Items tagged with wearables

Wearables seem to be the “next big thing” when it comes to consumer electronics devices. While interest in Google Glass seemed to fizzle out rather quickly, fitness trackers and smartwatches -- like the Apple Watch and the Android Wear-sportin’ Motorola Moto 360 -- are gaining in popularity with consumers. But while those devices put a new tech-infused spin on an old idea — the wristwatch — researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Saarland University and Carnegie Mellon University are developing a different type of wearable that actually sticks to your skin. Dubbed iSkin, the silicone rubber-based product is loaded with pressure-sensitive sensors, can made into limitless sizes/shapes... Read more...
Leave it to a couple NASA scientists to develop technology that supercharges their smartwatches. NASA announced this week that it has applied for a patent on a technology that lets wearable devices reflect wireless signals instead of using traditional transmitters and receivers. Once the new tech is implemented, it should speed up data transmission over Wi-Fi networks while simultaneously reducing power costs – dramatically.Image credit: NASA“The idea is if the wearable device only needs to reflect the Wi-Fi signal from a router or cell tower, instead of generate it, the power consumption can go way down (and the battery life can go way up),” said Adrian Tang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory... Read more...
Apple first announced the Apple Watch at the tail end of the iPhone keynote last September, but didn’t get around to actually releasing the wearable (in extremely limited quantities) to customers until April of this year. Since its initial launch, Apple has slowly ramped production and orders to the point where the initial 6- to 8-week delivery window has shrunk to two days with free shipping or one day with expedited shipping. Now that supply issues are for the most part worked out, Apple is ready to take the next step: opening up sales to one of its largest U.S. retail partners. Best Buy announced late last night that beginning August 7th, it will sell the Apple Watch in over 100 of its brick... Read more...
It seems as though just about every consumer electronics company wants a piece of the red hot wearables market now. And we’re not just talking about smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Motorola Moto 360, but from Microsoft Band and Fitbit fitness trackers. Acer is the latest that wants in on the action and has introduced its first wearable for the U.S. market: the Liquid Leap+. The Liquid Leap+ features a 0.94-inch touch screen OLED display (128x32), Cortex M0 processor, Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, and an IPX7 waterproof rating. The integrated lithium-polymer battery gives the wearable a runtime of 5 to 7 days. The Liquid Leap+, which connects with Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones,... Read more...
Target is offering a 25 percent discount on the Microsoft Band, a fitness wearable that just saw a $20 discount at the Microsoft Store last week. The deal at Target is much better, as it slashes $50 off the $200 retail cost, bringing the tally to $150 instead of $180. However, it's an in-store only deal through Target's Cartwheel mobile savings app.You can download Cartwheel from Google Play for Android devices or the Apple Store for iOS gadgets. The app offers hundreds of discounts ranging from 5 percent to 50 percent off, which you can add to your virtual cart. Then when you shop a brick-and-mortar Target location, you scan your barcode at checkout for any applicable discounts you saved.In... Read more...
We can't deny that the wearable fitness tracker market is already congested. It probably jumped the shark after Razer -- a company known primarily for PC gaming accessories and bleeding edge notebooks -- joined the likes of Garmin, Apple, and Fitbit with the Razer Nabu Smartband. But after checking out the feature set and radically different design of the just-announced Moov Now, we think you'll agree there's room for one more. Especially at the absurdly affordable price of $59.99 if you pre-order it before it launches this fall. At its core, Moov Now is an activity tracker for athletes or those of us wanting to get in shape and shed a few pounds. It counts reps for you. It has a 9-axis... Read more...
As smartphones became increasingly popular, the market for wrist watches took a nosedive. The irony is that smartphone makers are now focusing their attention on making wrist watches vogue again, and their strategy is to build smart functionality into these old school accessories. So far it's working, but doesn't it seem like watch makers would have the advantage here? Casio thinks so and it's going to give Apple and company a run for their money in the smartwatch space.Having been almost four decades since introducing its first digital watch, Casio is now planning to enter the wearable market with its first smartwatch. To help itself stand out from the competition, Casio will take a bit of a... Read more...
