Items tagged with wearables

If there’s ever a sign that a product segment is gaining traction, it’s when Amazon rolls out a store for it, which is what has occurred today with Amazon’s new Wearable Technology store. Billed as “a one-stop shop where customers can easily discover the latest in wearable technology and research wearable devices including activity trackers, smart watches, wearable cameras and more,” the store is populated with familiar brands such as Samsung and GoPro as well as lesser-known entities including Basis, Misfit, Narrative, and Bionym. The store includes a “learning center” where customers can look through buying guides and videos. On the main page of the... Read more...
Your chance to snag a pair of Google Glass came and went earlier this week when Google opened up its Explorer (beta tester) program to the general public for one day only. However, Google's been expanding the availability of Glass little by little -- the question is, are you willing to spend $1,500 on a pair? Apparently many people are, as Google sold out of Glass Explorer spots during its open availability. If you're intrigued by Glass but ultimately unsure if the available frames fit your style or desired comfort level, it looks as though Google will let you try out a non-functioning unit before committing to a purchase. According to a letter received by a Reddit user, Google is offering the... Read more...
From the vantage point of International Data Corporation (IDC), the wearable computing market is extending beyond early adopters and getting ready to hit its stride. More stylish and and functional accessories are being featured in magazines like GQ and Shape, which is indicative of growing interest beyond just geek circles. IDC says wearables "took a huge step forward" last year, and based in part on the momentum the category has built up, the market research firm believes shipment volumes will exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling last year's volume. Image Source: Flickr (Karlis Dambrans) That would be impressive, but also only the tip of the iceberg. IDC believes the wearable... Read more...
If you’ve been dying to find a way in to the Google Glass Explorer program, April 15th is your lucky day. Google is opening up the Explorer program to all comers for that one day, provided you are a U.S. resident (with a shipping address) and are 18 years of age or older. Spots are limited, although Google has not stated to what extent, but you can pick your preferred shade or frame. The “sale” opens up at 6am PDT on April 15th and will run just for the day; whether that means it will close at midnight or at 6am PDT the following day is unclear, so you should get in there early just to be safe. This could be you This marks an important point in the proliferation of Google Glass,... Read more...
Count the United States Air Force as fans of Google Glass. The USAF has been testing the high-tech specs for use in a variety of scenarios, including helping fighter jets and bombers locate their targets, search and rescue missions, and ground-to-air communications out on the battlefield. The BATMAN group within the USAF’s 711th Human Performance Wing, based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio is tasked with research and development with two pairs of Google Glass, according to VentureBeat. As part of its work, the group is also developing Android software that would deliver solutions for its specific use cases. Credit: VentureBeat Some of the best features of this particular... Read more...
Samsung is rumored to be developing a standalone version of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch called the “Gear Solo”, which would actually feature a USIM card and thus allow the device to make and receive calls without needing to be paired with a smartphone. One of the complaints, legitimate or not, about most smartwatches is that they’re effectively expensive, fancy accessories for smartphones. Sure, it’s really something to be able to get your notifications, answer phone calls, and see the weather on your wrist, but you still have to have a smartphone in your pocket. Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 A standalone device makes a great deal of sense. The Korea Herald reported that the Gear... Read more...
Graphene is a sort of super material for electronics; it’s thin, durable, light, transparent, and flexible, and Samsung says that it’s developed a way to synthesize the substance so it can speed of the commercial development of graphene and thereby usher in a new era of electronics development. Samsung noted that graphene has “one hundred times greater electron mobility than silicon” and is ideal for flexible displays and wearable computing devices. Maybe someday soon? The breakthrough came from the company’s Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) partnership with Sungkyunkwan University. “The new method developed by SAIT and Sungkyunkwan University... Read more...
Entirely new product categories generally take time to take off. Even the smartphone took years before penetration rose above 50% in advanced markets such as the United States. But it certainly feels as if there's something different at play when it comes to wearables. While there's plenty of buzz about every new watch, fitness tracker, and head-worn device, the retention rate is low. Used (and cheap) Galaxy Gear smartwatches are strewn across secondhand sites such as eBay, and research from Endeavour Partners has found that "one-third of American consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. What's more, while one in 10 American adults own some form of activity... Read more...
