Polar isn’t as big a name in fitness watches as competitors like Garmin, but it believes it has a way to expand its footprint: licensing its technology to rivals. The company currently makes 25 fitness algorithms available to some companies. “Powered by Polar” watches can use the brand’s activity, health and sleep tracking knowledge in conjunction with their own hardware and services. Third parties don’t need to pour years of research into their products just to get started, Polar said.
The first watch to use Polar’s framework is Casio’s new G-Shock G-Squad GBD-H2000. There aren’t many official details at this stage, but the successor to the GBD-H1000 is expected to have the same chunky design while adding Polar’s fitness science and a gyroscope. It should still include solar-assisted charging, GPS and multiple sensors including an altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer.
Polar isn’t a complete stranger to offering fitness tech to business customers, such as online tracking devices. It has solutions for coaches, fitness classes, schools and teams. However, this is the first time it has provided direct technology to the competition. In theory, this brings advanced fitness tracking to a wider range of devices, and could allow watchmakers to consider fitness products that weren’t options before.
To some extent, however, this is an acknowledgment that Polar’s in-house watches are not the strongest sellers. The company describes itself as a “top 10 player” in wearables, but it still remains behind the heavyweights. Garmin is the only fitness-first watch brand whose shipments cracked the top five in the second quarter of 2022, according to Canalys estimates, and it has 5.5 percent of the market. Algorithm licensing helps Polar increase its revenue and influence regardless of the selling price of the device.
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