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Week in Review–June 19th, 2016

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The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter and Facebook, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts in the past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week.

Sunday: Week in Review–June 13th, 2016
Wednesday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It was a bit of a quiet week as I was travelling a bit and preparing posts for this upcoming week, for things being announced/etc…

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet:

1) Garmin Connect IQ app platform releases major update: This update brings the long promised ability to record custom data to .FIT files.  There’s also some other enhancements as well.  It’ll be another month until you start seeing apps in the app store that support the updated version.  Also, as Garmin hinted at last fall there will be cases where older units won’t support newer features going forward due to the older hardware not supporting it.  Though, in this case they’re going to release an update for all devices that will enable support for most features.  They include a nifty table to figure out where your unit stands.  So…who’s gonna write me an app to record 5-6 power meters at once so I can start riding like a normal person again?

2) Start your GoPro by biting down: In the event you thought pressing the record button was too cumbersome.  Still, makes sense for the likely use cases here.

3) The Secret Pro has gone Womanly! Yup, there’s now two Secret Pro’s on Cycling Tips, one for the men’s side of the peloton and the newest for the women’s side. Good stuff as always.

4) 360° View of the Escape from Alcatraz Swim Start: Another great example of using 360° cameras.  Given what appears to be higher quality resolution here, I’m guessing this was a multi-cam rig.

image

5) Epic POV Descent – GCN Tackles Sa Calobra: I found this particular video made some trainer time go by fairly fast yesterday.  I’m not usually a huge trainer video person, but the 13 minutes whirred by…literally.

6) The Samsung Gear Fit 2: Some folks have been asking about this and whether I plan a review.  Haven’t fully decided on a review yet, but I did order a unit.  I’ll pick it up Monday while in the States.  However as I sit here typing this I just realized I left my Android phone on my desk at the office.  So, won’t be able to try it out till I return. Boo.

7) Bluetooth 5.0 to get broadcast mode: Along with significantly fast transfer rates.  It’ll be interesting to see what adoption looks like (in terms of how fast companies adopt).  You figure that if chipsets aren’t ready till the end of 2016/early 2017, then the first products wouldn’t likely hit the market until spring of 2017 (in the most optimistic view).  This could be good news for multi-device users with sensors (i.e. one HR strap to both a watch and a bike computer).  However, one might remember that technically that capability was introduced in Bluetooth 4.1 in December 2013.  It’s just that nobody rolled it out. (via Tedder)

8) Interesting analysis of the Escape from Alcatraz participant numbers: Some of you might remember the massive kerfuffle a bit back when the race announced they were increasing the price for this year from $425 to $750 without reason or explanation.  Following this weekend’s race, a few folks have done some interesting math on that based on participant numbers.  Worth the read through the thread.

9) Garmin plans to discontinue older Garmin Connect API’s: I don’t have a link for this, as it’s merely an e-mail from Garmin.  They are planning on discontinuing the older Motion Based developer API’s come this July.  This does not impact the auto sync pieces that they implemented two years ago that apps like Strava use.  That sync is one-way though (GC to App).  Versus the older Motion Based API’s (from when Garmin bought Motion Based in 2005).  Garmin says they aren’t clear who is using the API’s, or even how large an issue this is.  It’s unclear to me (I’ve asked for clarification) whether or not this will impact apps that emulate (fake) a user-login to Garmin Connect.  What is clear to me though is that for some totally unfathomable reason, Garmin still doesn’t have any official way that 3rd party apps can tap into Garmin Connect and increase stickiness to the platform.  Virtually every other company in this space has such API’s available to any developer, especially all the majors (Google, Strava, Apple, Under Armour, Withings, Fitbit, etc…).  The API’s for the $5,000 fee that Garmin offers don’t allow tapping into or adding data in Garmin Connect, only receiving activity files from it after a user completes an activity.
(Note: Added this section a few hours after I published this post as I forgot to add in.)

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners are perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?  Oh – and if you want to get a head start on things, this page is a great resource for watching Garmin firmware updates.

Apple Watch to get updated firmware: Increases speeds dramatically, other tweaks.  Coming this fall.

Polar Loop & Loop 2 firmware update: Bug fixes.

Wahoo ELEMNT Firmware Update: Added Turn by Turn navigation (more on the testing of this later this week), slew of other additions/tweaks.

(Note: Massive pile of Garmin firmware updates this week below, grouping them by product families to save duplication)

Garmin FR735XT BETA firmware update: Boatload of new features, equal part bug fixes and perf improvements.

Garmin Vivoactive HR firmware update: Adds in Varia Vision support, proper optical HR broadcasting support, few other tweaks.

Garmin Fenix3/Tactix Bravo/Quatix 3/Fenix3 HR firmware update: Rolls in all those beta updates you’ve seen lately. New features/tweaks.

Garmin Vivoactive HR BETA firmware update: Adds new Connect IQ features support, a few other new features.

Garmin FR230/235/630 BETA firmware updates: Adds new Connect IQ features support, few tiny fixes.

Garmin Forerunner 25 and Edge 20/25 firmware updates: A bunch of minor new features (both sets of units use same basic firmware)

Garmin Vivomove firmware update: Bug fix.

