Sunday, March 18, 2012

Strava Wants to Turn Your Smartwatch into A GPS Watch

stravaA GPS running app has been updated to allow a sleek and sexy smartwatch to replace your clunky sport GPS watch or your plastic oddly-colored fitness tracker. The Strava Running and Cycling GPS app has been around for a while, and recently announced compatibility with android wear smartwatches in an effort to get in on the new fad and take over for your GPS. The app requires using your phone’s GPS which, as we all know, isn’t nearly as reliable for positioning as a dedicated GPS device. However, unlike a dedicated GPS device the app is free (with a premium option, of course).

The app allows for route tracking and plotting; GPS positioning; measurements for: speed, pace, elevation, distance, calories burned; heart monitoring; leaderboards; following friends on Facebook and sharing stats/photos. It may allow for waypoints, as the app description says you can “Explore the most popular segments anywhere you go” but it is unclear—it might simply be pre-planned routes.

I haven’t tried it out, but it makes me wonder if Smartwatches are going to up the ante for traditional GPS sportwatches, much like phone apps have changed the way dedicated GPS devices function and are priced. If it takes off, it might even spell the death for GPS sport watches, as only the most dedicated enthusiasts will want to keep up with that many separate devices for one task. But then again, with the reliability and tracking options available for GPS watches, maybe not. It will be interesting to see where it goes!



  1. Heart monitoring would still require a separate chest or wrist device to collect/transmit data to the phone app, correct?

    • Yes, it requires the use of a Zephyr HxM Bluetooth sensor attached to a strap. It looks like it wirelessly communicates with the device to record heart rate and such.

  2. Rick Brown says:

    Unfortunately, the Pebble is the Forest Gump of smartwatches. The only thing “smart” you can do with it is return it for a refund. It basically is not much more than an expensive wrist vibrator. If you think you’re going to use Strava with it, think again. Sure you can see some Strava info on the display. But, only elapsed time, total distance and average speed (no heart rate data, no current speed, no split times, etc.) – not very useful for serious training. The display is not configurable and users have been asking Pebble to add data to their API for years to no avail. The Pebble isn’t even a very good watch. Save your money.

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