You might have seen the picture of a lamp with Garmin’s name on it the past week on the company’s Instagram page. Today, Garmin revealed what that picture was all about.
The new Samsung SmartThings by Garmin widget on Garmin Connect IQ allows users to control their home through their Garmin Connect IQ compatible wearable device such as the new Fenix 5 or the older Forerunner 735XT and even the Fenix 3HR.
SmartThings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. There’s an entire suite of hardware peddled by Samsung SmartThings that include lights, sensors, cameras, door locks, thermostats and speakers and many more!
This new widget allows users to configure favorite routines so that perhaps lights can be turned on, thermostats can be triggered to set, or power to the coffee pot can be enabled after you wake up. Basically all you have to do to set off this series of automated events is through activating your pre-set “routines” from the compatible Garmin watch.Sounds great doesn’t it? Well it’s easy but not exactly that simple. What you require is actually the hub ($99) from SmartThings and of course compatible products. Then you have to set up your SmartThings account and customise your routines. Thereafter you have to connect both the Garmin Connect IQ widget with SmartThings. Failing which this widget would have zero use for you even if you own the top of the range Fenix 5X or the Fenix Chronos.
But the addition of the Samsung SmartThings by Garmin widget is merely the first of many new apps to make use of the new Connect IQ 2.3 features and these include:
“Being introduced in Connect IQ 2.3 are a suite of new features that will enable a new generation of innovative apps. While other smart watches turn off their screens to save power, Connect IQ’s Always Active Watch Faces allow Connect IQ custom watch faces to continuously update every second while maintaining industry-leading battery life2.
Action Intelligence provides new levels of access to the onboard sensors and allows developers to create metrics for everything from measuring boxing power, tennis racquet swings, rep counting and more. When combined with Connect IQ’s access to the Garmin Connect platform, developers will be able to take the best platform for the active lifestyle even further.
Background Services opens the ability for Connect IQ apps to periodically operate while the device is idle. These services can communicate with web, check on sensors, communicate with ANT, and even notify the user of an event. Watch faces can now also take advantage of background services, allowing new levels of rich content to live on the user’s watch face. In addition, there are several new tools in the Connect IQ SDK to make app development easier than ever.”
We’ve already seen the first feature where the second hand on a watch face updates its position every second without noticeable degradation of battery life.
I’m particularly excited about the Action Intelligence feature. According to Garmin, app developers now have access to on board hardware sensors to create metrics for events like boxing power and rep counting! As to how this will pan out I’m unsure. Will the collected metrics stay on watch? Be recorded within the Garmin Connect app? Can you even imagine having your cross-fit routine tracked by a widget right on the watch? Right now, the potential is immense even though things seem a bit fuzzy at present.
Yet these are all a clear indication that Garmin understands the limits of hardware pursuit and the importance of building up a credible Connect IQ app store in peddling their wearables.