Posts with tag smartwatch
Let’s, just this once, take some wild guesses.
Given the imminent release of the Apple Watch – come on, that can’t be a spoiler at this point – it’s all too appropriate to compare Apple to the clock. Like the clock we all live by day in and day out, Apple observes a fairly strict set of cycles and patterns. Springtime is quiet time, with all the cooks busy in the kitchen preparing the second half of the year’s goodies. With June comes WWDC, Apple’s first big event, alongside Mac notebook hardware and new major versions of iOS and OS X. Then September – iPhone time – and finally late October, the iPad.
This year had to be different. When Apple announced the Apple Watch at last September’s media event, it was also announcing its first new product category since the iPad in 2010. It was announcing a product unlike one ever to come out of Apple; intimately customizable, from watch face to watch band to watch price. Are you in the market for the potentially five figure Apple Watch Edition, by any chance?
The Apple Watch makes predicting Monday’s event impossible. Traditionally, anybody who knew how to read Apple’s product release cycle and what type of product they traditionally released could make fairly accurate predictions on what to expect – it’s why we’ve been correct in all but one of our nearly twenty predictions thus far. This time, the only thing we can know for sure is that the Apple Watch is coming. Everything else?
Let’s, just this once, take some wild guesses.
What to realistically expect…” is a series of posts which we use to temper expectations concerning upcoming industry events. This Monday’s event promises to be one of the largest Apple events in recent memory, making this one of the most difficult – and interesting – events to predict. Read more to hear what we think.
Taking the time to get it right
You may have heard of these cool new things called smartwatches, with them being all the rage these days and everything. It seems like everybody and their mom is trying to get a smartwatch out in the market these days, a task that has been made monumentally easier now that Google is supplying the software to every hardware manufacturer with their still fairly new Android Wear platform. But one company has remained relatively quiet on the smartwatch front; HTC, the folks behind the upcoming Nexus 9 and the excellent HTC One M8, has still yet to release any sort of wearable device at all. There were some rumors that HTC had been working on a wearable that should have shipped by now, but we’ve not heard much on that front in a long while.
This has lead to rampant speculation that, in another blow to the struggling company, HTC has abandoned plans to release a smartwatch at all – but HTC says not so fast. In a statement provided to Re/code, an HTC spokesperson has confirmed that the company is indeed actively working on a device, which is nearing completing but has been internally delated so as to give it a bit more time in the oven.
There’s still very little we know for sure on the state of HTC’s new wearable, but the company hasn’t had a good track record with anything but smartphones in the past. Just as tablet mania began in earnest in 2011, HTC launched their first – and to date, only – tablet, the Flyer, to just awful reviews and abysmal sales. Consumer reaction to the Flyer was so bad that the company actually scrapped all plans for future tablets at the time, which is part of what makes their now confirmed upcoming smartwatch all the more exciting.
Is this the watch to save smartwatches?
It’s been a long and windy road, but we’re nearing the end of the tunnel. According to a new report by Recode backed by some rock solid sources, Apple will finally reveal their long awaited smartwatch – tentatively dubbed the iWatch – at a special event this October. If this comes to pass, this will put an end to literally years and years’ worth of rumor and speculation.
Apple is said to be designing the iWatch to act as a companion to iOS devices as well as a device in its own right. Many expect the iWatch to heavily focus on tracking fitness, a thought somewhat corroborated by the existence of Apple’s HealthKit platform, which was just introduced alongside iOS 8 at WWDC earlier this week.
Rumors specific to the watch’s design and specifications are few and far between, but many suspect it will run a touch-friendly LCD display, will interact with existing devices over Bluetooth LE, and will run a modified version of iOS specifically designed for the iWatch, and will run high end internals – likely a SoC designed in house at Apple alongside the company’s A7 processor. As for the outward design of the watch, nobody’s got the faintest clue – but wouldn’t it be nice if it looked at least something like the mockup seen above designed by the apparently extraordinarily talented Gábor Balogh?
