I love the way the internet is great for people to throw out ideas and watch a seed germinate. So I’m going to try it with one of the most rumoured about products not on the market (and no whispered titbits about development either!) the Polar V900…
A Little History
The global heart rate monitoring company Polar based in Finland but in worldwide markets hold many patents on technologies pertaining to heart rate monitoring both in the exercise and medical fields. They’ve been instrumental in measure, monitor and analysis since 1977 and introduced the first retail heart rate monitor the Sports Tester PE2000 in 1982.
Long before Garmin shifted to personal body tracking with GPS in 2006 with the introduction of Forerunner and Fitbit emerged on the scene in 2008, Polar was making performance and fitness wearables. Now 34 years after the PE2000 in 1982, the company has a new range of performance fitness trackers and heart rate monitors for the athlete in all of us.
The product range can be simply broken down as:
Loop – 24/7 activity monitor with daily goals, steps, sleep and H7 pairing for calorie & HRM
A300 – with or without HRM as per Loop but with sports profiles and watch.
A360 – as A300 except inbuilt optical HRM.
M400 – as per A300 with inbuilt GPS for pace & distance information
V800 – as per M400 with better battery & multisport options.
Also cycling V450 and V650 head units.
So Polar have their product line defined, very much in an end to end user experience with Flow app (for mobile analysis and syncing), Flow web (for planning and management of profiles), Balance (for weight and goal setting) and a host of accessories for the units.
Cut to the Chase- V900!!
So with the V800…
In Spring / Summer 2014 Polar outdated their RCX5 multi-sport watch and introduced a sweet looking watch with integrated GPS which had multi-sport profiles and a multi-sport or triathlon mode.
Polar as a company don’t compare with competitors (I will though to give context and help people understand where I see the V900 fitting in) but the V800 is roughly equivalent to the Garmin 920xt. Swim, bike, run count strokes, steps, paces, power meter etc all roughly the same (different markets ANT+ and BTLE, but roughly the same)
However, at the same time maybe intentionally or inadvertently by virtue of excellent hardware the V800 also fell into the market dominated by the Garmin Fenix range Suunto Ambit also. Long life battery – 50 hours, outdoor sport profiles: kayak, climbing, hiking etc meant it was attractive to ultra runner and adventure racers.
Sorry, I mean… BUT
the problem with the V800 in the ultra or Adventure Racing market is a lack of functionality to make it a true outdoor watch, (A/B/C & mapping) which is where I think the V900 should come in.
As a final point to Polar on the V800 – do nothing except more Flow features and firmware updates. It is a cracking watch as it is.
My V900 development ideas…
- Battery – already excellent but if a way can be found for ultra, ultra track mode to afford up to 100hour battery life on GPS it would be awesome for multiday racing.
- Face – square it or make it truly round. Analog face does not look good on a rectangle. The V800 is solid and robust enough on the wrist so no need to go chunky. With a bigger face a larger colour screen can be created which for features below will be important:
- Watch Features –
- colour screen will help with mapping and contour
- inbuilt altimeter, barometer and compass which can be operated independent of GPS functions.
- Download GPX track to enable route following*
- Bread crumb, track back feature to start point (in V800 as is but important to stress that it remains)
- Enable wrist sensor for stroke count in paddle sports. There for running & swimming, no reason why not there for paddle sports.
- Retain all the sports profiles of the V800.
- Retain the Free Multisport – THIS IS MY SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE no other company does this as well as Polar do.
- I do but don’t want optical HR on the V900. Optical will drain battery but ultimately will be more comfortable when racing for 2 or 3 days so I do see the benefit. The H7 allows for longer wrist battery life.
- In the V900 redevelop the H7 (H9) to allow advanced metrics like Garmin have done with ground contact, vertical oscillation etc. – in hindsight may be an upgrade more suited to the V800 than V900.
After that it is all firmware and website stuff.
I’d really like to see the ability to upload your own photos and videos to feature in the Relive function or to be able to create your own data overlay.
I really want the Training Programs and related Training Load features that were available on PolarPersonalTrainer.com to be enabled on Flow.
That’s my summary and thoughts. What would you like to see? Feel free to post below in the comments and add to the discussion on Facebook.