Garmin Launches ‘Connected GPS’ Functionality For Wearables Without GPS (Vivosmart 4 & Vivomove 3)

Last week Garmin ever so quietly brought so-called ‘Connected GPS’ capability to the Garmin Connect Mobile application, even as similtaneously freeing a firmware update for the Vivosmart 4 (which came a year ago), as smartly as incorporating it into the base Vivomove 3 announced final Thursday. The capability practically gives these wearables GPS, as they don’t have GPS chipsets internal already. This functionality follows with what Fitbit added many years ago for their GPS-less wearables, under the ‘Connected GPS’ name as neatly.This allows you to no longer simplest directory a GPS track leveraging your phone’s GPS capabilities, notwithstanding also get/visit speed and distance on your wearable, in spite of no longer having any sensors or GPS in the unit itself. This is particularly terrific with cycling, seeing that it can’t as a substitute use the accelerometer like it can for walking/walking activities. Which, by way of the manner, is a sensible time to note that Garmin also now added in cycling as a game to the Vivosmart 4 too.Since this is something that many americans have been asking about for years, I figured I’d provide it a super quick whirl around the block. Or more specifically, a whirl on this morning’s motorcycle go back and forth.Setup & Configuration:Setup is silly easy, in spite of this first you’ll want to make sure your device is fully up to date. In the case of the Vivomove 3 it comes with the required software, whereas if you’ve were given the Vivosmart 4, you’ll want to update the firmware. Garmin’s telephone app has likely already done that for you in the heritage in the last week or so, nevertheless you can strength the difficulty using Garmin Express on the computing device with the charging cable. You’re looking to be on firmware edition 4.0 or higher.The above screenshot became the spotlight of my little Vivosmart 4’s lifestyles.

It’s been living its life from box to box, finally now in a clear Rubbermaid box on a shelf next to dozens of other containers. But today….today it became known as into duty!And in fact, it’s precisely why I move out and get my own devices after returning the loaner ones – for posts like these (and comparison shots in reviews).

This may simply be the first time this device got to event the wilds of outdoors. Or even being charged. It’s existence is now fulfilled.In any event, assuming you’ve got your wearable all up-to-date, also pass forward and make certain your iOS or Android app is updated too. You’ll need the current edition of Garmin Connect Mobile on there in order to see the new attached GPS features.And that’s it, there’s not anything else to do or configure.Using it:This is similarly as simple.

To use the connected mode you’ll pass to begin a workout like you forever would by tapping the little runner man (or woman) icon.You’ll then decide on your game (be aware you defined the ones inside of the app beneath More > Garmin Devices > Activity Options), which is a sensible time to element out that as element of this similar firmware update (4.00), Garmin has added cycling as an activity. So, I particular cycling for my ride to paintings:After you’ve specific your sport on the device itself, it’ll ask you whether you want to “Use Phone GPS?”:If you choose ‘Yes’, it’ll go forward and be sure it can attach to your phone.  Once it’s done, it’ll verify that. It might take a few seconds, and in a few situations I had to open my telephone up for it to make the initial connection, then I could stick it in my pocket.After confirming it’s connected you’ll visit a small phone icon next to your recreation, indicating the connection to your telephone for connected GPS. Simply double-tap like average to start the workout.And then at this aspect you’re off and recording like ordinary, now with center cost and GPS for distance. In fact, you’ll visit distance as smartly as speed for cycling as options within the configurable archives fields on your telephone:  And at the related time as out riding (or something it is you do), you’ll go to that metric here as well.

In my case, I conveniently did a travel to the place of business as my test. Nothing fancy. The top line is the distance. Sorry, the photo makes the demonstrate appearance funky, the refresh rate on these forms of wearables makes it in fact difficult for cameras to get sensible clean images (and in this case, my leading camera battery had died so I had to use my telephone).Afterwards I saved the quick song, and certain adequate you’ll now get a map on Garmin Connect/Garmin Connect Mobile. Note you’ll visit it displays ‘Connected GPS’ on the minimize left side. And here’s how that GPS looked accuracy-wise attached to my iPhone X on my motorcycle’s handlebars with a Quadlock mount, as in comparison to the committed GPS of the Garmin Venu on the other wrist:In normal it’s pretty close, then again there are situations wherein the Connected GPS Vivosmart 4 goes a bit askew, such as this section here (the Venu is spot-on):And then back a bit later where it went to the wrong avenue again.

In fact, in both situations it appears to lock onto a close by street (yet I become on the motorbike direction next to it).