Garmin Index WiFi Scale firmware update: Bug fixes and tweaks to users who have higher activity classes (i.e. an athlete mode).

Phew!

Tip of the week to companies: If you have an RSS feed for updates I can subscribe, like Garmin, Polar, Adidas, Wahoo, and others – it’s nearly 100% how I remember to find these updates.  If you lack that, I likely won’t have your updates in the above.  Plus, users like it too.

Thanks for reading all!

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30 Comments

  1. Pete parfitt

    Regarding Connect IQ update, reading between the lines with the compatibility of Aikido vs Biker on certain devices do you therefore see, not only an update to the 920, which you could argue the 735xt is, but an update to the Fenix 3. Surely they wouldn’t have their flagship device not fully supporting biker features.

    • Perhaps, but I wouldn’t overthink it too much. Meaning, I wouldn’t expect a Fenix3 replacement anytime soon. The earliest I’d see would be in time for the 2016 Holidays, but I see it as more likely they’d slide to just after at CES 2017 (January), if anything. On the flip-side, Garmin seems hell-bent on releasing a new something (or 10 something’s) every month.

      I think their CIQ blog post/table, as helpful as it intended to be, always makes things look worse than they are. That’s because the very next line explains that they’ll be moving 2 out of 3 features to all existing units. And the 3rd feature (Edge related stuff) is already supported on existing units.

      Said differently: They’re supporting everything major on existing units. But again, the table makes it seem worse that it is.

  2. Stefan G.

    Not sure if you comment of software updates, but Polar Beat for iPhone got a upgrade a couple of days ago (link to updates.polar.com) Even if the step up to 2.0 should indicate some major changes, all I can see are UI and more sports to choose from. Looks pretty neat now even if I preferred to slightly larger text in training view. Havn’t used it yet, not since I got my M400 last autumn and keeping Beat just in case.

  3. David

    Being an iOS user I’m not use to being unable to run the latest software. How does Garmin get away with dumping software updates on models that were brand new barely six months ago (630)? Being “forced” into purchasing a new $400+ watch every six months doesn’t seems sustainable, even for a gear addict. It seems their excuse is that Biker Monkey doesn’t fit; its 2016, how about including more than 128KB in a SoC? Am I unreasonable?

    • I’m not clear on how they’re dumping updates on watches. They released a beta update that updates the FR630 with information on which features will be added/support on it, and which ones they’ll create a bridge to cover the major features. No?

      I do agree however it’s silly that these watches have as small a memory footprint as they do.

    • David

      I suppose I shouldn’t feel dumped, you’re right. We’re getting an update. Yay, or something. The iOS folks have made it clear that they’ll keep things moving forward. My phone isn’t using v8.6.3 and I’m absurdly confidant it’ll be on v12.2 before I replace it. The Apple management seems to understand how expensive it is to backport and so thinks ahead.

      If I felt that Garmin was saying “sorry guys, we really should have included more room for growth, going forward we’ll do better” instead of “we’re unable to understand that supporting multiple source trees is more expensive than ordering up a least cost part that just slightly works. We’ve backported some features that we promised six months ago. Don’t expect anymore on that ancient platform (630) and don’t expect much more one the current one (735).”

      I can only hope it’s power related.

    • David

      I forgot to type half that run on sentence. I blame my failure on some 32Kb limit. Mind fixing it with what I meant to say? Something along the lines of “If I felt […] I’d be happier.” ?

    • Andrew

      It makes me greatful for rei’s one year return window. If my two month old watch (Fenix 3 hr bought just after release) starts to lag with updates, it’s a simple matter of returning it.

  4. BobH

    Any comments on the release of pics of the Garmin 820?

    • Pete Parfitt

      I got an email from Garmin about it, but by the time I clicked on the YouTube link it had been removed.

  5. Dan

    Happy Father’s Day

  6. Neil Tungate

    I have an Index scale and spent some time wondering how to update the firmware after reading the above. I use Garmin Express to communicate with my Edge Touring bike computer and don’t have an ANT+ stick, so that route wasn’t viable. After some head scratching and delving into the Garmin Connect app on my Samsung Galaxy S6, I discovered that if the scale is connected via WiFi, as mine is, it should automatically update via that route.

  7. Simon

    On the connect iq and the api updates, I hope that garmin do something with the di2 data the edge units collect. It is a curiosity as much as anything, as I’m not sure what I can learn from it, but I use di2stats.com just now.
    On the api side I wish they would send sleep and rhr (and to a lesser extent, steps) to trainingpeaks, so I can have everything in one place.

    • Yeah, it’s an interesting nut to cracak. In some ways I could see folks like Training Peaks or WKO4 tackling it. I think there were some plug-ins on Sport Tracks (desktop) also that pulled in that data.

      I wonder now that eTAP and EPS is out and supported if we’ll see more interest from devs.

  8. Jac

    Are you looking at the Gear Icon X earbuds with the Gear Fit 2? I know you’re lukewarm at best on the Bragi Dash, so I’m interested to know what one of the big tech houses were able to pull off on roughly the same idea.

