had issues. Also, the three other health based platforms that I mentioned will have at least 100x the support from both in-house developers, open-source developers, qa teams, code examples through github, and generally people committed to making it better.

      7. 8. At one point Garmin was one of the only makers of GPS fitness devices. This year, new devices and new device companies have exploded. There are even kickstarted GPS devices. The competition is there. It may not trump Garmin right away, but It definitely will remove market share from them as the market grows more segmented. I don’t have any specific sales numbers, but I monitor the market fairly closely, and I’ve seen a lot of interest in many of the alternatives.

    • Ian

      Thanks Bob – I agree with a lot of your points. The bottom line is really the last one I guess – how far that momentum Garnin have can be moved by better software Dev from others.

      It’s striking to me how cyclists and runners talk about Garnin in the same was as people say Hoover when they mean vacuum cleaner. And how embedded that is in pro sport.

      I think Apple could smash that apart more than Google/Samsung could but Apple are not really in the serious athletes market with their watch yet (and may never be).

      So even with their many faults (and I have certainly been critical of many of their releases and software quality) I still feel that Garnin will continue to be dominant in sports tracking for some time to come, and I actually think they are improving significantly with the new devices and this development platform, but that’s obviously just from my viewpoint.

      Anyway let’s see what happens in the coming months…

      Cheers

      Ian

    • Bob

      I thought the same thing about Timex many years ago.

      The battle will be won with software. Garmin is only recently coming to that conclusion. I think it’s too little too late.

      This release looks amateur at best. I have no idea how they’re going to compete. Why buy a “serious fitness” device, when you have an iWatch that you wear all the time that does everything for you anyways.

    • Paul S

      Because I want a serious fitness device? Which the iWatch isn’t. I’m not going to be wearing an iWatch any time soon, especially all the time. It’d die of sweat.

    • Ian

      I almost certainly will get an Apple watch – but it ain’t going to be much use in the pool or during a triathlon – not in the first iteration. For running maybe, since I usually have my phone anyway; cycling no because my bike has Ant+ power sensors.

      So I think my Garmin will not be on eBay for a while. And the new Fenix 3 looks better than the Apple watch in terms of aesthetics IMO so I may end up using that as a day to day watch anyway. Time will tell.

    • Bob

      I don’t think the iWatch is the final iteration that will trump a traditional sports watch, but eventually it will. Why will it matter if what your wear on your wrist has software that makes it perform exactly like your Garmin, but also does everything else. Why have two watches that have 90% of the same hardware.

    • Paul S

      I don’t know about that. I’ve seen no real indication that Apple wants into the serious sports watch category. We’ll see.

      For now, no GPS, no ANT+, non starter for me.

    • Bob

      I totally agree with you on the GPS. That’s the big fault of the current iWatch. I hope that some third party provides a GPS band/clip that will pair with the watch. If not, it may take the next iteration of the iWatch to compete with Garmin, or there are Android Wear devices that currently have a GPS. ANT+ is a dying proprietary technology that will be replaced with BLE.

      Apple just provides the blank slate. It’s up to developers to take the watch and make it into a fitness device. I don’t think anyone speculated that on the release of the iPhone that it would be used by millions of people as a workout device, but it undeniably is the most popular workout device on the market – more popular than all Garmin devices combined.

    • Ian

      And not waterproof either … That’s more like 60% of the same hardware, probably less.

      Remember that Apple make stuff for the multitude – triathletes aren’t that. The Apple Watch ( not iWatch Bob) will be a success but I don’t think it is targeted at athletes now and I’m not sure it ever will be.

    • Paul S

      Which a majority of current existing fitness sensors currently use. And BLE currently has a huge disadvantage over ANT+, namely the master/slave relationship. So your action camera can not pair with the same sensor as your other devices. No more cameras like the VIRB Elite, unless it includes a BLE rebroadcaster. So I really don’t see BLE taking over from ANT+ anytime soon. Maybe eventually. When Garmin starts producing dual ANT+/BLE sensors, and BLE fixes the master/slave stuff is about the time the transition will occur.

      As for whether developers can make it into a real sports watch, that all depends. If it’s not waterproof, then no, they can’t. Apple controls that.

    • Bob

      Not waterproof – yet.

      The hardware for Android Wear and Apple Watch are technically superior to anything Garmin has released. You can look at the technical specs, but that’s pretty easy to see just by taking them for a test drive. The only hardware advantage may be in the sensor that they provide, but, with that said, those additional sensors could easily be provided by a third party and synced with an apple watch.

      Like I said previous statements, iPhone wasn’t meant for athletes, but it’s used by more athletes than any Garmin device. Many of the iOS and Android apps for athletes provide comparable training data to the best Garmin device.

    • Bob

      ANT+ is garmin owned protocol. So, as fitness devices become more segmented, I think you’ll see less and less adoption by other fitness companies – like shimano. It’s simply a safer bet to use an open standard like BLE. When you have a master – like a smart watch, the need for sensors to talk to each other directly doesn’t seem to be that important.

      Apple also has made significant investments in shell of the watch. I think it’s the first time they’re offering a variety of forms for a single product. I wouldn’t be surprised if they soonishly released a waterproof shell.

    • Paul S

      And yet with the superior technology, at least for now, Apple Watch is simply an appendage of an iPhone. My 2 year old Fenix can do the things I need it to do now. An Apple Watch couldn’t. (If you’ve taken an Apple Watch for a test drive, you’re pretty lucky :-)) Lose cellular service (I live somewhere where I can easily do that), and what can an Apple Watch do?

