Market Insight

Fenix is getting smarter, but still no advanced OS

August 30, 2016

Roeen Roashan Roeen Roashan Senior Analyst, Healthcare Technology
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Last week, Garmin unveiled its latest fitness watch to the public, the Garmin Fenix Chronos, a luxury smart outdoor watch priced at minimum $899 and up to $1,499, if purchased with a titanium band. The watch features a 1.2” inch round display, and supports the Connect IQ ecosystem, which is Garmin’s version of a smart OS. The battery can last up to one week if used in watch mode, 13 hours in GPS mode, and it packs all necessary sensors for an outdoor watch, including a wrist-based heart rate monitor.

Fitness and outdoor watches are becoming smart, at a fast pace. Casio pioneered this arena with the Smart Outdoor Watch, and since then Nixon and Polar have gone to market with smartwatches designed for the active consumer. However, Garmin differentiates itself by pushing its proprietary operating system, which supports a limited number of third party applications. While there are benefits to this, the disadvantages pull the longest straw. Not integrating an advanced OS, limits the product’s multifunctionality, which is key to any wrist-device, even more so for a luxury device, such as the Fenix Chronos intended for every day wear. The multifunctionality is not merely around the basic functions of a smartwatch e.g. picking up phone calls, notifications, sports and more, but also the long-term impact of application developers, and their ability to increase product value over time. Casio, Nixon and Polar have done right by complimenting all the necessary elements of a sport or outdoor watch, with the Android Wear ecosystem – Garmin will be forced to do the same as long as they actively pursue the smartwatch market.

The price point for the Fenix Chronos is also aggressive, compared to watches from smartphone OEMs Apple, Samsung and LG, even if marketed as a luxury device. To put things in perspective, the titanium version of Fenix Chronos matches the price of TAG Heuer’s smartwatch. That being said, the Fenix Chronos is a premium watch, with great capabilities for outdoor use, and made from high-quality materials. 

For questions or inquiries, please contact Roeen Roashan, Roeen.Roashan@ihsmarkit.com.

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Healthcare Technology
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