Represent the new vision
And just like that, Google’s Android Wear platform for smartwatches is official. But no platform announcement would be complete without a few partners also showing up with the goods, and today’s it’s LG and Motorola backing Google with a preview of their upcoming smartwatches powered by Android Wear.
Motorola’s endgame appears to be a new circular smartwatch dubbed the Moto 360, seen above. While we know next to nothing about the device just yet, we do know that Motorola’s slogan is “a twist of the wrist”, likely signifying that natural wrist movement will be involved in the watch’s primary interface, similar to how wrist flicking was integrated into the Moto X’s camera functionality.
The LG G Watch (seen above) is a bit more exciting, however, as it’s slated to arrive a lot sooner than you might think – next quarter. The LG G Watch is designed to be a “low barrier to entry” for developers and consumers alike, signifying that the devie will be sold at a reduced price point in order to attract people to the new platform. LG isn’t saying too terribly much more about the G Watch just yet, other than what we already knew from the Google announcement earlier today – it’ll have some focus on fitness, support voice recognition and Google Now, and will offer a “Google experience” meaning no UI customization here, thankfully. Unfortunately, the LG G Watch is a lot more garish then what we’ve seen from some other Android Wear devices, featuring a thick body and a rectangular screen rather than a compact circular one.
Add bling to your bling
Good news to our Android users today as Pebble has officially announced the release of their new Pebble 2.0 application for Android, complete with the one thing that made the new version so great on the iOS side – the Watch Appstore. If you hadn’t heard of this before, the concept is simple – the new Pebble Android application now allows you to load actual working applications to your Pebble smartwatch, giving the device an extendable ecosystem similar to any other mobile platform.
Prominent applications include eBay, Foursquare, and Yelp with more and more applications getting released all the time. The new Pebble app requires Android 4.0 or newer – sorry, Android 2.x laggards, hope your manufacturer still cares about your device – and is available now on Google Play free of charge. Better late than never, I guess?
Hello, nice to hear from you again
Just months after announcing the company’s first go at a true smartwatch solution, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the company is in do-over-mode and back with two new efforts – the Samsung Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo. Both are lighter and thinner than the original model, with better battery life, better comfort on the wrist, and perhaps most importantly – come nary a sign of Android in sight.
That’s right, the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo may look similar, but inside this is a whole new beast. Android has been swapped out for Tizen, the company’s in-house mobile embedded operating system, however you’d never know; the company has virtually replicated the original Gear’s user experience onto the new Tizen platform. Samsung did take the opportunity to significantly beef up the watch’s internals, which now features more RAM and a faster processor for faster loading times.
So you may be wondering – what is the difference between the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo? In short, not much. The Gear 2 Neo doesn’t come wih a camera, and it’s made of mostly plastic whereas the Gear 2 is built with more high end aluminum. The Gear 2 Neo will be the cheaper variant this time around, though Samsung has yet to reveal pricing and availability for either of the company’s new smartwatches, nor the Galaxy S5 or the Gear Fit, which was also announced today.
The end game
It’s Friday. The liveblogs are ending; the major announcements wrapped up, the wacky finds fewer and further between. CES 2014 has finally come to an end, and this was our second year covering the event, finding the most important, most influential, or just plain most crazy announcements of the week. It was also our biggest year covering the event, with thousands of readers visiting the site to check out the best of what CES has to offer.
It was a pretty crazy week. Let’s revisit it. Click through after the break to read more.
First confirmation its coming
We all knew it was coming, but now it’s official – kind of. According to Samsung Executive Lee Young during an interview with Bloomberg this week, Samsung’s next generation Galaxy S smartphone will be coming following the MWC2014 conference in late March or April – just about when we figured it would all be coming anyways.
Though details are still extremely tight, Young did reveal that the Galaxy S5 will be a “back to the basics” rethink of the Samsung Galaxy brand. Samsung is painfully aware that customers saw little difference between the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S4, saying that Samsung will be focusing on two areas in particular; “mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.”
Young also confirmed that Samsung will also be releasing an all new version of the Galaxy Gear smart watch, one that will focus on making the device thinner and with “more advanced functions.” Young also hinted that the Galaxy Gear 2 could feature technology as advanced as an eye scanner, however that’s far from confirmed at this point – though it would be rather cool, would it not be?