When you consider the microprocessor industry, it's safe to say that things have changed in dramatic fashion over the past five to ten years. Intel's lead in the desktop sector has become increasingly less potent as laptops and tablets usurp desktop sales, and the next obvious frontier is an even smaller footprint. Intel has chimed in here and there, noting that it's fully onboard the wearables bandwagon, eager to produce chips that power whatever computing products end up on our faces, our wrists, and our bodies. But don't just take Intel's word for it -- there's plenty of action to back it all up. This week, the chip giant announced that it had finalized an acquisition of BASIS Science. The... Read more...
It would seem that Google’s groundbreaking Android Wear UI (and forthcoming SDK) will open up a wealth of possibilities for wearable hardware makers, but don’t count Sony among that group. The company is reportedly not interested in Android Wear and will instead continue developing with its own homegrown SmartWatch platform, according to a CNET interview with head of Sony Mobile US Ravi Nookala. "We've already invested time and resources on this platform, and we will continue in that direction," he said. Sony SmartWatch 2 Sony already has a reasonably robust cadre of wearables available, including its SmartWatch, SmartWatch 2, and SmartWear devices, and it has definitely beaten Google... Read more...
If the one thing that's holding you back from adopting Google Glass and joining the wearable computing market is the lack of trendy designs, you're in luck. Google is teaming up with The Luxottica Group, a company that specializes in luxury and sports eyewear. While you may not have heard of Luxottica, there's a good chance you're familiar with at least one of its brands, which includes Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue-Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikkli, and Arnette. This partnership marks the latest effort by Google to make its Glass platform trendy and hip. You may recall that earlier this year, Google launched the Titanium Collection, and if you fast forward to today, Google says there are... Read more...
The ink is barely dry on the announcement about Android Wear, Google’s forthcoming wearables platform, but developers are already tinkering with the Developer Preview SDK. Pocket, which makes a nifty tool that lets you save anything you see online, be it in a web browser or app, to view later in a “pocket”. You can even view what you’ve stashed without an Internet connection whether you’re on your computer, phone, or tablet. Pocket has already pushed out a prototype Pocket app for Android Wear. After you get an alert on your smartwatch, “You swipe, and an action pops up to save to Pocket,” reads a blog post penned by Pocket’s Max Weiner. “In... Read more...
Intel and wearables. Two names that you best get used to seeing together, as the aforementioned company is diving into the wearables sector in a major way. As part of the broader Android Wear rollout announced this week, Intel has made a point to emphasize its role in the coming explosion of wearables. The company has stated that it's "excited to be a part of Android Wear," which will bring a fork of Android to an entire sector that's poised for huge growth in the years ahead. Intel isn't revealing any products just yet, but it -- along with Broadcom, Mediatek, and Qualcomm -- are going to be powering some of the products that you see emerge over the next while. Watches, head-worn devices, and... Read more...
Google may have just figured out smartwatches--and other wearables, too. The somewhat mysterious wearables SDK that Google’s Sundar Pichai mentioned briefly just days ago isn’t coming until later this year, but Google did announce a rather important precursor with Android Wear. Essentially, Android Wear is a unique UI, and it’s actually an extension of Android rather than a whole new OS. And it looks spot-on in terms of what people seem to want in a smartwatch--it’s clean, bright, simple, and designed specifically for that tiny watch form factor. Motorola Moto 360 At a glance and/or with a simple flick, you can see the time of day, check the weather, peek at the news,... Read more...
Google is looking to gain a huge chunk of the wearables market with an SDK--no not, the Google Glass GDK, which is still in the offing as a Developer Preview, but a more general SDK that could be used for just about anything that you can wear as a garment or accessory and has some sort of “smart” capabilities. The news was revealed by Google Senior VP Sundar Pichai at an event at SXSW. He told a crowd that the SDK will be available in about two weeks and will be based on Android, according to Re/code. “When we say wearables we think about it much more broadly,” he said. “It’s for partners and developers to figure out. It could be a jacket … with sensors.... Read more...
