Garmin - Tablet - interface
I am thinking about buying a tablet primarlity for use when away to be able to connect to Garmin Connect, so I can load/download routes/maps. While I manage with a PC or laptop it seems to get a might complicated with a tablet
Do you buy a tablet with a usb port. can the tablet support the load and will it communicate ?
Do you buy a tablet with a slot for a micocard ie and use as an interface between both devices
Does anyone have experience of a set up that will work without being very complicated to set up
i.e. plug in and go
or even offer help in setting up
There are a couple of problems with a tablet when using a web based service like Garmin Connect.
I'm assuming that you will be using an Android tablet of some description. iPads have there own sets of complications, Windows tablets less so.
Firstly, if you want to communicate with your Garmin Edge via USB, this may not be supported by the Android implementation on your tablet (manufacturers have their own ways of implementing the operating system, which, although a common software system, can have different ways of working on each platform).
Secondly, Garmin's PC based Garmin Express drivers that are used to communicate with various Garmin devices isn't available on Android or iOS.
Also, unless you have a USB OTG (OnTheGo) cable, you may not be able to see the Garmin as a mass storage device. This varies with tablet manufacturer! With the adaptor, depending on your device, you may also need a USB Y adaptor so that you can plug in a power adaptor to provide enough juice for the Garmin.
In saying that, I've heard of people transferring to Micro SD cards and transferring that way, but plug and go it certainly won't be. Also, Garmin Connect on the web, is designed for desktop/laptop use in the main, and isn't always that friendly when trying to draw and edit routes! It doesn't support local saving of files fully either.
There are apps that can give you some functionality. On Android, apps like Sportablet allow a better method communication, and enable, at the very least, transfer from your Garmin device to services like Connect etc.
On iOS on an iPAD or iPhone, you'd probably need a Wahoo Ant+ adaptor, which would give you communication over the Ant+ channel that is native to all Garmin devices.
If you have a newer Garmin like the 810 or 1000, life can be easier, as they support Bluetooth and can connect with Garmin Connect mobile, and therefore give a native interface for upload and download.
If you use a Windows tablet, such as a Surface Pro, you should be able to run Garmin Express and therefore have all the functionality of a laptop, and the only issue you may have will be the USB driver and the power output of the USB port. Easily sorted as there appear to be a few support articles for users who have had problems in connecting to their devices.
Lots to think about, plenty of possibilities, none of the plug and play though!
Confused? You will be 😉