Back in January we detailed what we’d like to see on the new unit. Since then we’ve looked at what Garmin have done with their non-cycling GPS units for a few clues as to where they’re headed with the new Edge. We can’t help but think that the increasing popularity of Strava might have been on the developers’ minds, too.
With that in mind, we think that connectivity will be improved in the new model. For example incorporating Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which would enable it to communicate with with modern mobile phones at short distances. This would be in addition to the ANT+ wireless protocol, which Garmins use to talk to heart rate monitor straps, power meter and other on the bike sensors.
We’re not sure how much of our original wishlist will be incorporated into the new device but that hasn’t stopped us coming up with a few more features in the meantime. Some of which we may not see for several years (if ever); some of which may come sooner.
1. More advanced multi-touch interface
We’ve speculated that Garmin will include a higher-resolution touchscreen for the Edge 900, but looking to the smartphone and tablet market, how about feturing a more advanced multi-touch interface similar to the one used on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices?
Users can toggle between display screens on the Edge 800 with a simple swipe, but with a bigger and sharper screen (without increasing the outward size), the ability to zoom in or out of map views could prove useful. The same would apply to a simple two-finger tap to start or stop the timer.
2. Strava-like rankings but in real time
Many Strava users can’t wait to finish their ride so they can upload their data and compare their stats – but what if you didn’t have to wait at all? Garmin’s automotive units already use live traffic updates via HD Radio signals, and can link to your mobile phone, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to integrate a similar live update feature to the new Edge 900. Imagine cresting a hill and immediately knowing where you stand in the pecking order?
The social aspect of many group rides has already begun to suffer the consequences of Strava’s perpetually competitive mindset, so much as we’d like to see a live version (likely using Garmin’s own huge library of ride data on Garmin Connect, not Strava’s) we hope this is a selectable function.
3. Voice-activated commands and spoken data
Granted, this one might be unlikely. But the benefits of keeping your hands on the bars and eyes on the road are just as applicable on a bike as they are in an automobile. Garmin already uses similar technology on some Nüvi models, so this would be easy to integrate into the Edge 900, at least in theory.
This way, users wouldn’t have to glance down to check speed, power, or heart rate information. Instead, they could perhaps say something like, “Edge, current power.” The computer would then simply read the information aloud.
4. 3D terrain and landmark views
We’re already anticipating an improvement to the Edge 800’s turn-by-turn navigation system, but along with that we’re hoping Garmin will include its eye-catching 3D terrain and landmark views on the new Edge 900.
This feature obviously wouldn’t have much use on familiar routes, but it could be quite handy if you were pedaling somewhere you’d never been before.
5. Built-in camera with geotagging
One of the best features of Garmin’s outdoor-oriented Oregon series of GPS units is its built-in camera, which stores position data with the image file. Sure, this sort of thing is neat to have when sharing images, but it’s also tremendously useful in terms of navigating lesser-traveled terrain.
A built-in camera could be a useful addition to the next Garmin GPS unit
Say you’re out in the woods on a ride you haven’t done in years and can’t remember how to find that secret trail that you’ve climbed hours to hit. Marking the location on your GPS is handy, but if you can pair that with an image of what you’re looking for – maybe one that automatically pops up once you’re on site – that would be even better.
Now that we’ve told you what we think we might see on the new Garmin Edge 900, what’s on your wishlist? Let us know in the comments area below.