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LOOKing forward


Initially, the KeO Power system will only be compatible with Polar’s CS500 and CS600 series computers, using Polar’s proprietary WIN transmission protocol. The system will not be compatible with the Garmin-owned, open-source ANT+ protocol, so it cannot be used with any Garmin devices or the host of other ANT+ compatible head units. ANT+ is owned by Garmin, the company behind the upcoming Vector pedal-based power meter, so it is understandable that Look and Polar did not want to adopt a system owned by a direct competitor.

Instead, Polar is currently working with a host of other sports electronics companies to develop an open-platform, wattage-compatible Bluetooth Smart transmission protocol. Polar and Look plan to have the KeO Power Bluetooth compatible by late summer. For those that buy the system before then, upgrading will require only a firmware update — no hardware changes required.

The low-energy Bluetooth Smart system is already compatible with numerous smartphones, including the new iPhone 4s. Since the protocol will be open, any company can use it without licensing fees, so the number of available head units should increase drastically.

Saris, the company behind Powertap, is also involved in the development of the Bluetooth Smart power protocol, though the company’s involvement is no guarantee that they will actually drop ANT+. SRM has been rumored to be headed towards Bluetooth as well.

As of now, the Polar head units are compatible with the company’s ProTrainer 5 software (Windows only) and PolarPersonalTrainer.com, which is both Mac and Windows compatible.

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