Garmin Connect IQ

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Garmin's Connect IQ allows for the creation of apps to run on Garmin's running watches in much the same way you can run apps on Android or iOS. This has the potential to make the new Garmin running watches as revolutionary as the first iPhone. Before Apple introduced the iPhone, a smart phone was largely limited to the functionality that was provided by the manufacturer. Now there is a huge portfolio of applications that allow the iPhone to be used in new and novel ways. I believe we will see Garmin's Connect IQ change the way we view running watches. Connect IQ allows the developer to create new applications that utilize the display, sensors, and ANT+ connectivity. Some of the things that should be possible include:

  • Connect to new devices that provide additional information. For instance, there is a company that is planning on using Connect IQ to integrate with a device to measure blood lactate.
  • Existing devices can be used in new ways. For instance, if a running watch does not provide speed from a Footpod, this could be added with Connect IQ. A clever developer could go further and implement a more sophisticated algorithm for adaptive calibration of the Footpod.
  • Data can be combined and graphed, for instance using heart rate and distance to calculate Relative Running Economy.

While Suunto supports downloadable "apps", this should not be confused with Connect IQ. Without going into the technical details, Suunto supports simple scripts where Connect IQ is a full development environment. An analogy would be the difference between a programmable calculator and a PC. You can do some interesting things with a programmable calculator, but nothing like the things you can do with a PC.