Garmin Added This Hot Smartwatch Feature to Match Apple and Samsung

January 7, 2019, 12:00 PM UTC
vivoactive smartwatch connects to verizon
Garmin is introducing a new version of its Vivoactive smartwatch that will include cellular connectivity on Verizon's network. Courtesy of Garmin
Courtesy of Garmin

Smartwatch maker Garmin is adding a new feature to its lineup in an effort to match market leaders Samsung and Apple. The “vivoactive 3 Music – connected by Verizon” will be Garmin’s first smartwatch with cellular connectivity, a feature its two larger rivals added over the past few years.

The cellular version of the vivoactive will go on sale by the end of March at a price that will be announced later. The current version, which comes without a cellular connection, sells for $300.

Apple’s cheapest Series 4 watch model with cellular costs $500, while Samsung’s Galaxy Watch with cellular starts at $370. Watches from both rivals can be used on various cellular networks, while Garmin’s initial product, as the name implies, works exclusively on Verizon’s.

Wireless carriers typically charge $10 monthly for adding a smartwatch to a phone plan.

Garmin claims the new watch has a battery that will last up to five days, considerably longer than the one or two day battery life of the cellular-enabled Apple and Samsung watches and more in line with Fitbit’s Versa and Ionic smartwatches, which lack the cellular feature.

Like the latest Apple Watch, which has a built-in fall detection system, the new Garmin watch also has a safety monitoring feature, which the company calls incident detection. If the watch senses an impact while the user is walking, running or cycling, it will automatically notify a preset emergency contact about the user’s real-time location. Users can also set the watch to let friends or family track them in real time.

“We’re excited to introduce these new safety and communication features to the Verizon-connected vívoactive 3 Music to give added peace of mind on the go, so leaving your phone at home can be a choice instead of a cause for panic,” Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales, said in a statement.

Garmin (GRMN) ranked as the fourth-largest seller of smartwatches worldwide in the third quarter of 2018, trailing Apple (AAPL), Fitbit (FIT), and Samsung as measured by the number of devices shipped, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Garmin’s stock price, which has been volatile recently due to fears of Chinese tariffs, has gained 9% over the past year, outperforming the S&P 500, which has lost 7% over the same period.

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