Which is kinda funny. I’m not conscious of any good judgment to do that, so these could be just accident as opposed to a few form of exact good judgment using phone records.Ultimately, the committed GPS of Venu was better than the iPhone X connected Vivosmart 4.

Here’s the full GPS song for the ones that want to dig into it. As I noted, it’s not very long, without problems my go back and forth with a bit extra/tweaked for brilliant measure.In typical whilst I’m looking at ‘Connected GPS’ category implementations, you have to be aware that the phone’s GPS accuracy is a giant element of it. But it’s no longer the entire picture. Virtually every mainstream app that leverages GPS for fitness also does a few smoothing, tweaking, and in a different manner modification of the information coming in. Sometimes to ‘fix’ complications with it, and every now and then making things worse. While certainly Garmin has boatloads of GPS experience, they don’t to my expertise have boatloads of phone-based GPS health track adventure.

As such, I suspect we’ll go to them stumble thru all the weird idiosyncrasies of loads of phone models/vendors over the next few months as americans discover weird quirks. This can also include quirks around matters like dropouts of GPS or connectivity.These quirks are realistically the comparable stuff Fitbit has had to deal with for years, so they’ll have a bit of a jumpstart there. Though I don’t think that’ll count a ton. Garmin’s launching this on two products that in the grand scheme of the wearables international are pretty low-volume. Thus, they’ll be able to work matters out without too many nitpicky parents noticing.In any case – for now though – it’s a cool little feature that appears to work as expected, once you get it up and going for walks.(Side note: Some fogeys (including me) have noted some quirks with getting the new cycling sport to reveal up in the app, or on the tool.

I tried restarting the app without luck, notwithstanding I followed an individual on the Garmin Forums announcing to restart the telephone (yes, it’s odd).

That didn’t paintings for me though does for a few.

Nor may just the tool successfully attach to GPS on the telephone either initially. Ultimately, after guaranteeing my firmware changed into fully up to date, I went into the settings on the Vivosmart 4 and effortlessly reset it back to factory defaults with data deletion, and then deleted the Vivosmart 4 out of my Garmin Connect Mobile app, as neatly as deleted the listing in the Bluetooth preserve an eye on panel. Then I re-paired it like a new watch. Note you don’t lose any data in Garmin Connect this way, so as long as you’re sync is done previously you delete, the whole operation will take most effective about 2-3 minutes. I suspect that something become stuck in which the cellphone app wasn’t seeing the new 4.0 firmware on my tool, and hence now not beginning the doors to all the new features. In any case, hope this facilitates someone.)Going Forward:It’s fairly loads a no-brainer that Garmin’s going to include this in any new GPS-less wearable products going forward, such as they did last week with the Vivomove. Though, I suspect, like Fitbit, they’ll keep it to the mid-range GPS-less devices.

For example, Fitbit doesn’t definitely offer this on their reduce end ($69) Fitbit Inspire trackers. Only matters beginning at about $99 with the Inspire HR assist it. In Garmin’s case, I’ve gotta agree with that’d translate to the classic Vivofit collection no longer getting it. But possibly I’ll be wrong in the future.I think there are actually a few cooler use instances inside the Garmin atmosphere for this even though.

For example, the new V2 speed sensors that have offline garage on them. I’d love to see a basic toggle wherein I may have it automatically create an exact GPS tune while the speed sensor wakes up and talks to the phone (anytime the wheel starts).

Then from there I’d love to visit heat-maps of my cycling over time in my Garmin Connect account.Given that capability of the new sensors is definitely focused at motorcycle commuters, it’d be a superb cool feature, specifically in a per month abstract document like what Google and others do around location documents.And of direction longer-term I’d love to go to clean hand-offs between devices and the phone.

For instance – say your Garmin Edge tool is running low on battery throughout the last few miles of a century ride, down to its last 1%, and you desire a bit more time – how approximately handing off the completion of that GPS track to the phone?

This manner it all ends up on a unmarried activity. Again, I’m no longer asking for Garmin to recreate Strava, I’m searching for Garmin to find ways for this to supplement the devices americans buy. And this feature is infrequently unprecedent – Apple definitely does the inverse to shop battery: By default, if your telephone is with you, Apple Watch will use that signal as an alternative.In any case, you and I can come up with cool ideas all day long (in all probability drop them down below), in spite of this for now – this is a perfectly functional first strive at connected GPS for Garmin’s wearables.With that – thanks for reading!