Suunto today announced SuuntoPlus Guides, a new application platform that opens the door to incorporate third-party features into the latest Suunto models (S9, S9P, S5, S5P, S3).
This is not the first time that Suunto has had options to add functionality to its watches. Back in the days of the Ambit and the Movescount platform, it was possible to create small apps that allowed basic functions to be added to the watch. Mathematical calculations, etc.
This died with the change of platform to the Spartan. But today, thanks to SuuntoPlus Guides, these applications are recovered and offer more functionality than they did in those days.
SuuntoPlus guides are small applications that support alerts based on the watch's sensors, time, distance, etc. Developers can use a multitude of variables to trigger alerts on the watch display.
Here the imagination of the developer is key. For example time-based nutrition reminders, alerts based on altitude or temperature, interval training based on heart rate, pace or power... The possibilities are many and Suunto says this is just the beginning.
At the time of launch there are twelve external platforms that allow the use of these small applications, this is the list:
How SuuntoPlus Guides works
I said that SuuntoPlus Guides allows applications, but they are not applications that you download to the watch that you can find in the menu, they are synchronizations of each of the platforms in a format that the watch interprets to add those warnings or alerts.
From the Suunto App 1TP11 we can synchronize the different supported platforms. The current list is the one you can find above but it is an open API for developers, so anyone who wants to add functionality has only to follow the developer manuals to perform cross-platform communication.
When both platforms are synchronized, the Suunto App downloads from the server of the connected application the corresponding file, and that is synchronized directly to the watch.
For example, let's take TrainingPeaks synchronized workouts. They are associated with a certain date, so that guide will only be available during the current day, and tomorrow it will no longer be available.
But there is a "Fix to clock" button. If you activate it, this guide will be fixed to the watch and will not depend on the calendar, but will be available on the watch at all times.
That is, the only thing we have to do in the application is to synchronize the platform we want to use, and keep the clock synchronized, nothing else.
In addition, Suunto has four applications that have been included by default, with running technique training, strength training, swimming exercises...
In the watch, before starting an activity, we must select the SuuntoPlus Guides we want to use (translated: the interval training we want to do), exactly as it was previously done with SuuntoPlus.
Here we will find the guides that you have added by synchronization, plus those incorporated in Suunto that you have seen before. Like SuuntoPlus an additional screen of the application in question is added.
The limitations are the same as with SuuntoPlus. It is only possible to select one per activity, either from SuuntoPlus or from the guides. So if you do an Intervals.ICU workout you cannot combine it with a SuuntoPlus function. This is a memory limitation of the watches that will be solved in future models, but it is in the current platform.
Suunto has today taken a first step towards the future it wants to move towards. A totally open platform in which not only they are the ones who contribute to its development but others can also be part of it.
In a way Suunto is offloading the work that should be done by them to third party developers, for whom it creates an API that they can use. Is that a bad thing? Not at all, if there is an agreement between the different platforms and it benefits all parties it doesn't matter how it is executed.
Suunto benefits because it offloads work to other companies. Those other companies gain integration and the ability to offer their product on other platforms. And users get more functionality on their devices.
From what I have podido ojearear of the developer manuals, the task to prepare the integrations is not complicated. You don't have to adapt or program complex applications, everything is under very simple JSON language and without excessive variables. Any developer can add a guide without too much effort.
Obviously there are limitations. The first of these is the one already mentioned in terms of hardware capacity. The watches are what they are and their performance is limited. This is software from 2022 for a watch from 2018 (and from an even older platform).
But as they say, this is the beginning, the starting point for SuuntoPlus Guides and as an extension to the SuuntoPlus we already knew. It is a way to open doors to new developments whose development will not be exclusive to Suunto. Currently there are 12 external platforms supported, but surely a few more will be added in the medium term.
Suunto for its part has to continue working on the possibilities offered by the guides, probably adding more triggers, more complex routines, adapting to what the users demand and ask for (something to which they pay quite a lot of attention). I am sure that the guides will not stay here and that we will see more things in the future.
And with that... thanks for reading!