  9. Zan

    I’ve got some questions about the updated Connect IQ SDK and FIT file recording. I have a 920XT. So I won’t have the newest CIQ. They noted that they have updated my old CIQ with FIT file recording. But it sounds like a single app/data field can’t be compatible with both versions of CIQ. So if someone updates their data field to Biker Monkey with FIT file recording, will I not be able to use it on my 920XT? Would the developer need to submit and maintain two versions in the app stote for the separate CIQ types?

  10. Gildas

    Hi Ray,
    Regarding Bluetooth 4.1 and 5.0, do you know if it involves hardware changes, or if current equipment can be updated to support bluetooth 5.0.

    • It requires new hardware for 5.0 unfortunately. From what I understand, first chipsets won’t be available till very late 2016, but more like early 2017. Then from there companies would be able to build solutions around them.

      Most times for a Garmin/Polar/whomever, they’re locking in chipset specs many months in advance. Sometimes companies wait for a chipset (i.e. PowerTap with their Joule GPS+). But that is super risky, and in the case of PowerTap, it was likely a contributing factor to the low sales which eventually caused them to kill the product line

  11. gingerneil

    Hi Ray.
    Am I right in thinking that the current interface from GC to external ‘partners’ (ie sporttracks, strava etc) passes the full FIT file? If so, will the new recorded CIQ data also be included? This could be a great opportunity for app and platform providers to build specific capability as they can now control data coming their way via their own CIQ data fields and apps.

    • Yup, correct. Garmin passes to them the native and complete fit file ‘as-is’.

      I agree that there’s tons of potential once CIQ starts recording stuff. Where I think Garmin’s mistake is, is the continuation of the $5K fee (even if it isn’t really enforced 100%).

      Just imagine how many apps might come out of the wood work to build cool things on ANT+ or Connect IQ if they could get data to their platforms? Certainly that number is higher than 0, which, is all that should matter. I’ve listed many concepts before (especially in my ANT+ talks). All of which bolster Garmin’s stance because it’d be a natural feeding channel for athletic data into various platforms.

      Simply have two service levels:

      A) Paid
      B) Free

      Paid would be for the Strava’s of the world that need immediate support via phone/contact point when crap hits the fan. And free would be like Gmail support – kinda works but take a while.

      Which…btw…is how every other company on earth does it. Works just fine.

    • While I agree that that would be convenient (especially with the Edge 1000’s wifi) and that the $5k fee is high, aren’t Garmin’s Mobile SDKs supposed to enable widgets and apps to connect to any server on the internet via the Garmin Connect app or to apps on the smartphone – if you develop a companion app?

      I haven’t checked in detail and I might have gotten this wrong, but I was imagining that a third party service could provide a widget to buffer and upload any data to their server, or GC could develop a companion app to receive and forward any data by email or Dropbox etc.

  12. Ben Faivre

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the update!

    That’s a very nice touch the update of the Connect IQ. Maybe, we’ll be able to add the stryd data (as opposed to only displaying it). I just hope my 920xt gets that, as I was waiting for this feature to get the stryd.

    Maybe we’ll also get a similar things to polar integration with gopro and garmin watches with garmin virb (i.e. pressing the watch to start recording on the gopro). I use my gopro with garmin virb and manually sync at the moment when I ride, that would speed up the process so much 🙂

  13. Stuart

    Looks like access through the wellness API is free

    There is real scope for third party integration there

    link to developer.garmin.com

    • My understanding is the push API is limited to uploading activity files (i.e. a run), I don’t believe it can push things like sleep. I could be wrong, but that’s my impression.

  14. ubrab

    From the Escape forum thread ” especially in the context of declining participation rates in triathlon”

    Is that true that participation rates are decreasing in triathlon? Or is that true only in the US market? In Europe it feels like participation is clearly on the rise, and Ironman registration numbers overall seem to indicate that as well.

  15. Chris

    Have you considered including a feed to comments added to blog posts during the previous week into the week in review post?

    There’s some good information in the posts but finding what’s new is very difficult?

    Or maybe somehow turn the comments section into a forum?

  16. Frank

    Hi Ray!

    1) Did any of the Garmin firmware updates at “real” 24×7 HR monitoring? My understanding is they leave large gaps in their curren 24×7 implementation.

    2) You mention the Samsung Gear 2. Any shot you’ll review the moto 360 sport (has gps and says it has 1sec HR monitoring ….)? Any software in android wear that will show detail HR? Google fit does it in 15 min increments… 🙁 Might be helpful if anyone had a review on the android wear ecosystem, there’s so many devices that use it, maybe with varying HR accuracy, but, the accuracy on all of those devices might not matter much if the ecosystem is terribly poor.

    Thanks!

  17. It looks like the deprecation of the Garmin Connect legacy API has begun and some subset of calls are now failing with a 503/The requested endpoint is retired. We (FitnessSyncer.com) have updated our service to the latest and greatest Garmin Connect API, however, that does mean that we are losing the ability to send data to them.

  18. Ken

    If and when you do decide to review the gear fit 2, please place emphasis on the terrible clasp on the wristband!