      My daughter wants an Apple Watch, so I’ll get to see one when they come out. (She wants a gold one. She’s not getting that.) Me, I’m getting an Epix.

    • Ian

      “those additional sensors could easily be provided by a third party and synced with an apple watch”

      That’s quite funny / I guess I’ll be able to spot you at the next tri with all those third party sensors strapped around your body and your Apple Watch in a waterproof bag!

      Anyway Im ducking out of this discussion now because I think we are reaching diminishing returns. Thanks for your input.

      Ian

    • Bob

      Lol, isn’t that how everyone looks anyways.

      I got out of triathlons years ago for that very reason. It’s a bit of a gear war. I follow technology and develop for technology, but I don’t use it myself. I actually don’t run with anything besides a pair of shoes and shorts 😉

    • Paul S

      Bob, you should read some of Ray’s reviews of devices that use BLE to connect to sensors. It sounds like “standard” isn’t a word that should be used in the same sentence as BLE :-).

    • Bob

      I agree with you. Bluetooth is a mess.

      but, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Amazon returns 800,000 bluetooth products. 400 for ANT+.

      We’re currently going through the really early stages of IOT. Hopefully we’ll learn some things and the spec for bluetooth will get better. But, it gives me confidence to know the spec is worked on by a committee from many different organizations, not a single entity like ANT+.

    • Paul S

      Yeah, sure, keyboards, mice, headsets… I have six or seven Bluetooth enabled devices within 5 feet of me at the moment. How many of those Bluetooth devices are fitness sensors?

    • Michael Martinez

      You won’t need a serious fitness device in a year or two. Similar to the Garmin Nuvi, a serious device isn’t needed if you have a device that can do that and a gajillion other functions.

    • zitaSport

      Read about Bluetooth 4.2

    • I’ll just briefly jump in having watched folks go back and forth all day. The numbers below don’t correspond to anything, just points of interest.

      1) The lead of the Connect IQ program is fresh blood to Garmin. He came from outside the company just this past summer. In many hours of discussion with him this week, I really do think he ‘gets it’. By the same token his ability to boil the ocean internally will take more than one day. For now he’s boiled a few ponds and small lakes.

      2) The Apple Watch as it stands in Gen1 is not a competitor to Garmin. Yes, it will cut into some sales, but only at the very low end. It lacks GPS, shower-proofing (any waterproofing at all), and has the battery life of only a day. And will of course require an Apple iOS device.

      3) The Apple Watch in Gen2 is what Garmin needs to worry about. For that, they’d have at least another year from March or so. Make no mistake though, Apple will get it right.

      4) Connect IQ isn’t final, it’s designed like other platforms to be evolving. The noted these concerns to the Connect IQ team to this week, and they in turn noted that they were keenly aware of ways to improve the platform. We’ve seen that already in the last the months already. The simple reality is that it won’t all happen in one day, just like other API’s/SDK’s weren’t built in a day for Apple or Android.

      5) I think Garmin – as a company – is fully onboard with how important Connect IQ is to their survival long term. Of all the folks I talked to this week, every single person noted the importance of it as a platform. To that end, I expect you’ll continue to get them see the resources they need to make things happen.

      6) Garmin has readily admitted to me that the past firing of the Garmin Connect team (or rather, ultimative giving) is one of their biggest mistakes (if not the biggest). I’d say they’ve come a long ways since then in understanding how important software is. The fact that there is Connect IQ at all is evidence of that.

      Ok…back to celebrating the Seahawks win…

    • Paul S

      How long do you think the “activity tracker” fad is going to last? By Apple Watch gen 2, the fad may be dying and for Apple to produce a sports watch will take a little more effort. I’ve never been convinced that that’s what they want, since the market just isn’t that large, although of course they could easily do it. They did hire some real experts for the built in optical/IR HR from what I heard, and they claim that their accelerometer is doing more than just step counting, so it’s certainly possible. All the rest would be easy for them, but I don’t know if they will actually do it. The screen will certainly be better than 64 colors; even gen 1 has a “retina” display.

    • Eli

      retina display has nothing to do with number of colors, its just about DPI. As to number of colors, what makes you think more then 64 colors is better? Sure if it didn’t impact anything else it would be, but it does. Apple may be thought of as putting out “magical” devices but they are still using the same technology as everyone else. High color displays use up way more power. There is also the fact that they are much harder to read in direct sunlight. Try turning the backlight to minimum on an iphone and hold that next to a garmin 920 with the backlight off in direct sunlight. Which do you think is readable?

    • ekutter

      Paul, from what I see around me, the activity tracker functionality is growing quickly, both among the couch potato and the real athlete. People at both ends are surprising me. I can see where it is a stand alone device people get bored with it after a few months. When it is in the watch you are wearing anyways, and don’t have to think about wearing it, I don’t see it going away. I would expect it to always have a much bigger market than an actual fitness device. Add that to the smart watch functionality like messages and it is here to stay.

