Polar Still Targeting "Elite Runners" With Its Wearables

Finnish consumer electronics manufacturer Polar Electro is keen to continue targeting "elite runners" with its wearables, Chief Strategy Officer Marco Suvilaakso told Wareable, indicating that devices such as the Polar V800 (pictured above) won't be going anywhere. The executive acknowledged the rising popularity of more casual solutions like the Apple Watch lineup and said such products can be beneficial for introducing more people to the concept of implementing technology into workouts, so long as their users aren't expecting a premium fitness-tracking experience.

While the Kempele, Finland-based company remains adamant to continue delivering wearables such as the Polar V800, it doesn't believe that robust capabilities must necessarily translate to a convoluted experience and a user interface with a steep learning curve, Mr. Suvilaakso suggested. Instead, Polar is looking at ways to make even professional metrics such as orthostatic hypotension more accessible to casual users with the goal of allowing them to gradually increase their dedication to fitness tracking, consequently improving the effectiveness of their workouts. The end result of that approach should ideally be a wearable that will be an easy purchase decision for professionals but one that also won't intimidate enthusiasts and more casual users, Mr. Suvilaakso believes. Moving forward, Polar is set to continue adding more functionalities to its offerings but has yet to make completely defined plans in regards to how to prioritize their inclusion. Collecting cadence and stride data are two activities the company believes will be useful to elite athletes but are unlikely to attract a wider audience anytime soon, whereas it sees dehydration and lactate levels as more straightforward metrics that even casual users would be willing to analyze as soon as they're given the option to do so.

Outside of its ambitions in the ultra-premium segment of the wearable market, Polar wants to continue experimenting with offerings like the Android Wear-powered Polar M600, Mr. Suvilaakso revealed, adding that such products will still be specifically aimed at non-elite athletes. The OEM is also keeping track of smart eyewear and the manner in which the emerging technology could revolutionize fitness tracking, though it doesn't have any immediate plans to enter that market, with its executive indicating the firm is waiting for the industry to be more mature before making any major commitments.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]