It can feel like the growing cadre of wearable fitness tech is just so much noise, but some of these products will inevitably rise to the top. The Moov fitness tracker, a compact, cleanly designed wrist-mounted fitness device, might just be one of those wearables. The Moov team is comprised of former Apple and Microsoft engineers, and that Apple design influence is apparent. Moov is is a slim disc that straps onto your wrist, ankle--or anywhere, really--and tracks a surprising number of different aspects of your workout. For instance, it can tell you if your running stride is off, or if your swimming stroke is inefficient, or if your punches need more power, and so on. The little device has no... Read more...
Should drivers be allowed to wear Google Glass while operating a motor vehicle? That's one of the questions politicians face as a growing number of states seek to pass legislation that would make it illegal to wear Google's head-mounted display while driving. Proponents of such bills claim that wearables like Google Glass can be distractions and could lead to accidents. According to Reuters, no less than eight states are considering regulation of Google Glass, and this figures to be a hot topic for months to come. Legislatures in three other states -- New York, Maryland, and West Virginia -- have already introduced similar bills. Image Source: Flickr (jurvetson) Meanwhile, Google is fighting... Read more...
After the blockbuster spectacle that was the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the hullabaloo over the next generation of Samsung’s flagship smartphone seems almost demure, but in any case the company announced the new Samsung Galaxy S5. The phone features a 5.1-inch (1920x1080) Super AMOLED display and a quad-core 2.5GHz processor with Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, and a microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB of additional storage. The front camera is a solid 2MP, but the rear 16MP camera is where it’s at. The rear camera also features 0.3-second autofocus, advanced HDR, and a special selective focus feature that creates a depth of field effect.... Read more...
With a just-launched Indiegogo campaign, the Google Glass competitor rollout continues. This time around, it's "Icis" in the hotseat, aiming to right Glass' wrongs - and, compared to other solutions I've seen in recent months, I am swaying towards the belief that this is one project worth watching. Icis is dubbed "Fashion Friendly Smart Glasses", with aesthetics being focused-on as much as the software and features. After all, no one wants to stand out of a crowd because of their odd-looking eyewear. Instead, they want to blend in, and perhaps even enhance their look. The current iteration of what Icis should look like at launch is seen above, although I'm doubtful that black would ultimately... Read more...
When it comes to CES, there are huge shoes to fill. With Microsoft out of the mix as a major keynote player, other mainstays are being left to fill in the gaps. Intel has always played something of a role at the show, but this year it may make even more waves than usual. According to a new report at Re/code, CEO Brian Krzanich could be on the verge of announcing Intel’s plans for a play in wearables. Of course, “smart” devices that put the internet into every nook and dark corner of your life will no doubt be on display at CES — likely in full force, really — but Intel has to figure out a way to innovate in a world where desktop and laptop usage is declining. Krzanich... Read more...
It doesn't quite answer all of the lingering questions, but it sure sheds a lot of light on what Apple's doing behind the scenes. As the wearables market explodes, fitness gadgets have found themselves in the spotlight. Startups are coming out of the woodwork to sell health-minded bands, while Google has found a market for an expensive computer / eyeglass device dubbed Glass. The future of computing involves computing devices that are on one's person, and while Apple didn't beat everyone to it (see: Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch), it won't be sitting it out entirely. The company has just hired one of Nike's lead Fuel Band designers, presumably to join yet another Nike hire from a few months... Read more...
It seems like every major consumer electronics company is considering some form of wearable technology at this point. Google Glass has truly launched the segment into the limelight, and with rumors of an iWatch from Apple going strong, we're also hearing now that Dell is casting a glance in that same direction. As tablet sales for Dell flounder, the computer maker is now suggesting that it's "exploring ideas" in the wearable sector. Dell itself has lost a ton of luster as the conventional PC business shrinks, and it has yet to find a market to really thrive in in the post-PC world. Sam Burd, Dell's global vice-president of personal computing, told The Guardian that the wearable computing space... Read more...
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