    • Ian

      Also been surprised how motivational it is, and how many couples seem to be competing against each other in terms of steps done in a day :)

    • Paul S

      Well, yeah, it all strikes me as a fad, so I’d expect that people are enthused for now. But for how long? Surely at some point people will realize that most activities aren’t measured in “steps”, and that accelerometer based activity trackers can’t and don’t measure anything actualy interesting unless they have support for extra sensors. The 45 minutes I put in on the rollers this morning (damn I wish it would snow) can’t be measured in steps, and is probably the lions share of the extra calories I burn today (I’ll spend about an hour in total outside walking the dog, but that’s about it). The “steps” I get on my iPhone 5c (I finally gave in to the Withings app) from a mountain bike ride are funny more than anything else; most of them occur during descents, where I’m not working hard at all.

    • Wasn’t it more stupid than just firing their web team? The story I remember reading is that Garmin decided it would close its San Francisco office to centralise development in Kansas. It gave its Connect development team – who had been acqui-hired via a San Fran startup – an ultimatum to move, but instead they pretty much quit en masse. After all, how many San Fran software devs want to ship out to Kansas?

      DC Rainmaker had an article on it: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Yes, indeed. I simplified it a bit in my response above.

      As for activity trackers being a fad, I don’t think so. I think dedicated activity tracker hardware will be a fad, but I don’t think the data capturing of those metrics will be (it’ll just move closer and closer into other devices you already have, like many phones do now).

      Obviously, it’s not for everyone, but it’s a multi-billion dollar a year business – so it’s not going to just disappear overnight.

    • Scott Buchanan

      All I keep hearing about the iWatch is the from the fashion angle.

    • Paul S

      There’s a lot of that, and they’re making a big push there (supposedly going to sell them in high end fashion shops). But we know it has a built in optical/IR heart rate monitor, and they have a whole page about “Health and Fitness” on the Watch site. So there’s definitely a sports aspect, and tethered to an iPhone, it can probably do a better job than an accelerometer based “activity tracker”. We’ll find out for sure when Ray reviews it :-)

  38. aface1

    Garmin’s server’s do not seem to be handling this update very well

    link to connect.garmin.com :(

  39. Once Apps are available we clearly need the beers/cupcakes consumed app so you can tick the beers/cupcakes off as you consume them

  40. Good write up and I have to say I was super excited to see a screen shot that had my watch face in it, but you cut off the top of the watch face, where I put the motivation message. It’s the whole point of my custom face.

    • Hmm, odd, I don’t think I cutoff any. I just took a screenshot of the store, so it looks like it’s cutoff within that.

    • Oh it was in the mobile version. the full version looks fine. I tried to edit my comment and I couldn’t figure out how to.

      Also I have a much better version up now. I wish that Garmin Connect would auto notify or update apps and watch faces.

  41. Dan

    Is there any anticipated differences between the implementation and capabilities of Connect IQ on the various devices other than what data they can use from their own integrated sensors?

  42. It’s about time Garmin updated their Connect app! Hopefully it doesn’t take as long as their 910xt update…

  43. Tim

    I’d be happy if next version of mobile app allowed the creation of workouts on the phone and then send them to my 620

  44. Eli

    My personal wish for a watch face is something like Glance that is for the Pebble watch: link to finebyte.co.uk
    As in watch data but also missed calls, battery life of watch and phone, current/future weather

    • Eli

      I’m guessing its not really possible with the limitation of only widgets and apps being able to communicate with a mobile phone via Bluetooth Low Energy

    • MattB

      I’d have to say that ‘Glance’ is a little ironic, given the amount of information crammed onto some of those watch faces! I’d prefer a bit less clutter but each to their own – I agree it would be nice to at least have this option.

  45. David Ness

    Hey Ray.
    I hope everything ok in Paris for you and your family after the last few days events.
    Some say Paris will never be the same.
    Take care.

    David Ness

    • Thanks David. Both of us were out of the country this past week, nonetheless it’s been both sad and surreal watching it all unfold over TV in what is essentially our backyard.

  46. Andrew

    Is there a trick to getting the app store to show up on Express? I have updated and there is no new menu.

    Thank you for your time

    • Double-check the version after you’ve updated to ensure it’s truly updated. Otherwise, it should show up once you re-connect your device.

    • Andrew

      Hmm.. No dice. I have uninstalled, updated, fiddled and fidgeted with no luck. When I re installed it was version 3.2.27.0 update made it 3.2.28.0 still no apps :(
      I will keep poking around and wait it out.

      Thank you for your response.

    • Eli

      3.2.28.0 with 2.64 firmware should show it

    • JD

      I second the firmare statement. It is likely not the Express version you have, but the FW that is on your watch. Since it is still Beta, you have to follow the link and instructions Ray gave above to manually update it. Otherwise you can just wait until it is in production and rolled out to your watch automagically.

  47. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Most wanted apps:

    6) managing something similar as New Leaf Calorie Profile, which was also dropped from recent Garmin devices similarly to weight scales.

    Note: I dont care how any (total) calories I burned, when think about nutrition, but total calories minus fat calories. I know it costs some to figure out how much fat you burn at different HR levels, but having done so I expect all the new Garmin devices to display it, not just semi-old 910XT, and oldie 310XT.

    • Eli

      new leaf doesn’t exist anymore so….

    • Tisztul_A_Visztula

      Yeah, but the whole thing was not about New Leaf at all.

      It was about to feed your Garmin with a table of data, namely total calorie per minute and fat calorie per minute in different HR ranges.

      Personally I did not follow New Leaf’s logic, I created HR ranges per 5 bpms like 135-139. I set up 21 ranges based on a test, which was primarily about defining training zones, but I exploited the fact that I wore a mask and the test gave me RER data as a byproduct.