LG Chem has developed a new battery that could be a boon for certain smartwatch manufacturers. The company this week introduced a new hexagon-shaped battery that can be used in smartwatches that feature circular case designs. Today’s wearables typically feature a square-shaped battery, which is not very space efficient when placed inside of a circular watch case. However, the hexagonal shape more closely matches the shape of a circular case, thus allowing LG Chem to improve storage capacity of its batteries by up to 25 percent. Source: LG Chem "The development will help users have four hours more for their smart watch," said LG Chem spokesman Woo Byeong-min. "LG Chem has the ability to exceed... Read more...
One of the more elegant looking smartwatches on the market is the ZenWatch by ASUS. At this point, the first generation model isn't long for this world as ASUS preps a ZenWatch 2, but if you favor price and bang-for-buck over cutting edge features, now is the time to strike -- Newegg just knocked $50 off the price of the original ZenWatch, bringing the cost of ownership down to $150.That's $200 less than the least expensive Apple Watch, and while that's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison (or Apple to Android), it's something to think about if you're platform agnostic. Yes, the original ZenWatch is about to become a last generation product, but it's also a solid offering that's not even... Read more...
Apple Watch owners who want to significantly extend the battery life of their wearable will have to ask themselves how much they're willing to pay for the convenience. And by "significantly," we mean more than 30 additional hours, the amount of time the developers of the Reserve Strap claim their accessory will add to Apple's already pricey smartwatch. That works out to a factor of 2.7 times, or 167 percent more usage. Real world results will depend on a number of factors, but if a person typically achieves Apple's rated 18 hours of Apple Watch functionality, the Reserve Strap will up the ante to 48 hours, or two full days. That's pretty amazing. "The Reserve Strap promises to be the most indispensable... Read more...
One of the neat things about smartwatches is the ability to change the face on a whim. You can't do that with a regular watch, at least not without spending some hard earned cash. This is also a strength of Android Wear -- not only are there a bunch of different smartwatches supporting the platform, there's over 1,500 downloadable watch faces to download for virtually any mood, including 17 new ones that were just added. "Today, we’re showcasing 17 new watch faces from all over the globe—from the adorable characters of Angry Birds, Hello Kitty, and Moomin, to the elegant accessories of Cynthia Rowley, Lulu Frost, and Triwa, to eye-catching brands and artists like Bang & Olufsen, Muji, and... Read more...
I may have been wrong about the wearables market. Here's the thing, I still don't think smartwatches are the the next big thing, to borrow a line from Samsung, and I don't see fitness bands being the thing that companies like Apple and Google throw their full weight behind. But what I hadn't considered is that "sex sells" and that of course someone would come up with a wearable for wee wees.1 How lovely. Actually, make that Lovely, with a capital "L" to describe the smart wearable sex toy for couples. That's how it's being pitched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where the goal is to reach $95,000. There are 26 days remaining, with nearly 250 backers having pledged over $29,000 towards that goal... Read more...
It still remains to be seen whether there's a lasting, lucrative market for smartwatches, though when it comes to devices like fitness trackers, there are plenty of buyers. This is evidenced by Fitbit taking the lead in a wearables segment that's just seen its eight consecutive quarter of steady growth around the globe, according to data compiled by International Data Corporation. Fitbit maintained its momentum from the fourth quarter of 2014 right on into the first quarter of 2015, the latter of which was boosted by the release of three new devices -- Charge, Charge HR, and the Surge. There also remains demand for Fitbit's older Flex wristband and One and Zip clip-on models. "Bucking the post-holiday... Read more...
Distracted driving is a growing and dangerous problem that's receiving more awareness these days, and while smartphones top of the list of things that divert people's attention from the road, wearable devices can be just as risky. They're certainly subject to the same fines -- just ask Jeffery Macesin, a Canadian Apple Watch owner who received a $120 ticket and four points on his license for using his wearable while driving. Call me a curmudgeon, but I have no sympathy for Macesin, especially since he sees nothing wrong with what he was doing. Macesin said he was surprised to be pulled over and ticketed, as in his opinion, he wasn't breaking any laws. "I have it in the bag charging while the... Read more...
Gold is best, right? It's certainly the most expensive in Apple's wearable lineup. The cost of an Apple Watch Edition with 18-Karat gold ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $17,000 plus another $1,500 if you want to add an AppleCare+ warranty. While we don't typically pay much attention to packaging, you'd think that spending five figures on a first generation wearable would warrant a better container than the one that comes with a $349 Apple Watch Sport, and you'd be right. Well, kind of.Now that gold Apple Watches have begun shipping to non-celebrities, pictures are popping up online of what they look like and the fancy internal packaging. Incidentally, the external packaging isn't all that fancy... Read more...
