"Global leader in satellite navigation" concedes that using a smartphone is fine for most people

The new Garmin Fit app for iPhone and Android tracks speed, pace, distance, time and calories with mapping along with heart rate and cadence too if you have the Ant+ accessories.

Garmin is also launching an ANT+ adapter for iPhone, so that owners of heart rate monitors, cadence monitors and the like using the universal Ant+ wireless device protocol can make the best of the new app on their iPhones. There's no word from Garmin on when there will be an Android version.

"Garmin Fit is the ideal solution for users who are new to the fitness tracking landscape and for those looking to stay totally connected," said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. "To be able to utilise Garmin’s powerful fitness accessories with the same device that plays music, makes calls and uploads workouts automatically to share and analyse, makes Garmin Fit a must have app."

Garmin Fit uploads into the existing Garmin Connect online network where users can compare and share the data from rides, runs and other activities over time.

Garmin Fit app iPhone screenshots

The new app is a departure for Garmin who in billing themselves as the "global leader in satellite navigation" have set the pace in selling premium GPS hardware to cyclists, runners and indeed car drivers wanting to take advantage of the US government providing its military satellite service for domestic navigation.

By providing an inexpensive piece of software allowing smartphone users to monitor most of the functions most people need most of the time - assuming they care about how fast they're going or where they've been - Garmin is clearly in danger of undermining the need for their dedicated hardware.

On the other hand and thinking specifically about bike products like the new Garmin Edge 200, they are undeniably well made, waterproof and run for a good 15 hours on one charge, which is something any smartphone will struggle to achieve while running GPS.

By taking on established smartphone cyclists' app platforms like MapMyRide, Cyclemeter and Strava, Garmin can introduce new users to the Garmin Connect community where they're in the ideal place to read about the benefits of dedicated hardware, even if it's just peripherals like heart rate monitors, cadence meters and the forthcoming Vector power measuring collaboration with Look.

The app costs 69p in the UK and the iPhone Ant+ adaptor £39.99.

Details: garmin.co.uk  download iPhone app here and Android here

Garmin Ant+ adaptor for iPhone £39.99: allows wireless comms with other Ant+ accessories like heart rate monitor straps, cadence meters and the forthcoming Garmin Vector power pedals with Look.