      Anybody can arrange a similar test at hundreds of places, provided either (s)he or the the staff at the test venue knows how to do it properly.

      So who cares about New Leaf. I care about something which is much more professional (but not perfect, only if you do tests at least in every quarter) than to guesstimate calorie data by Garmin hocus-pocus, which does not care who you are. They just assume some universal equation being valid for everyone.

      So do you agree that it would be great to have some sort of possibility to feed your personal caloric profile into any fitness device instead of calculating the more accurate calorie data ex-post in an excel file or similar?

    • ekutter

      I agree. I had calorie burn rates per HR range from a standard VO2 max test. Garmin never made it easy to get that into my watch although you were able to create your own newleaf profile file and upload that until the FR910/Edge705. But it was complicated.

      This should be a fairly easy thing to add with Connect IQ, assuming for a simple field app you can enter these values. The current algorithms used in the 920/620 don’t come anywhere close to my actual burn rate, way under reporting my calorie burn by 50%. Funny thing is, if I don’t wear a HR strap, the numbers are actually pretty close.

      So just a simple table containing records of “HR range, calorie burn rate, fat calorie burn rate”. From there the math is pretty simple. Many VO2 tests will provide you this data.

  48. VVK

    My gut feeling is that Garmin understand the need to take counter measures against Apple watch and Android wear and Connect IQ is a step in the right direction but it will be difficult for them to change their corporate culture overnight. I still think that they will have a lead in the next year or two at the high end but once the competition turns apps vs. apps instead of hardware vs. hardware (the base hardware is more or less the same) Garmin has little chance withstanding unless they move to Android wear as SW platform. A move I do not expect they will make ever or until it is too late, i.e. like Blackberry allowing Android apps to be executed on BB or moving BB messenger to Android.

    I would still buy Fenix 3 but not for the potential apps but for what is already build in by Garmin ( as long as software is not as buggy as F1 or F2 at launch).

    • MattB

      Same here – given the lower cost and more attractive (to me) appearance compared to a 920xt, I think I’ll probably get one of these once it’s out (my only sticking point is the extra 3mm depth… picky, huh?!). I’m expecting that the software bugs will largely have been ironed out in the last few months on the 920, barring those that might be introduced by the additional functions. At least unless Garmin change the way Connect IQ functions (which Ray hints is possible) then aside from some pretty watch face options, I’m really mostly just interested in what the Fenix3 does on it’s own already.

  49. Peter Wellsman

    Hi Ray, First Happy New Year and thank you for all the work you put into each review and the DCrainmaker site! Now for the request for help… I’ve installed new beta firmware on my 920XT and updated Garmin express and I see the menu to add apps to the 920XT when its connected however I get a message when trying to install clock faces or apps – Error There’s a problem with our severs, which means that Express is temporarily unavailable….please try again later. However express for all other functions seems to be working fine. Any ideas what may be wrong? Running express on a MAC OS 10.10.1

  50. Is there an app to find your phone yet? Press enter on your watch to make your phone ring?

  51. Rob Montgomery

    All I want is a walking app that uploads directly the Garmin Connect as a walk instead of “other”. That’s really all I want.

  52. For the triathletes and ironmen, check out the TriFace I did. Do note that you need to read, decide and flash the watch to latest firmware. link to www8.garmin.com

  53. Matt

    Can widgets be displayed while recording an activity? Say, for example, displaying a map widget while going out for a run?

  54. Max

    Hi Ray,

    thanks a gain for all your valuable information. Just sold the Fenix 2 to get the Fenix 3 (in Paris, so no CT for me). I’ve been a fan of Apple products for years (Apple II). I’m more geek than athlete. I’m convinced that Garmin could become a major success among all markets segments (not only athletes) by providing the best hardware and opening up on software. The F3 looks great and they should focus on looks too… (can’t wait to create faces).

    My concern/question: the available memory in all Garmin products (except the Epix) seems quite low. Isn’t that a problem for Connect IQ?

    Thanks.

    • At this point, the apps are somewhat limited in what they can render onto the screen – so the actual codebase space requirements are itty-bitty. Should down the road apps be able to render more visually onto something like the Fenix3, then it becomes more of an issue. For now though, I wouldn’t worry about it.

    • Bora

      Ray,
      Any idea about the average size for somewhat larger apps in Connect IQ? I somehow share the concern of Max as 32 MB (and I believe not all of it is available) sounds terribly low. It would have been great to understand, how big for instance Komoot App will be.

  55. bebaile

    Hi Ray, thanks again for your work.
    According to your understanding of ConnectIQ, would it be possible for a developer to access data gathered by the accelerometer to provide for instance its own sleep monitoring application ? As an ultra runner, i would love to be able to manage snaps during a competition and be awoken in the right sleep phase ?
    Thanks!

  56. Tom

    Ray – ConnectIQ Capability question.

    It seems that apps can utilize the bluetooth connection with the phone to send out a message, what about WiFi? If so I’m assuming a GoPro remote app could be created, as well as remotes for other WiFi devices down the road.

    If not, could a hypothetical GoPro app connect to phone’s GoPro app as a pass through to control the camera?

    Do you think there is any way (using either Bluetooth or WiFi, and phone as a middle-man) that an app could be built to connect watches to each other? I’m thinking along the lines of something that tells me my friend is 2 miles ahead of me, or he’s behind me and his speed is 0 mph so I should stop and see what is wrong.