In an attempt to thwart long lines and possible customer frustration, Apple changed the game when it launched its Apple Watch devices and only made them available to purchase online. In the past, anticipated product launches would see people camped out in line sometimes days ahead of retail availability, and that's an image (and culture) Apple apparently wants to eliminate. However, that doesn't mean you'll never be able to pick up an Apple Watch in a retail store.If you head over to Apple's website and add an Apple Watch Sport to your virtual cart, you'll see during the checkout process that there's a new in-store pickup option. It's currently grayed out, though should be an option that's "available... Read more...
If anyone cares enough to make a meme about Apple's "Made for Apple Watch" program, it would read, "Brace yourself, third party Apple Watch bands are coming." You can bank on it now that Apple's given third-party developers the green light to forge ahead with compatible bands for its line of smartwatches, they just need to follow a set of guidelines to win Apple's approval.The Made for Apple Watch program is similar to the company's existing MFi accessory program for iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. And if past precedent is any indication, you can expect mass participation among third-party accessory makers looking to cash in on the hype with new and customizable parts for the Apple Watch.One... Read more...
Apple's market capitalization currently sits at nearly $750 billion, and it didn't get there by charging pedestrian prices for its gadgets. Just the opposite, Apple often attaches premium price tags to its products, and the same goes for its recently launched Apple Watch line. Speaking of which, preliminary data from IHS shows that the new Apple Watch has the lowest ratio of hardware cost to retail price of any Apple phone. By tearing down the Apple Watch Sport, IHS was able to estimate a bill of materials (BOM) of $81.20. Adding in $2.50 for manufacturing expenses, the research firm reckons it cost Apple $83.70 to build each Apple Watch Sport model, which sells at retail starting at $349. That... Read more...
Apple has been having a tough time meeting demand for its recently launched Apple Watch wearables, as it was reported earlier this week that only 20 percent of the nearly 2 million smartwatches ordered during launch weekend have been delivered. Now we may know why -- there's a defect in one of the key components. Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal reports the faulty part is the taptic engine, the part responsible for the tapping sensation that Apple Watch owners feel on their wrist when there's a notification. Mass production of the taptic engine kicked off in February, and shortly after, reliability testing uncovered a batch of faulty parts supplied by AAC Technologies... Read more...
There's nothing quite like sinking $17,000 into a fancy Apple Watch with 18-karat gold only to find out that your sweet as hell sleeve tattoo is preventing it from functioning the way it's supposed to. Same goes for the $349 Apple Watch Sport models for the somewhat wiser among us who aren't willing to pay nearly the equivalent of a Honda Civic for a piece of jewelry that's likely 6-12 months from being a generation behind the technology curve. But that's a topic for another day, let's get back to what's already being called tattoogate (*groan*). That colorful sleeve tattoo you're sporting might be a true work of art, but the ink pigmentation has a tendency to flummox the Apple Watch's heart... Read more...
The Apple Watch and Pebble Smartwatch are on opposite ends of the wrist wearable spectrum in just about every way, but lest you think Apple isn't at least a little bit threatened by its lower cost competition, think again. That much was evident when Apple cited a technicality in its rules that allowed it to block apps that said they were compatible with Pebble.One of those apps was SeaNav, which allows you to explore, plan, and navigate your boating trips in real time using the latest Digital Vector Marine charts in high resolution. The developers updated the app in part to add some special features that run exclusively on Apple Watch devices, but it was rejected by Apple because it mentions... Read more...
There's still some doubt that the smartwatch category will stand the test of time, though whether it does or not, Apple's likely going to cash in on the craze while it can. In a note to investors, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that Apple Watch pre-orders around the world have topped 2.3 million units, most of which are of the Apple Watch Sport. No big surprise there, as the Apple Watch Sport represents the lowest cost of entry into Apple's recently launched wearables, with prices starting at $349. If you bump up to the Apple Watch, pricing jumps to $549 and above, while the Apple Watch Edition ranges in cost from $10,000 to $17,000. Add an AppleCare+ plan to the latter and you're... Read more...
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