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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!)

  • My million dollar question is whether an inReach mini 1 device will be able to participate in group chats, direct from the device? OR even if the mini 1 can be added to a group chat? I have an application where a group of us have varying devices that we carry whilst out in the field. If the new devices (messenger, mini 2, etc...) can be setup to chat in a group, can my  mini 1 join in the fun, or is it obsolete now? In fact, can the messenger unit communicate directly with the mini 1 (I assume so, via garmin id).

  • Since we can't use the new app, I don't think we can group chat. 

  • From the messenger manual:

    Without an inReach subscription, the app also provides a messaging experience for friends and family. Anyone can download the app and connect their phone, allowing them to communicate with other app users over the internet (no login is required). App users can also create group messaging threads with other SMS phone numbers. New members added to the group message can download the app to see what others are saying.

  • The app has the weird reliance on the mobile phone number of the account. Obviously, it doesn't intercept messaging on that phone number as it has its own inReach phone number, so it's probably a way to activate other Messenger apps for non-inReach users.

    This is not particularly well explained.

    I haven't found any indication on whether the inReach phone number is now permanently tied to a user (à la Zoleo) or a cell phone number or if if it can still change the way it is today.

  • Sure, if you have a cell connection. If you don't, all inReach devices except the Mini 1 would use the satellite connection to send and receive such messages. 

  • Here in this report they wrote an answer from Garmin about the first generation mini and messenger app:

    "Response from Garmin:

    Please note that the inReach Mini 2 will be compatible with the Garmin Messenger app when we release our firmware update, however the first generation inReach Mini will not be compatible. The first generation Mini was launched in 2018 and has some hardware limitations that prevent us from bringing it forward to new apps like the Explore app and the Messenger app.

  • Yeah so mini 1 isn't compatible with the new messenger app, but that doesn't answer the question whether the mini 1 can join in group chats from the device itself. My understanding is even the messenger and mini2 can be used directly from the unit without the app on the phone, so surely they must be able to respond to group messages - so why can't the mini 1?

  • my point is, the new messenger app certainly allows cell phone comms when available, but the messenger app plays no part if you're working on the messenger or mini 2 device directly, hence it shouldn't matter if you're on a mini 1, mini 2 or messenger or other device as long as it gets a firmware update...

  • Why can't my 66i use the Garmin "messenger app" I bought the flagship device and it does not have access to the seamless switching "messenger app" instead has a 1999 version of messaging built in. Woohoo!  Talk about a disappointing product features here Garmin your flagship device is antiquated. 

  • Why can't my 66i use the Garmin "messenger app" I bought the flagship device and it does not have access to the seamless switching "messenger app" instead has a 1999 version of messaging built in. Woohoo!  Talk about a disappointing product features here Garmin your flagship device is antiquated.