    • I am sure if GoPro wanted to make an app for this they could. There is one out for the pebble already. I honestly hope they do as that would make it way more awesome for me. Since I have a few gopro’s but I don’t have any Virb cameras.

  57. Jeff

    So, what prevents fitbit (or another well-done daily activity app) from developing a daily activity app for the garmin watch that uploads directly to their site, where they charge a fee for users that don’t have their hardware? I could see them selling the app as the best tracker for the other 23 hours.

    • I would think Garmins terms and services for the ConnectIQ development software and publishing platform would quickly change if they thought it was an issue.

      As for me I see that as a plus. If I could use my 920 as my fitbit and my Garmin activity tracker that would make it so I would need to carry 1 less device. It wouldn’t take away from Garmin’s profits, as they get their money from the device sale. It would though cut into fitbit’s profits as they would lose out on the sale of a 50-250$ device of their own.

    • I think Garmin would probably happily take that. They’ll take the HW profit any day over a non-existent software profit.

  58. Darwin

    Any time i see Garmin I think lousy software and general poor quality control and service and support. No way am I interested in this. They can’t even reliably sync a bike computer to a phone.

  59. Matt

    As the Connect IQ runtime incurs some overhead, it’ll be interesting to see how this affects battery lifetime. Would be interesting to know if e.g. adding two Connect IQ data fields have a noticeable effect on batter life, and what kind of battery life full Connect IQ apps get – will depend heavily on the app though I guess.

  60. I would actually be happy to play around a bit with this, I have ideas for custom data fields, but there are many things still missing from the SDK. There is no way, e.g., to extract custom HR zones rom the device with the available API. Its a bit weird that some things you can get from the device, some not… Like you can get the set resting HR, but not the user defined maximum. It is said to be available in the future, but from what I have seen in the documentation, it feels a bit rushed right now… But I will keep an eye on it, some people have already started doing interesting things.

  61. Raul

    I got a bug to report after loading the beta version into my 920. The functinality where you could set the watch into “sleep mode” is not working.

    Also, the app store has been experiencing problems and I have not been able to download any apps. So far, the one that I like the most has to do with the beer count capability. Great motivator.

    Cheers

  62. I’d like to offer an attempt at a clarification on the .FIT file recording in Apps.

    From “APP EXAMPLES: MOXY MUSCLE OXYGEN SENSOR:”

    All of this data is then recorded to the .FIT file, so you can open it up later on in a 3rd party site. Garmin Connect itself won’t show the Moxy data, but 3rd parties could support the sensor data saved in the file. For example, SportTracks could add support for it on their site.

    An App can create an Activity and start and stop that Activity which will start and stop the .FIT data recording for the data associated with that Activity. All that the app creator needs to recreate is the Activity (1 line of code) and the start, stop, lap and save functionality which is mostly just mapping buttons to functions. Detecting which sensors are present and what data needs to go in the FIT file and the format of the FIT file is all taken care of in the background.

    This gets the desired native data like HR, speed, elevation, etc into the FIT file with very little coding. However, there is no way to get data acquired through the Generic ANT Channel stored in the FIT file on the watch.

    For Moxy, this means that we can display our live data in the App right along with native data and create nice functionality like having alarms and making graphs, but we have to download the watch data and Moxy sensor data separately and put them into a single FIT file as a post process. (Incidentally, there’s a nice feature in the MO2 ANT+ profile that syncs the time on the sensor to the time on the watch when they pair up so the time stamps will be perfectly synchronized and that part of the data rejoining ugliness is avoided)

    Garmin has it on their ToDo list to get data acquired through the Generic ANT Channel into the FIT file on the watch, but they told me they don’t have a timeline for this yet.

    For getting the most functionality out of a Moxy App on ConnectIQ my feature wish list in order of priority is:
    1) Save Generic ANT data into the Watch FIT File.
    2) Make the Generic ANT Channel work inside Data Fields so we can get the full native functionality of the native activities without having to recreate it in the App.
    3) Allow connection of more than one Generic ANT Channel so we can connect multiple Moxy Sensors.

    • Do you work for moxy?

    • Thats awesome. If I ever leave my current field of work, I plan on working in sports related projects.

    • David

      Ray,
      Based on Roger’s comment, I believe you have some misleading information in your product comparison tables. At least in its current incarnation, according to what I infer from Roger, there is no way to record Tempe with the 920XT, and no way to record power with the VivoActive. Sure, maybe Garmin will change that in the future. But the comparison guide should really reflect current state.

      On the subject of your product comparison tool, any chance that you will add “can record while charging” as a field?

    • David

      Sorry, my bad. Only the VivoActive has the power meter capability as being possibly added with ConnectIQ. I could have sworn that I saw the 920XT as having Tempe functionality with ConnectIQ. And honestly I can see where “maybe” someone would consider seeing the power data (but not recording it) as “power meter capable”. But I don’t think many people would go for that.

    • No worries. That said, as soon as Roger’s message came in I sent a note over to the Connect IQ guys to get clarification. I haven’t heard back, but it was also the weekend after CES when I sent it – which is akin to throwing a message into a fireplace.

      I’ll send over a quick note now to get clarification and confirmation.

      As for recording while in activity, I like the idea and will add it to my list for updates (it’s sorta messy when I add a new field in that I need to go and populate all devices with that field’s answer).