Smarter appliances for complicated lives
In 2014, the technology industry will begin trying to make everything around you smarter. Smarter phones, smarter televisions, smarter cars; but let’s all be honest here, the single thing that will truly become dramatically smarter this year will be our wearables. And these devices won’t only become smarter, but they’ll also become meaningfully smarter.
The trend began in earnest last year, and 2014 will simply take this trend to its fullest potential. Don’t believe me? Take the Pebble, perhaps the only smartwatch to make a meaningful impact on the industry in the last year. 2013 gave us the original Pebble – a quality device that proves it should exist with a huge amount of potential, but with a few downsides. 2014 has already given us the new Pebble Steel – a smarter, faster, more beautiful version of last year’s device. If 2013 gave us the smartwatch, 2014 has already given us the smartwatch… polished. And all of this is forgoing even mentioning the fact that 2013 has brought us the Google Glass.
Smart wearables, such as smartwatches, are already on an extraordinarily track as smartphones were in the last decade and MP3 players before that. Early adopters have already eaten up the likes of the Pebble smartwatch and the Fitbit fitness tracker – they’ve already proven their value and usefulness, and now they just need to become polished enough to appeal to the average consumer. It also helps, of course, that Apple will almost definitely be announcing their own smartwatch (the “iWatch”, if you will) this year, and you can be damn sure that Apple won’t release this unless they know that it’s both useful enough and polished enough to appeal to not just the early adopters, but also the general public.
2014 will be a big year for so many different parts of the technology industry, and so many new pieces of tech will begin to impact our lives in meaningful ways. Your life is complicated, and your appliances are becoming smarter than ever.
No lowly Pebble
Pebble held their annual CES press conference today and introduced the smart watch exactly nobody saw coming – the Pebble Steel. Advertised as a premium alternative to the traditional Pebble lineup, this is the same Pebble on the inside but a beautiful, premium high end wristwatch on the outside. It’s crafted from CNC milled stainless steel for ultimate, erm, niceness and comes equipped with Gorilla Glass to protect the display.
And, of course, because this is a Pebble it’s compatible with all existing Pebble applications and skins – this isn’t a separate ecosystem, just a more diverse product line for the existing one. The Pebble Steel is available for pre-order now and ships in mid-February – it’ll cost you $249 (almost $100 more than the “traditional” Pebble product line) and it’s sure to attract some attention.
Check out Pebble’s video introducing the Pebble Steel embedded after the break.
I’ve bought into the idea of smart watches, but only if they act as meaningful improvements to our lives and the way we interact with technology. That said, I’ve long considered the Samsung Galaxy Gear a bit of a failure in that regard, with it having incredibly limited functionality and overall not doing too terribly much to improve the living experience for anyone. Samsung’s trying to make amends today, however, with a new software update to the Samsung Galaxy Gear’s Gear Manager App that rights one very big wrong – the Galaxy Gear’s limited notification support.
Now, if you’ve got yourself one of those fancy Samsung Galaxy Note III or Galaxy S4 handsets (other smartphones still need not apply), the Galaxy Gear will gladly notify you of any and all of the notifications you get on your device – and you can even open them straight from your watch. This goes a long way to alleviate at least one of the biggest concerns many people have had with Samsung’s take on the smart watch, and we’re hopeful that there are more big improvements yet to come.
Smartwatch with a focus on health
Fitbit formally announced their new Fitbit Force smartwatch official today, providing the ever growing smartwatch market with a health-centric option that allows owners to keep track of various day to day activities. Starting at $129.95, the Fitbit Force syncs to any iPhone running iOS 7 or newer, enabling the Force to act as a Caller ID for your iPhone while also using the iPhone as a way to track your movement, altimeter (steps climbed) information, and the quality of your sleep over Bluetooth 4.0.
No word yet on when you’ll be able to get your own Force, but we’ll be sure to let you know when the Force goes up for sale and any new information that we can get ahold of.