In addition is it possible for the firmware to be hacked in order to enable more Connect IQ data fields? Up to 5 would be ideal
Currently the only available way to display more than two CIQ data fields in an activity is by using an app integrating the required functionality and displaying the data either by alternating the values on the same screen field, or by adding a full custom screen containing all the data. The first method is relatively easily achievable, and indeed used by some CIQ apps (including my own ones). The second method requires a more complicated CIQ app model, and brings some other complications, but it remains a possibility.
Which CIQ data fields do you exactly need to combine on the concerned activity? Perhaps there is an available solution for your case.
The purpose of the limitation is the fact that each active CIQ app slows down the CPU, and draws more battery power. Garmin is apparently afraid that by allowing a higher number of CIQ apps in an activity, the impact on the performance and on the endurance of the watch would be too important.
thank you so much for the detailed response! I had no idea about the workarounds you mentioned but they give a little bit of hope. I currently don't own a Garmin watch only a Garmin Edge 530 so I see how Connect IQ apps write to the workout file for me to browse later. The watch I use for running is the Coros Pace 2 and one of the sensors I connect to it is the Core Body Temperature sensor which requires a Connect IQ data field in order to be used in a Garmin run. The second watch in my setup is the apple watch ultra connected to my Engo 2 heads up display glasses. The purpose of the heads up display is to make it easier to follow the structured workouts loaded to my Coros Pace 2. If I want to connect my sunglasses to a Garmin watch I need to use another Connect IQ data field. As far as I know I need to use some Connect IQ data fields to follow my regular structured running power workouts especially with my Stryd sensor. Lastly I am interested in getting a runscribe one day to check my gait dynamically. This also can only connect to a Garmin watch via a Connect IQ data field
Two fields may be currently sufficient for you - one for the Core sensor, and another one for the Engo glasses. Instead of Stryd, you can use Garmin's native HRM-Pro strap which comes with similar functionality like Stryd, and does not require any CIQ fields.
If you get the Runscribe sensor, you'll have to decide which of the 3 gadgets you'll use in a standalone mode without connecting to the watch, or hope that in the mean time Garmin releases a new model or new firmware with more than two CIQ data fields available.
Having each gadget from a different manufacturer, I am afraid it is not very likely you'd find a developer willing to spend his time on developing a CIQ app for merging the data from multiple of your gadgets into a single field, or into a single data screen.
Two fields I don't see as sufficient for me. I would need three as a minimum which is why I was eyeing the Garmin 735xt and Epix 1 watches. Unfortunately both those watches are too old and don't seem worth the trouble. I'm not even sure they would be compatible with the Engo 2 Connect IQ data field which was designed with newer watches in mind. If I were to get a current release Garmin running watch now it would only be a side grade in terms of features. I would sacrifice using my Stryd sensor which I prefer in data quality. The benefit of a Garmin is not having the discrepancy between the Apple Watch running power being slightly lower than the Stryd running power recorded to my workout file. Having only two Connect IQ data fields wouldn't be the upgrade which I am looking for which is allowing me to use a runscribe in the same workout which I currently feel like I can make use of in terms of the data