Polar announces deep platform integration with new Sennheiser earbuds
Polar has just announced a very interesting new product. Or rather, Sennheiser just announced a new product and Polar is a key part of it. This is the first non-polar product to be fully integrated into the polar ecosystem, including full access to the Polar Flow app, training analytics metrics like Training Load Pro, Training Benefit, and even body temperature measurements.
In fact, it’s also the first device to display body temperature data not only in Polar Flow, but also with other Polar devices, like the Polar Vantage V3.
This may all seem confusing to you at first glance, if you haven’t been following the expanding trend for Polar that started last year with Casio. You see, last January Polar announced new software that enabled third-party entities to start leveraging Polar algorithms in their products. This means everything from burning calories, to recovery, training, and wellness. At the time of the announcement a year ago, there were about 25 different algorithms in the wallet.
Basically, if this was a feature in a Polar watch, other companies would likely license it. All in much the same way other companies used to license FirstBeat’s algorithms… until Garmin bought them out. Consequently, Casio took up the offer and began utilizing its algorithms last spring in the Casio G-Shock HBD-H2000.
But what Sennheiser does is a completely different level of integration. It’s an almost original Polar product, from the Polar Flow fitness platform. First, let’s go back briefly and talk about what it is.
Technical specifications of Sennheiser MOMENTUM earphones:
First up are the devices that run this, or at least take advantage of it. Next, we will return to what is accessible within the Polar Platform (Polar Flow).
Sennheiser is announcing the new MOMENTUM Sport earbuds, which are Bluetooth audio earbuds that play music (or anything else audio), plus have internal sensors to track heart rate and body temperature. From a specs standpoint, here are the more expensive items:
– Built-in heart rate sensor (30-220 bpm)
– Built-in temperature sensor (accuracy of +/- 0.3°C)
– Three-axis accelerometers
– Ability to touch to tap gestures
– IP55 water resistance level (earbuds)
– IP54 water resistance level (carrying/charging case)
– 10mm adapter
– Transparency mode selectable
– Anti-wind mode
– Adaptive noise cancellation mode
– Interchangeable ear fins and ear tips
– Transmits standard heart rate profile via Bluetooth (including apps like Peloton, Garmin watches, and more)
– Supports Bluetooth 5.2
– Supports aptX Adaptive, AAC, and SBC
– Sennheiser Smart Control app on iOS and Android
– 6 hours of playback per charge, for a total of 24 hours including case charging
– USB-C charging for the case
– Comes in Polar Black, Burnt Olive, or Graphite Metallic
– MSRP US$329/€329, available April 9, 2024
Oh, you got all that? Good – it was a great list of specifications.
The most notable thing about the list from a sports technology standpoint is that it broadcasts via a standard Bluetooth smart heart rate device profile, which is completely identical to a chest strap. At their CES presentation, they showed off linking the heart rate to Peloton and other apps/devices, just like any HR band out there. This is also attractive for apps like Zwift as well. Get clarification on the number of simultaneous HR connections, as well as whether there are any restrictions around needing to pair the HR connection to the same device as the audio connection (i.e., can you pair the HR with Zwift on an iPad, while listening to audio via Bluetooth from a movie on a TV Different).
Now, I wasn’t able to make it to CES this year, however here’s a quick gallery of press photos:
Instead, I want to focus on the integration parts with the Polar platform, which I’ve had more detailed discussions with Polar about. So, let’s dive into that.
Polar platform integration:
The depth of this integration cannot be overestimated. We haven’t seen anything like this from any fitness manufacturer I can think of. Even in the Google/Fitbit/Samsung trio around Wear OS and using Fitbit’s platform metrics, it’s still nowhere near that deep. This is more than just algorithms, it’s access to everything Polar seems to have from a features standpoint.
The first thing you need to understand is that the MOMENTUM SPORT connects directly to the Polar Flow app in a very similar way to the Polar Vantage V3 or any other Polar watch. It is effectively treated as a native-level device. You can see it here on the devices screen:
However, most notably, there is no requirement that the user have any pre-existing Polar device to account for or use this Polar Flow. You can purchase these headphones and access almost all of the Polar Flow features without any additional Polar Watch.
Within the app, you can start a workout paired with the earbuds, which provide heart rate data as well as new body temperature data. In contrast, the Polar Flow app feeds GPS data from your phone (if you’re abroad) – completing the data collection in the same way as a GPS watch.
Here you can see the Polar Flow app which displays real-time data of body temperature from the in-ear sensors on the Sennheiser MOMENTUM earbuds, as well as the minimum/maximum temperature. Sennheiser states that this is +/- 0.3°C in terms of accuracy, which would be sufficient (assuming it is actually accurate) to base training decisions on. You can see this data mid-workout, and also afterwards in Polar Flow.
What’s more, the Polar Vantage V3 will also start displaying this data, when connected to the Sennheiser MOMENTUM directly as a Bluetooth sensor. Here’s what that looks like, including both current/average/max, but also a graph showing the last 10 minutes of temperature change.
Again, this is notable because Polar does not currently connect to any body temperature sensors, especially the CORE body temperature sensor. Since Polar is now retiring this data type/sensor, we hope to see Polar hit the easy button, expanding connectivity to a sensor that many high-performance athletes already own. It would also be a good carrot for Polar Vantage V3 users in particular, who might be itching for more carrots.
The earbuds will also provide navigational guidance when paired with the Polar Vantage V3, but any existing earbuds will already do that today – as this only provides the audio side of things. If Polar expands turn-by-turn navigation to the Polar Flow app with these earbuds, that will be especially important.
Once you’ve finished a workout with a MOMENTUM Sport or Polar watch, it will post just like any other Polar fitness watch today, including all the advanced training/recovery load data you’d normally get.
Specifically, Polar has confirmed that the following comprehensive data types are available to MOMENTUM Sport users:
- Heart rate
– Training areas
- Body temperature
– Body temperature graph
- Benefit of training
- Download Training Pro
- Distance and route (for example, using the running profile in the Flow Training app, but this is not linked to the Sennheiser MOMENTUM SPORT earbuds)
Again, these are broad categories, but as anyone who has used Polar Flow knows, things like Training Benefit and Training Load Pro are broad areas with many metrics within them. Once we get closer to the April release date, we’ll have a better picture of exactly what the limitations are (if any), the nuances of things like multiple Polar devices, etc… I largely expect Polar to handle these internally from the platform Polar does the same thing as one of their lower level devices. Meaning I don’t see things like Recovery Pro in the list above, nor of course things like sleep metrics or metrics that rely on sleep data.
But again, all matters must be resolved in the future. Equally, all things I care to test.
However, I think this is very cool, and a really good way for Polar to scale its platform (and business), and potentially attract new customers – even if those new customers are indirect customers rather than direct customers.
However – stay tuned!
Did you find this post helpful? Support the site!
We hope you find this post useful. The website is truly a labor of love, so please consider becoming a DC RAINMAKER supporter. This gives you an ad-free experience, and access to our (mostly) bimonthly behind-the-scenes video series called “Shed Talkin’.”
DCRainMaker Support – Shop on Amazon
Otherwise, you might consider using the link below if you’re shopping on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this site a lot. You can simply buy toilet paper, or the pizza oven we use and love.
(Tags for translation)Polar