Redefining what you can do with your smartwatch

“Nine months ago, I didn’t expect to say this, but I’m still on my wrist,” said John Galvin about the 51mm Garmin Quatix 6X Solar.

Galvin, 38, was a lifelong analog watch enthusiast who wore a Casio G-Shock with a traditional dial since childhood. Then his girlfriend surprised him with a Garmin watch last Christmas. “I haven’t even crossed the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Quatix can do, but I’ve come to believe in the world of smartwatches,” says Galvin.

As captain of a 70-foot Viking Sports Fishing Yacht, Galvin spends his days in the Atlantic Ocean, spending his days in Nantucket and Cape Cod in the summer and in Miami’s South Beach district in the winter. Having worked as a private captain for the past 14 years, Galvin is proud to run the most technologically advanced ship possible. “Now you can put all your electronics on his wrist with the push of a button,” he said.

The smartwatch category is less than a decade old, but as sales grow, manufacturers such as Apple, Garmin, and Suunto are redefining the capabilities of smartwatches, from manipulating boats to changing car lighting. increase.

Three models in Garmin’s Quatix series are preloaded with apps for workouts and contactless payments. Prices range from $ 699 to $ 1,149 and offer some advances with deeper, more tuned connections.

“This is called the James Bond feature,” said David Dunn, senior director of marine sales at Garmin.

“You can drive a boat with a watch,” he added. “No other marine manufacturer can do what we are doing and connect directly to marine electronics.”

The autopilot control app preloaded on the watch connects to a compatible chartplotter to maintain a specific GPS route and display real-time data such as speed, depth, engine speed, and water temperature. Can be used for.

Other preloaded options, according to Dan, include what the company calls Sail Assist, racing aids such as countdown timers and virtual startlines, and control of in-flight entertainment systems.

Extending the use of smartwatches through connections is not limited to sailor equipment. Earlier this year, a second generation of Mercedes-Benz user experience, an information and entertainment system, was introduced in the carmaker’s new S-Class sedan, which introduced a unique algorithm called the Energizing Coach.

Users will be instructed to download the Mercedes Me Connect app from the Apple or Android app store to compatible Garmin smartwatches, including branded Mercedes-Benz Venu models.

When the app is linked to an S-class system, the smartwatch sends the user’s pulse rate, stress level, and sleep quality data to the car. The algorithm then uses that information to suggest changes to interior graphic display colors, lighting intensities, temperatures, audio levels, etc., and recommends seat massage settings.

Kip Dondlinger, Garmin’s automotive design and planning leader, said: “One of the biggest areas of interest for car makers is to use watches as digital keys. See.”

And later this year, Kansas-based Garmin gave Geely, a Chinese car company that owns Volvo, Lotus and Polestar, another feature of branded watches designed to unlock car doors. Will be provided with.

Garmin isn’t the only watch brand or technology company investing in the keys to digital vehicles. Apple has been working with the Car Connectivity Consortium, a cross-industry organization specializing in advancing smartphone-to-car solutions, to adopt digital keys. The BMW Group was first used on the 2021 model. Digital keys currently only work on Apple iPhones (using iOS 13.6 and above) and are available on some BMW models manufactured after March 2020.

Apple has also endeavored to streamline travel and life at home.

In September, the company announced that Arizona and Georgia will be the first states where users can upload their driver’s license or state ID to the Apple Wallet on their iPhone or Apple Watch, and six other states will soon follow. Did. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also states that this feature will be accepted at security checkpoints at some airports.

According to Apple, digital home keys will also be introduced later this fall, allowing the Apple Watch to be used instead of physical keys, enabling contactless check-in at Hyatt hotels around the world.

Smartwatches are used not only for things, but also for connecting people.

As a long-distance runner, Brian Wortley said he was considering doing trail running in solo sports. “No one else wants to run 30 miles at a time,” he said.

But “the most important thing to start trail running is to see what other people are doing and how they connect creative and specific routes.” Mr. Wortley, 32, said.

After hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012, Wortley said he fostered a passion for endurance sports and the gear that accompanies them. “I studied Suunto, but I didn’t really look back,” he said.

Started in Finland 85 years ago as a field compass company, Suunto now manufactures sports watches, diving products and compasses.

Wortley bought Suunto Ambit 1 in 2012, moved to Ambit 2, and recently bought Suunto 9 Baro. Wortley, a resident of York, said that most of his running is done in the woodlands, so he has come to rely on watches as a lifeline. Introduced by Suunto in 2018, a feature called the Breadcrumb Trail allows him to follow his steps in the event of a loss of service. The storm warning measures atmospheric pressure and issues an alarm when bad weather is approaching.

Otherwise, lifeline comparisons are more intangible. “I ran the route, but didn’t cross the road with someone in endurance sports until I made a digital connection,” Wortley said.

The company’s Suunto 7 watches are equipped with heatmaps that “most people show the brightest heat in places where they play sports,” said Markus Kemetter, Suunto’s product manager. “The difference between us and others is that we support 20 different sports around the world, from open water swimming to cross-country skiing.”

Kemetter said Suunto has about one million users contributing to the heatmap that first appeared on watches in February 2020.

“When you hike through very rooted rocky terrain at high speeds and run everywhere for 10 to 15 hours, there’s always room for mistakes,” Wortley said. “All my data is. It’s on my watch and the data is really important to me. “

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