Wearable Electronics

Nest Co-Founder's Smartwatch Concept

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Nest Co-Founder's Smartwatch Concept

Tony Fadell, co-founder of smart thermostat maker Nest, joins forces with luxury watchmaker Ressence to present the Type 2 e-Crown Concept-- a combination of mechanical watch and (some) connected smarts.

Presented in prototype form at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the watch's main point of interest lies in the "e-Crown" portion of the name. The e-Crown is an electronic system set between the mechanical movement and the display disc. It pairs with an iPhone app, and allows users to switch between two time zones after the time is first conventionally set.

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Power the PowerWatch X With Body Heat

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Power the PowerWatch X With Body Heat

Matrix suggests an interesting means to charge wearable devices at CES 2018-- the PowerWatch X uses excess body heat as a power source, thanks to a proprietary thermoelectric energy converter.

The PowerWatch X is a sequel to the PowerWatch, a device launched via Indiegogo back in 2016. The first generation PowerWatch also charged using body heat, but it was a limited device, being little more than a watch with a basic fitness tracker. The second generation wearable ups the functionality, with smartphone notification support turning into an actual smartwatch.

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The Sgnl Wristband to Turn a Hand into a Handset

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The Sgnl Wristband to Turn a Hand into a Handset

S. Korean startup Innomdle Lab takes to CES 2018 to present the Sgnl-- a wristband allowing users to listen to phone calls by simply touching their ear.

Originally part of the Samsung C-Lab experimental product program before turning into a Kickstarter project in 2016, Sgnl looks like a regular fitness band. It even offers similar tracking functionality, while the strap can either be worn by itself or fitted with an analog or smart watches.

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Adidas Out of the Wearables?

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Adidas Out of the Wearables?

The Portland Business Journal reports Adidas is leaving the wearable fitness business, as it is shutting down its hardware division in favour of focusing on software.

On the software side the sportswear maker currently offers the Adidas App and Runtastic, the app developer it acquired back in 2015.

The story confirms a September 2016 Wareable report stating Adidas had "given up" on own branded running watches. Back then, an Adidas VP said the company would launch some "additional hardware," but it was also looking into porting its algorithms and coaching and training plans to other device platforms.

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Atari Starts Selling Speakerhat

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Atari Starts Selling Speakerhat

Back in June 2017, venerable gaming brand Atari announced a first "Atari Connected Life" product, the Speakerhat. Now the self-descriptive hat with built-in speakers is real, with shipping to start soon.

The Speakerhat is essentially a baseball cap with a pair of speakers (not headphones) embedded in the bill. The speakers promise to be of high quality, and a microphone is included. Bluetooth handles connectivity with audio sources, and Atari says Speakerhat wearers can sync with each other to listen to the same audio stream.

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FDA Approves KardiaBand Apple Watch Strap

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FDA Approves KardiaBand Apple Watch Strap

The Apple Watch gets a first medical device accessory in the US-- the AliveCor KardiaBand, an EKG reader strap for the wearable device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Already in use in Europe, the KardiaBand is a strap with an integrated metallic sensor able to push EKG readings to a companion app. It can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AF), making it similar to the KardiaMobile iPhone accessory. However it takes readings in real-time instead of having to be held in both hands for 30 seconds to register a reading.

To start a reading, users simply need to start a reading on the Kardia Watch app, place their thumb on the sensor and wait for the 30-second analysis. In addition users can speak into the Watch microphone to note palpitations, shortness of breath or dietary habits linked to heart-rate fluctuations.

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Misfit Vapor Gets Release Date

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Misfit Vapor Gets Release Date

The Vapor, the first smartwatch from Fossil-owned fitness wearable specialist Misfit, gets a release date-- 31 October 2017, a date that was delayed from an original summer release window.

Launched at this year's CES, the Vapor a full-blown smartwatch complete with 1.39-inch AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, 4GB  storage, wifi, Bluetooth and a touch-sensitive bezel. It originally was designed to run on a proprietary Misfit OS, but March saw a change to Android Wear 2.0, allowing support for more 3rd party services, unique watchfaces and micro apps.

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Bose Puts a Speaker on Your Shoulders

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Bose Puts a Speaker on Your Shoulders

Customers asking for a wearable audio device that does not cover the ears? Bose might have a solution with the SoundWear Companion, a speaker one wears on on their neck.

The SoundWear Companion pairs with smartphones via Bluetooth, meaning it streams music and takes calls just like any other similar device. It is controlled via companion iOS/Android app, and promises to provide music while not shutting out the noise of the outside world.

Producing what "deep, rich sound" is a pair of 11-inch waveguides, while the battery promises up to 12 hours of use on a single charge with a quick 15-minute charge giving up to 3 hours of use). Construction is sweat and weather resistant, and a combination of bend-and-stay steel wire and medical-grade silicon ensures the wearable stays form-fitted on the shoulders.

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IDC: Wearables Continue to Grow Through 2021

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IDC: Wearables Continue to Grow Through 2021

According to IDC wrist-worn devices-- as in watches and wristbands-- will continue to drive the wearable device market until at least 2021, while lesser-known categories such as clothing and earwear should experience growth in the years to come.

The analyst says 2017 wearable device shipments will total 121.7 million, a 16.6% increase over the 104.4m shipped in 2016. Such growth should continue throughout the forecast period, reaching 229.5m units in 2021 with a 5-year CAGR of 17.2%.

"We expect the most innovation and development in the wearables market to take place on the wrist," IDC continues. "It's the ideal location for users to collect, view, and interact with data and applications, and the point to execute tasks like responding to notifications or communicating with other people and devices. Layer on top of that varieties in style, design, segment, and feature set, and wristworn wearables are poised to remain well out in front of the market."

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Gartner: Wearables to Grow 17% in 2017

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Gartner: Wearables to Grow 17% in 2017

According to Gartner global wearable device sales are to reach 310.4 million in 2017-- a 16.7% increase over 2016, with revenues reaching $30.5 billion, of which $9.3bn coming from smartwatches.

In fact, the analyst says smartwatches are on pace to account for the highest unit sales of all wearable device form factors from 2019 to 2021 (aside from Bluetooth headsets), with 2017 sales reaching 41.5m. Smartwatch sales are estimated to total nearly 81m by 2021, making 16% of total wearable device sales.

Helping smartwatch revenues the relatively stable ASP of the Apple Watch. Higher volumes inevitably lead to "slight" reduction in manufacturing and component costs, but strong brands such as Apple and Fossil should keep pricing consistent with that of traditional watches. Thus, Gartner says smartwatch ASPs will drop from $223.25 in 2017 to $214.99 in 2021.

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Fitbit Smartwatch is Ionic

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Fitbit Smartwatch is Ionic

Fitbit launches its long awaited take on the smartwatch format-- the Ionic, a lightweight aluminium number with built-in GPS tracking, water resistance and a new operating system.

Technically the Ionic is an upgrade of the Blaze, the previous fitness-focused Fitbit watch. However it runs the proprietary Fitbit OS, a piece of software Fitbit says makes the core of its current and future smartwatch effots. It handles 3rd party apps, with the press reveal showing apps from the likes of Pandora, Strava, AccuWeather and Starbucks, among others.

The company promises a full selection of apps will be available at launch, while developers get an SDK on September. Users will be able to add more apps through a Fitbit App Gallery, and can also side load content through private links.

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