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The million dollar question: new Messenger app compatibility?

Apparently the new app - bringing with it the long requested message transport unification - will be compatible with other Garmin inReach devices (following a firmware update).

So which devices???

On the one want I can't see any technical reason why this shouldn't be ALL of them (the new special sauce all happens on the phone, the device itself needs to know nothing about it).. on the other hand I can see Garmin possibly using this as a nudge to encourage users of legacy products to upgrade, especially as I suspect inReach products likely have a longer owner-decides-the-need-an-upgrade cycle vs other Garmin devices. Then again, inReach product lines stand out as one of their few lines to attract ongoing monthly subscription (vs. upfront cost only) so it does still pay for Garmin to keep their existing user base happy with new features.

(said differently: I really hope they give their legacy products some love here - I really want this feature!)

  • Dcr mentioned in his overview review:

    "The new Messenger app will also become available via firmware update for the GPSMAP 66i, Montana 700i/750i, Alpha 200i, and the inReach Mini 2 units."

  • Makes me 50% happy! Shame there's no love for the original inReach Mini, while I suspected as much I'm still a tad disappointed given no technical limitation but simply an older product.

    Will make my case to Garmin, which will very likely fall on deaf ears, I can but try :)    

  • Perhaps you should ask dcr, if he can ask about the mini.. That would be the easiest and fastest way…Wink

  • Totally agree. I would understand leaving the Inreach Mini out if it was an old legacy product but the Mini 2 was only released in February this year. We are not talking about some completely outdated device, especially considering the Mini is still widely available for sale pretty much everywhere.  

  • Not compatible, sadly. I also have the inReach Mini 1. Just tried to pair it and it says it's not supported. 

  • While you are right (not supported, and tbh unlikely to be sadly), just to note that even the devices that ARE slated to be supported (ie. beyond the new Garmin Messenger device the app has been released with) currently will not work before they receive a firmware update to enable. 

  • I suspect the differences in firmware between the mini and mini 2 are more than we realize.  Maybe even a completely different software architecture.  Otherwise they would have migrated the Mini over to Explore rather than requiring Earthmate.  It's all just software so I'm sure they could make it work if they wanted, but it clearly isn't as simple as flipping a switch.  I suspect Garmin would love to be able to just do away with Earthmate at this point.

  • Firmware differences might even be more than we think but as you highlighted it's just software, not to mention that the new app was designed from scratch: if they wanted to make it compatible with the first gen Inreach Mini they could have done certainly done it. You just embed Eearthmate into it in the form of an extra screen and you are done. 
    I'm more inclined to think that, having the Inreach Mini a much smaller customer base, tempting Gen I Inreach Mini onwers  to upgrade is important from a revenue standpoint. With adventure watch lines like the Fenix, they have much higher sales so they don't need to push new models that hard.. 

  • I suspect Garmin would love to be able to just do away with Earthmate at this point.

    This is doing away with Explore as well, which itself has a semi-legacy status given that the map-capable watches use Connect (mostly - they link to Explore as well) and "courses".