Image source: Garmin

Garmin Q3 Beta: Exciting firmware updates for Forerunner 955 & 255

Earlier today, Garmin discreetly rolled out firmware updates for its Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 255 series. This marks the commencement of the Q3 software release cycle for these watches.

The updates, labeled as version 16.09, introduce a range of features that were first debuted with the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix 2 Pro. It is expected that these enhancements will soon extend to other models in the Garmin watch lineup.

Understanding the Release Candidate stage (Pre-Rollout)

The terms “Release Candidate” and “pre-rollout” denote the phase where the installation of the software needs to be manually initiated by the owner of the watch. This stage can be equated to the Alpha phase of the rollout. The version is set to become an over-the-air Beta update in the near future (for those registered for the Garmin Beta programme), provided no critical issues are detected.

Users who are open to experimenting with this update on their Garmin Forerunner 955 or 255 devices can now install the software. The process is straightforward.

Simply navigate on your watch to: Main menu > Settings > System > Software Update > Check For Updates.

We successfully downloaded and installed software 16.09 on our Forerunner 955 a few hours ago. It took about 10 minutes for everything to complete.

Feature additions

The new firmware brings a wealth of features to the Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 255 series. It is anticipated that equivalent software for Garmin Forerunner 265, Forerunner 965 as well as the non-Pro versions of Fenix 7 and Epix 2 will be released in the coming days.

Muscle maps for HIIT, cardio, and pilates activities

One of the additions is the integration of muscle maps into HIIT, Cardio, and Pilates activities. This feature provides users with a visual representation of the muscles engaged during these workouts, offering a more in-depth understanding of their exercise routines and helping them target specific muscle groups more effectively.

Endurance Score and Hill Score Glances

For the Forerunner 955, the update introduces the Endurance Score and Hill Score glances. The Endurance Score is a fluid metric that adjusts over time to mirror fluctuations in your stamina. A superior score indicates an enhanced ability for sustained performances, offering a measurable gauge of your endurance potential. This score incorporates every activity you record utilizing a heart rate monitor.

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The Hill Score glance, on the other hand, offers insights into performance on inclines. This may be a valuable tool for runners and cyclists training on varied terrains.

Unfortunately, owners of the 255 cannot look forward to this update.

Map types and map data field options

Both models will see the addition of new map types and map data field options. These enhancements offer users more flexibility in how they view and interact with geographical data during their workouts, whether they’re navigating unfamiliar routes or tracking their progress on a regular running path.

Workouts app and new activities

Next up, the updates adds a Workouts app to the Activities & Apps list, providing users with a dedicated space to manage and track their workout routines. Furthermore, the firmware introduces new activities for team sports and racket sports, expanding the watches’ tracking capabilities to a wider range of physical activities.

The full list of additional sports is as follows: American Football, Archery, ATV, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, BMX Cycling, Boxing, Cricket, Drive, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Lacrosse, Mixed Martial Arts, Motorcycle, Motocross, Overland, Platform tennis, Racquetball, Rugby, Snowmobile, Soccer/Football, Softball, Squash, Table Tennis, Ultimate Disc, Volleyball.

It should be noted that the Forerunner 255 misses out on a few of these sports.

Notification watch-face data field

The updates add the ability for the notification watch face data field to display names or numbers. This feature allows users to quickly identify incoming calls or messages without having to interact with their device. It should be a handy tool for those who want to stay connected during their workouts.

Various enhancements and fixes

Alongside the new features, the updates also bring a series of fixes. These include resolving the Pace Pro screen freeze, ensuring the flashlight retains its last brightness level, addressing some issues with Spotify, fixing the popularity map theme not being displayed, and resolving issues with glance folders. Various other fixes have also been implemented to enhance user experience.

GPS and Sensor Hub firmware updates

In addition to the above, both the Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 255 watches will receive GPS and Sensor Hub firmware updates. This should further enhance the functionality and performance of these devices.

The full change-log of the firmware updates can be seen on the Garmin forums (Forerunner 255 link; Forerunner 955 link).

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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