  63. Ty

    Anyone have any experience on the Zero Runner? Looks pretty awesome, just expensive.

    It’s funny though, it reminds me of something with ropes that I just threw away that was a “as seen on tv” special called Tony Little’s Gazelle Edge.

  64. Ray,

    Here is my first app, power in kinetic road machine: link to apps.garmin.com

    Anybody knows how to write a new field to .fit file ?

    Regards,

  65. Mike N

    This is great stuff, I can’t wait to get started with it.

  66. Kien

    After installing v2.64 on the watch, my Sleep Monitor doesn’t work. Basically,trying to Click Enter at Activity Monitor doesn’t get to Sleep mode like it used to. Anyone has the same problem?

  67. Bob Croucher

    Thanks for all your hard work Ray. I bit the bullet and pre-ordered my Fenix3 and Vivoactive from Clever Training with my VIP membership. Now I’ll just need to sell my Fenix2, once one ships. I’m looking forward to checking out the Connect IQ API. This is what I always wished Garmin would do.

  68. halefibre

    Does anyone have connection issues with the Garmin App Server?
    link to connectapi.garmin.com

  69. MH

    Is the SDK freely downloadable? I was assuming that ConnectIQ works just like Suunto apps (everyone buid their own apps, it is very easy to build them with no tools at all, just on the Movescount website) but ConnectIQ seems more like developing apps/watchfaces for the Pebble (whole toolchain for Pebble is free though).

  70. David Smith

    Ray,

    Did you get a chance to play around with the Zero Runner at all? If so what did you think? There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of objective reviews around.

    • I did give it a whirl on the show floor. Just enough to almost get past the awkward phase and into more natural running.

      That said, just a bit hard for me to get the feel for things in only those few minutes. They’ve offered quite a bit to send a unit over to toy with, but logistically that’d be too tough.

  71. David

    I have a question about Connect IQ Widgets, specifically the AccuWeather one. You say that is on the main loop of the watch. Does that mean that I can just change from watch face to AccuWeather by pressing the up/down buttons on the 920XT?
    Can I have multiple widgets loaded in the watch? I know only 1 app at a time.
    Can you get to Widgets while in activities?

  72. Gunnar

    I’ve actually cancelled my Vivoactive order based on the lack of Connect IQ apps currently available.

    I was hoping a power meter option would be available….yes, and Tempe support too. But nothing yet. Also, looking at the ho hum apps offered for the already released 920xt, I can’t imagine we’ll suddenly see a in flux of cool apps…..or am I missing something Ray?

  73. unaj41

    Is it possible to set watch alert out of Connect IQ data field? For example there are few new pace-based Connect IQ data fields available in the app store (Instant, Exact Pace, etc.) – can these be used or rather will they show up as an option when setting up a range alert? Thx!

  74. Hi Ray,

    some strange “Infos” on Fenix3 i received from Garmin:

    Visiting the f.r.e.e. outdoor exposition in Munich on friday, i came across the Garmin company booth. The guy there, he was from Garmin, not only a promoter, told me the following about the Fenix3:
    Waterproof to 50 meters (not 100). I could see it my myself since he was wearing one and i had a look at the back of the device! It was clearly written 50m!!! Was this a prototype??? I even took a photo of that device on my wrist!
    The internal storage is 8GB (not 23MB) since it will run connect IQ fully like the Epix, not partially like the 920xt with less memory. And a maps app for the Fenix3 is coming for sure! I told him that these infos are wrong and showed him the specs on the website, but he insisted receiving this info during an internal Garmin workshop/ info event, last week!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ray, can you believe this? I don’t…. but 8gb would be good news…

    • He’s confused. The earlier prototypes were only 50m for Fenix3, the final units are 100m. As for internal storage, again, I think confused. It runs Connect IQ just as capably as Epix does. I suppose there’s a chance that Garmin has 8GB in there and is only exposing 23MB to the file system – but that seems really unlikely and sorta pointless to do.

  75. Naomi

    Hi Folks,

    The App “Graphical Heart Rate” on my FR 920xt (Version 3.03 beta) sometimes I can get it started and sometimes not.
    If I managed it started it runs pefectly.

    Any Idea to make it runn every time ??

    Herzlichst Naomi

  76. Ryan

    Hi guys,

    I got my Fenix 3 Sapphire yesterday and aesthetically I’m pretty pleased with this device. One issue that somewhat bothers me – and I wanted to clarify whether others have this same issue – is that there is a small amount of lightbleed in the bottom right corner when the lights activated.

    Is this normal due to the hardware?

  77. Ryan

    Hi Ray, any idea on when the apps and widgets will be released for Connect IQ?

  78. Marta

    Thank you for the awesome analysis – as always. So for the simple minded like me, what are the extra/better functions that Fenix3 offers compared to the Ambit3 Peak? Prices are very different especially online, so if I can save myself an extra 100, why not. I will need the watch to be able to: track indoor and outdoor run/swim/bike/-thlon. And map download on the go for hikind/trekking. Do I need to get a footbod for the ambit3 or is the builtin sensor fairly accurate? Lack of activity tracking is a big downer, but i’m willing to forego that for the 100 less i’ll pay on ambit.

  79. Curious if anyone is using connect iq and seen any degradation of battery life on their watch?

    • Which watch are you using? There appears to be a bug with last Friday’s 2.90 release on the Fenix3 which is causing unusually high battery burn (at least until the first reset). Garmin has since pulled that update.

