Dropping the ball

OK, so I messed up in predicting that Garmin would push out the Edge 1030 ahead of Eurobike. They didn’t. It is now here though, so we’ll move on and start raving about the new Polar at Kona…

I would argue that Garmin messed up even worse than I did in this case, though. On 23rd August, Wahoo announced some new features for their computers. No new device, but some significant catchup and levelling of the playing field. These devices are very compelling and are now probably the most serious competitor to Garmin. Add a colour screen and we’ll most likely see an exodus due to their reputation for great support and constant improvement.

Why does that affect Garmin? Firstly, it was announced before the Edge 1030 and before Eurobike so people were seeing it on its own and not surrounded by other noise. Secondly, looking at dcrainmaker.com there was then a gap of several days while Ray (presumably) prepared for Eurobike. That left the Wahoo news front and centre for 5 days. 5 days of people looking at the news. 5 days, arguably some of the highest traffic days while people check for Eurobike news, of nothing to look at but Wahoo. Clever peeps.

What happenned when Garmin did their big reveal the day before Eurobike? The news the Internet has been waiting for for well over a year? They got a couple of hours. Yup, another big competitor stole the front page a few hours later and put in a reduction in price on the Powertap P1 pedals, equaling the price of the just announced Vector 3. More importantly burying the news of the Vector 3 on all of the news sites.

It’s not just one site either, it’s all of them. Ray isn’t picking and choosing when to post this stuff, he posts when he’s told to post or he loses early access to products. He’s had the Edge 1030 for “quite a while”, enough to do a detailed review, and yet Garmin were only main news for a few hours. I’m sure the review will still get record traffic on the site, it’s a Garmin after all. The question, though, is why allow the opposition so much air time?


  1. the new device was the ELEMNT BOLT
    also, as you say, workouts were recently fully supported by wahoo. this now gives them a proper ‘pro’ offering
    also now there is KICKR CLIMB again a ‘pro’ offering coinciding with a slightly refreshed KICKR17 (https://the5krunner.com/2017/08/30/review-wahoo-kickr-3-2017-a-detailed-look-from-a-smart-trainer-newbie/)
    Ray could probably post when he wants to, he respects (toes the line) of the marketeers
    I think your site (and mine to a lesser degree) stoke up interest to then get people to look at Ray’s reviews. key elements of our readerships are the same people.

  2. Put that way, why does anyone announce anything at big trade shows? The news just gets buried by everyone else’s announcement. That’s probably one of the reasons Apple doesn’t do trade shows, so they can control the news coverage.

    • It’s convenient to show up and have a bunch of reporters come to you. For Garmin though, they don’t need to do that as they’ll get coverage anyway. For smaller players it’s a definite boost to get all the press coming and looking at your stuff among the masses, and they may not otherwise get coverage. The big guys though would benefit from picking their moment as Wahoo did here. They got a lot of people seeing their news even just from people looking for a Garmin announcement, and THAT is clever marketing. The very people they want to poach were staring at their news for 5 days and contemplating whether the Wahoo could replace that buggy old Garmin…

      • I can see that. But I doubt it’s a big deal. A lot of people will be searching for bike related products in the coming weeks and months and won’t care about the timing of these announcements. They’ll find the press releases and reviews just like always. Unless they come across this post they’d never know about the power meter pr coup of 2017.

  3. Most interesting thoughts.
    And I have been thinking along those same lines myself.

    I am mostly interested in a runners- or alround watch.
    Almost certainly Garmin will introduce Vivoactive 3 tomorrow at noon in Berlin.
    Very well. I will certainly check out what comes.

    But what will come?

    Well Fitbit came out yesterday. With an interesting breed between a fitness watch and a smartwatch. It’s not really either, but it has a lot of things from both. Jack of all trades, king of none.
    Which is EXCACTLY the same as the VA3.

    I think Garmin is going to be stucked between a stone and a hard place!

    Give it advanced stats about run and/or triathlon – and Garmin will canibalize the more expensive watches.
    Don’t give it more advanced stats, and it will be competing agains the Fitbit Ionic. And I suppose that Fitbit will be the winner in the eyes of most buyers. It has a very nice screen, more colors and higher resolution than any expections of any Garmin watch coming out soon. It’s a very nice smartwatch with big storage for music, it has payment, better notifications (because of the resolution of the screen).
    To be fair Garmin is not all lost. It will have better batterylife, to most people (e.g. me) look a lot better and it has a more mature platform (because Fitbit is just starting up – with some Peeple developers true, but with no software yet).
    So what will Garmin announce tomorrow?
    Vivoactive and vivoactice HR have been very good watches for people who “didn’t know they were intersted” in sports. They were kind of close enough to mainstream that you could use them even without being all into sports, yet give enough fit-info that they could benefin from the fit-wave. But it seems that this market is going to have better offers from other players now: Fitbit Ionic, Samsung smartwatches (which also have things like sleeptracker, heart rate monitor etc.)

    So what do Garmin really have to offer?

    A cheaper watch? I don’t think they would go down that route. They are making good margins on high-end watches for triathlon, running, bicycling, golf, marine etc.

    A true fitness watch with in-depth stats. They can’t go down that route either. Or rather, they could, but then they would have to make it more pricey, – so people didn’t buy this instead of something else.

    Garmin have been, and still are, very good at making the high end products. And for a while they have had the VA and VA HR to take away competition in the lower end. But I think that the later is going to be history.
    I simply can’t see how they can realisticly make a product that can compete against the competitiors without canibalizing their own high-margin products.

    O.k. they might introduce a Forerunner (e.g. 245 or 645 or both). And they probably (also) will. And that would be a different story. They would have the detailed stats. And for these buyers that stat and the longer batterylife is more important than resolution and smartphone features.

    Though in the long run I suppose everyone will do everything (Apple’s smartwatch will do all kind of fitness thing, Garmin’s fitness-wach will do all kind of smartwatch things etc.) We might be some years from that though.

  4. Oh btw.
    They probably will put some of the advanced features in the VA3, – like VO2Max.
    Simply because the competitors can do this already.
    They might even add the SpO2 sensor. It’s new to Garmin, but some fitness phones have it and the new Ionic have it too.

    What I don’t think we will see are for running these things: Cadence, vertical oscillations, ground contact time, stride lenth, vertical ratio.

    Anyway. Less than 19 hours and we will more than likely know rather than guess 🙂

  5. the user manual for the vivoactive3 is online at the FCC. basically it’s everything I expected in the 645 + NFC payments.

  6. Thanks very much for this. Very handy. Pity it does not appear to have the Virtual Racer.

    • I don’t see why someone couldn’t write an app for that. In fact, I’m surprised no one has. I’ll have to look through the developer docs to see if it’s possible.

    • I checked and there are in fact several Virtual Pacer apps on the Connect IQ store.

  7. The price seems strange too. Lower the 520 price to better go against the bolt but the 1000 replacement goes up by $100? Doesn’t seem like the 1030 changed that much. Or even take existing features from other garmin devices like magnetic compass like all the watches (at least the fr920 and 935), weather radar overlay from the Oregon would be nice but of course the fitness and outdoors teams don’t seem to share.

    No new ConnectIQ functionality, just a slightly different size screen and seems like the same core hardware (cpu, ram) as the 1000.

    • Eli, I saw your post on DCR about the RAM but how do you know the cpu is the same? Any benchmarks out there yet?

      Hard to imagine no cpu improvements in 3 years 🙁

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