The Kinetic inRide and Smart and Smart Control trainers do not support ANT+ wireless communications (including FE-C). They are designed to work with mobile devices and desktop computers which currently have adopted Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as the industry standard for low power wireless communication. Very few mobile devices ship without BLE and every Mac and most Windows machines now have BLE as well*.
We understand that the Cycling industry has its roots in the ANT+ standard and there are many bike computers and other devices out there that are ANT+ only. Given that, we believe that supporting BLE as our wireless communication standard is currently the right decision for our products since we've created the inRide and Smart Control trainers to work in tandem with powerful mobile and desktop software for training purposes.
Here are a few reasons why we have adopted this position:
Supporting ANT+ on iOS requires direct collaboration and coordination with Wahoo Fitness as they own the only ANT+ adapter for iOS devices (30-pin only, and it is discontinued). They have to "whitelist" our iOS Applications in order to communicate with the adapter since they own the MFi Product Plan. Apple's MFi program also typically rejects duplicate MFi product ideas, so there is small chance of Kinetic getting an MFi Product Plan approved to create a competing ANT+ adapter. Our development team has a lot of experience with working with Apple's MFi department and how the MFi process works. At the end of the day, we did not want our Applications to be dependent upon Wahoo's approval nor risk App Store rejection due to the whims of another company. Overall, this is not an ideal situation and deciding to not support ANT+ on iOS was obvious.
Supporting ANT+ on Android is duplicating effort. Every Android device that has ANT+ has BLE, and since we had to have BLE for iOS (see above), adding ANT+ would not have expanded our device compatibility list on Android.
No desktop computer currently supports ANT+ out of the box, while a lot of them do support BLE. If a computer needs an adapter to add support for low power wireless communication, a BLE adapter is cheaper, more versatile and more readily available.
"But ANT+ is BETTER than BLE!"
It isn't a matter of one being better than the other. They have different capabilities and we chose the solution that best met the needs of our customers and the goals of our products. The tech industry has also chosen BLE (i.e. Apple) and more momentum and advances are happening around the Bluetooth SIG than elsewhere (ZigBee / Z-Wave / ANT). We believe our decision to focus on supporting BLE is the right one for the long-term compatibility of our products with your future mobile devices. To use an old hockey metaphor, we are skating where the puck is going.
Will Future Kinetic Products Support ANT+?
Maybe. Supporting ANT+ and / or BLE takes time and money and can affect the final MSRP. We are looking at each product in the pipeline very carefully to decide on the best technology for the large majority of our customers.
* We recognize that some windows machines do not have BLE and a USB adapter is required. However, BLE adapters are typically cheaper and more readily available than the universal ANT+ USB adapter.