  80. James White

    Do widgets have access to the accelerometer data? Interesting to see if you could develop an app to analyse hand motion during the swim. Could split it between coronal and sagittel views, to look for things such as high elbows in the pull and crossing over the mid line. Perhaps it’s rather to much to expect…….

  81. rabbit

    Hi ray,

    do you know, when the komoot app will hit the IQ store?

    regards

    rabbit

  82. rabbit

    Thanks. Sorry to hear- they should at last release some good third party apps. At the moment, there is not much good stuff in the IQ store…

    • I suspect/would guess that the bigger/more mature companies are spending a bit more time waiting for the Connect IQ platform to stabilize a bit before releasing their wares. Meaning, if you look at the Fenix3 for example, until two days ago the 3rd party Apps/Widgets were kinda hosing things up and causing the unit to be unstable. So, rather than an app get blamed for that, they’d wait for at least a few weeks of stability. At least, that’s what I’d do if I was an app…

      Also, many apps were likely waiting for Vivoactive to start shipping, as I suspect that’s more appealing to them since the price point is lower than the 920XT/Fenix3 – and thus a bigger market.

    • rabbit

      When I think about it, yes you are right.

      Nevertheless another question:
      does the komoot app work on its own (or does it need a internet connection via a compatible phone and garmin connect mobile). I fear, a internet connection is required?

    • Disclosure first: I am Markus, co-founder of komoot.

      Some technical insights about komoot turn-by-turn navigation and offline:
      Route planning is done online, via web browser, or on your mobile. As soon as you save a planned tour, it is fully offline available. We sync the route data, directions and topographic maps. Since our last update, globally now.
      Watches, like the Android Wear already public available, needs to be connected to the phone to display the directions. Phone can be stored safely and offline (GPS enabled) in your bag.
      This setup is optimized for a typical day trip also with battery life of phones are around 6-8 hours (we have user reports of a 12 hours run with komoot navigation), if you use turn-by-turn voice / watch instead of the display.

      Hope this answers your question – happy to answer further.

  83. rabbit

    Hi Markus,

    thanks for your reply. The komoot app will need the internal gps of the phone “Phone can be stored safely and offline (GPS enabled) in your bag.”? I am a little bit confused.
    What about the internal gps of the Fenix 3? Sounds for me, if the phone is doing the job and the fenix3 works only as a display? Maybe I have misunderstood something (I am german and my english is not very good).

    best regards

    rabbit

    • Hi rabbit,

      yes, the watch is mainly a display for the following reasons: turn-by-turn navigation requires some calculation power, implementing navigation algorithms on many platforms is expensive, gps typically is much better with bigger devices, the phone is the connection to your online profile / data in any case.

      Cheers,
      Markus

  84. JSN

    Any word on the Sun/Moon, Hunt/Fish widget that Garmin was supposed to release a few weeks back? Are there any rumors of other apps or widgets that Garmin themselves are planning to add?

  85. Horst

    Hello Ray,

    have You the opportunity to try out the gym equipment Octane Zero Runner ZR7 in connection with Octane Fitness SmartLink app?

    This ZR7 could also be an interesting addition for me for my indoor training, especially for the Garmin 920XT soon (??) a corresponding app will be available.

    regards
    Horst

  86. Seva

    Hi guys,
    can find an answer, sorry for asking, but: can I start a workout and use an Connect IQ app during workout?

  87. luke

    Just a query on my 920, i have downloaded the 4 predictors with the plan of having a data field/screen with the 4 predictors, 5k 10k half, full full! But it will only allow 2 at 1 time am I doing something wrong??

  88. mark

    Really tempted with the vivoactive but wonder if it’s worth waiting for an android device.

    Anyone know anything about this link to wearit.net

  89. Bill

    Not going to lie, 3rd party support is pretty bad right now for the Connect IQ. All those ‘launch partners” in the video are nowhere to be seen. The komoot app and accuweather are nowhere to be seen. There are some nice simple apps that people have made but I feel like it will basically like the “movescount” store which is pretty useless.

  90. So the limit is 2 data fields per activity. I am trying to add the second data filed into my Run Outdoor activity profile screen without any success. I checked all 4 screens for IQ data fields and there are none used. Still I can only choose one of the two IQ data fields. Seems like in all other activity profiles I can configure screens with both IQ data fields (HR with Zone and HR Chart). Am I missing something?
    (Posted this in the Garmin forum as well)

  91. Jose

    Please sign in on komoot and vote for an app to our Garmin devices at
    link to help.komoot.de

  92. Leon

    @dcrainmaker i’m thinking about buying a garmin edge 1000, but i would like to have strava segments on it and a longer battery life. Do you expert a New edge 1010 comming soon, or will the 1000 be updated to connectIQ? so is it worth to wait a couple of months for a new garmin edge?

  93. Tommy

    I would be cool if Garmin also would implement(share) some more nautical apps for the Fenix 3, specific for sailing, like 5 min countdown and then timer start, distance/time to startline, speed in knots! I think they already have this in house…

  94. Mike Van Hoozer

    Ray, I was surprised that the Octane Fitness Zero Runner Smartlink Connect IQ app, which was released yesterday, did not support the Fenix 3. Do you have any insight on why and also when the Fenix 3 will be supported?

    • I do not know why. I’ll find out. My guess is that being a round screen, the app was probably designed for the square/rectangular screens of the FR920XT/Vivoactive (well, I know they started on using the FR920XT first during the dev cycle).

