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The wearables market is booming right now with all sorts of new devices hitting the market. Of all the smartwatches and fitness bands on the market, the best selling devices on the market come from Fitbit according to the latest market statistics.
About 2.7 million devices shipped globally in Q1 2014 according to statistics from Canalys released this week. Of those 2.7 million devices, about 50% of them were Fitbit devices. The major recall on the Fitbit Force apparently had little effect on sales.
We've already got a bunch of VR headsets to look forward to, with the favorite right now being the Oculus Rift, but we also have Sony's Project Morpheus to look forward to. But, according to "sources close to Samsung," Engadget is reporting that Samsung is also working on its own VR headset.
The South Korean giant has reportedly given its VR headset to developers to work with, with its VR headset being compatible with its tablets and smartphones, which are mostly Android-powered. This will split the market into multiple parts, with Sony's Project Morpheus only being compatible with the PlayStation 4, Oculus VR's Rift being compatible with PCs, Macs, Linux and mobile devices and then Samsung's device, which would most likely be locked to its Galaxy-branded mobile devices.
Samsung's VR headset reportedly features an OLED panel that is "as good [as] or better than" the Oculus Rift DK2. Engadget has said that Samsung is hoping to price its VR headset lower than both Oculus VR and Sony's offerings, so we should expect somewhere in the realm of $250-$350. What do you think Samsung should name it? I think we should expect it as the Galaxy VR, personally.
Google seem to be pushing out Glass updates rather quickly these days, with XE17.2 being pushed out to Glass users across the world right now. The latest update does a better job with low-power states, and more.
Google has said: "Among various bug fixes, this release better handles instances when Glass is extremely low on power. One thing you might notice is a new screen with a red flashing low battery indicator when Glass doesn't have enough power to turn on and needs to be plugged in".
The smartwatch industry is really only beginning, but thanks to Samsung getting in at the ground level, it is controlling it already. Samsung's original Galaxy Gear smartwatch shipped more units than Pebble, Motorola or anyone else in Q1 2014.
For the three-month period, there were an estimated 700,000 smartwatches shipped, with 500,000 of those being built by Samsung. This has given the South Korean giant a huge 71% control of the smartwatch market share, a Galaxy-sized 250% year-over-year increase. But remember, shipped units do not equate sold units. Samsung has already taken up more of the market by introducing the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit.
Facebook-owned Oculus Rift will take its virtual reality headsets into Chuck E. Cheese, with the restaurant testing the Rift during a six-week trial run in three select markets. The trial begins today in Dallas, Texas, with testing opening up in San Diego, California and Orlando, Florida later this month.
"Kids today have unprecedented access to game consoles and tablets," said Roger Cardinale, president, CEC Entertainment, Inc. "Our challenge is to deliver an experience not available at home, and there is no doubt virtual reality does just that. Oculus Rift technology is the next frontier in the gaming industry, and we're thrilled to be able to say it's part of the Chuck E. Cheese's lineup."
The consumer version of the Rift headset is scheduled for release in 2015, as technology enthusiasts continue to experiment with the popular headset. Meanwhile, there are 571 Chuck E. Chees locations in 48 states and eight countries, though the company will study how visitors react to using the virtual reality headset.
Palmer Luckey is set to become a household name over the years, but to us, he already is. Well, reaching the cover of WIRED magazine will surely speed that process up, with the founder of Oculus VR gracing the June 2014 cover.
Peter Rubin interviews Luckey in the issue, with a quote on the front sure to get most people's attention: "This kid is about to change gaming, movies, TV, music, design, medicine, sex, sports, art, travel, social networking, education - and reality. The Oculus Rift is here, and it will blow your mind". There's not a word I disagree with there, I agree that VR - and more specifically, the Oculus Rift - will change, everything.
Google Glass is certainly an interesting wearable device that has a myriad of uses. The device has been used in the medical setting before with doctors wearing the device to access medical records and it has even been used during surgery. A large medical school called UC Irvine has announced that it is now giving all med students Google Glass.
The move makes UC Irvine the first med school to implement Glass into its four-year curriculum. First and second year students will reportedly use Glass in anatomy and clinical courses. Third and fourth year students will use Glass during hospital rotations.
It looks like Samsung may be the first to offer up a true competitor to Google's Glass with its Gear Glass wearable smartglasses. New reports are suggesting that Samsung will launch the new wearable at the 2014 IFA conference held later this year in berlin Germany. The launch would take place in September, with retail sales beginning before the holiday season is over.
Unlike Google Glass which runs on a version of Android, Samsung's Gear Glass will run a version of its Tizen operating system that has been dramatically slimmed down to only offer the needed functionality. Rumors suggest that this will limit the device to use only with other Samsung Galaxy and Gear products, much like Samsung's Gear smartwatch. Personally, I see this as a major flaw, but it seems to be working out for Samsung so far. Unfortunately no mention was made of what the Gear Glass wearable may cost, but I would not be surprised if it is upwards of $1000 USD.
At $1500 the Google Glass headset it easily the most expensive wearable on the market. IHS has laid hands-on one of the Glass headsets and is now offering some details on exactly how much it costs Google to build one of the devices. According to the IHS teardown, Google spends only $152.47 to build a Glass headset.
That is a tiny fraction for the $1500 selling price. IHS throws Google a bone and says that much of the costs of a device like Glass can come from things that have nothing to do with the hardware. The additional cost for the device comes from things like engineering costs, software development, and tooling.
LG is ready to step into the wearables market big time with the Lifeband Touch. The wearable health device will go on sale in North America this weekend. The Lifeband Touch has a small 0.9-inch OLED screen and real-time access to all sorts of fitness data.
LG designed the Lifeband Touch to offer the user access to data so they can track a workout and adjust their workout plans accordingly. Power for the device comes from a 90mAh internal battery. LG claims that the battery is good for up to five days of use per charge.