    • Mike Van Hoozer

      I think you are right that they began with the square screens first. I am hopeful that they will implement this for the round screens soon including the Fenix 3. I have been in contact with Octane Fitness since I posted this, and they helped me implement a workaround using the foot pod, which I was able to get synced up and working with the Zero Runner last night.

    • Stu

      I’d love to hear about the work around. We just picked up at ZR7 and I’d don’t really want to drop the cash on a vivoactive when I’ve got a perfectly good Fenix3

  95. miguel

    I wonder what happened to all those IQ apps anounced for new garmin devices (F3, epix,…)
    like komoot or ski app
    And that even you Ray showed working

  96. Great write up, thank you! I just moved from the Fenix 2 to the Fenix 3. One thing that bothers me is I can’t find a way to have battery % (not just the icon, but the actual number) show up on any screen while I’m running. Do you know if this is possible? I installed a widget, but that doesn’t really help during a run, right? On my Fenix 2, I used to have a screen that showed the %. Would love to be able to do that on this watch too. Thanks for any advice.

    By the way, I refer every person that asks me about watches or gadgets to your site. Thanks for doing what you do! You are my first resource! :)

    Mike
    mikerunsdublin

  97. Giorgio Litt

    Very much interested in Fenix 3, but a function crucial to me as a time-lapse photographer is Civil and Astronomical Sunset/Sunrise data. Anyone know how I can get this info via app or widget? Ambit3 has a great app: link to movescount.com

    Any advice that could seal the Fenix 3 deal for me would be great!

    -Giorgio

    • Giorgio Litt

      Hey DC Rainmaker!

      Thanks for your response. Actually, this app does not give Astronomical and Civil Sunset/Sunrise data. It only gives “sunrise” and “sunset.” This is actually not enough for my purposes. I could of course see a quick and easy retooling of that app to include the requested information, but that’s not up to me. Also I’ve seen reports that even the “sunrise” and “sunset” times that the app you linked gives are not accurate. It’s not even clear what the developer means by “sunrise” and sunset” the start of civil sunrise/sunset? the end? You can see the dilemma.

      Any further thoughts are appreciated.

      -Giorgio

    • chukko

      Even if the existing app does not meet your requirements, you can still develop your own (or if the author is willing to share the source, modify that to add the values you need).

  98. chukko

    One way Garmin could address the end-state behaviour of CIQ Apps would be to implement Apps in object oriented manner.
    At minimum – new app could extend existing profile. Ideally giving access to all current watch functionality.
    Other useful approach would be multiple inheritance (e.g. interfaces). This would allow building the libraries for code sharing.

  99. Did you ever here anything more about support for the Edge Series (namely the 1000).

    I write a lot of cycling/fitness based software (see the site stevessoftwareprojects.com) and have started to take Connect IQ pretty seriously and have a lot of API’s and stuff I’ve started to implement with it.

    Edge support would top it.

  100. Harish Lakshman

    Hi DC Rainmaker:

    Is there a way to get Calendar Widget (appointments from my iPhone calendar app) and Music Control for the 920xt? Thanks.

  101. Thanks for all the brilliant posts and reviews – I have a 920 and use the phone app to upload to TP, Strava and GC via bluetooth – this is because my Mac is too old to use Garmin Express. I’m assuming I can’t use IQ apps at the moment because I need to update my 920 but I think I can only do it via Express – any ideas?

  102. shirley shaw

    I’m so excited that you said Suunto has created a power metric to approximate power! I wondered why garmin hadn’t–I don’t want to spend &1500 plus. Is there any widget, ap etc that would allow my garmin 920 to approximate poser?

    • Séb

      You can use the HRM from Cycleops. Ray has reviewed it quite a while ago, and since it’s ANT+, it should work fine with the 920XT.
      It did the job with my 910XT, and since my new 920XT is waiting for me Under the Christmas tree, it’d better work fine too with it! 😉

  103. dom

    Where can I find the tempo widget/app? I searched connectIQ but it isn’t found!

  104. Tracy

    Hi Ray,

    Before I bought thr Vivoactive, had been tracking my runs using the Wahoo app paired with my Scosche, with my data uploading to various running apps like Runkeeper, Map My Fitness.

    With the Vivoactive, I am unable to upload/share this data to the 3rd party running apps listed above. All Garmin Connect allows is to share to Strava and Myfitnesspal only. Am I missing something or is this really the case?

    Love the blog –please keep up the fantastic work!

    Tracy

  105. Mark

    Is it possible to send ANT+ data as well? I’d like to send the temperature data from the device itself with the temperature profile.

  106. myneur

    Hi, how did you get that Fenix Komoot app? I don’t see it available and even at their site they claim they support only notifications on Garmin devices.
    Is the Fenix app with Komoot directions some kind of test version? Is it available to try?

    m

  107. Stuart

    Hi Ray,

    Maybe not the correct place for this but would ‘Garmin Connect’ warrant a brief review due to the amount of updates it has received in the past 12 months?

  108. Fabio Reis

    Hi Ray,

    What Data fields, apps and widgets are you using nowadays?

    Thx

  109. Paul Gervais

    Just bought a Garmin FR 230 and tried to download several data fields and apps to it. The documentation on the Garmin site doesn’t reflect the menu options on the watch and the display is useless in low light. I can’t recommend this device and will be going back to my trusty FR 305.