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Google has halted sales of its Glass wearable system, but said there is still interest in launching the smart glasses to consumers again in the future. The company has struggled to woo app developers and plans to transition a new department to take over for the Google X division that initially conducted research for Glass.
Despite halting Glass sales, Google pledged to help continue support companies and consumers using the product - including police agencies and other major testers.
The first version of Glass was released in April 2013 to a small number of testers, available through the Explorer program for $1,500. About one year later, Google released Glass to the public, but analysts said sales were small, as price, privacy concerns, and a lack of apps limited interest.
Fitness trackers grabbed headlines throughout 2014, but with 42 percent of owners leaving behind their wearable devices in the first six months, smartwatches have a great opportunity to pick up the slack.
"The best way to engage athletes interested in using wearable technology is to provide them with applications and devices that target their specific, and often sophisticated needs that can be measured and used to improve performance," said Matt Powell, VP of industry analysis of sports and leisure trends at The NPD Group, in a blog post. "For example, a tennis player might want to measure lateral quickness and backhand speed, while a golfer might want to measure posture, stance and hand speed."
As wearable technology continues to evolve, and more consumers become aware of features and functionality, there are unique sales opportunities available. However, it's up to OEMs and app developers to entice owners to continue using their wearable products, otherwise it could end up being a fruitless effort.
In what should come as a total lack of surprise, the larger Watch from Apple will be more expensive than the smaller Watch. Apple has said that the Watch pricing will start at around $349, but what about the larger versions of its wearable? BGR is reporting that the two variants, the 38mm and 42mm, will come with differing pricing, but they are guestimating the following prices:
- Apple Watch Sport 38mm 8GB with one fluoroelastomer band: $349
- Apple Watch Sport 42mm 8GB with one fluoroelastomer band: $449
- Apple Watch stainless 38mm 16GB with no band: $549
- Apple Watch stainless 42mm 16GB with no band: $649
- Apple Watch Edition gold 38mm 32GB with no band: $2299
- Apple Watch Edition gold 42mm 32GB with no band: $2499
I think we will see a small change between the prices and sizes too, but that gold edition is hitting scary territory. 99% of consumers will not spend that much money, but for those who are sitting in the 1% category, $2499 isn't too much to dump down on the first-generation Watch from Apple, right?
CES 2015 - Most Razer fans already know about the Nabu smartband, but the gaming peripheral giant has just unveiled the new Nabu X at CES 2015.
Razer is pricing the new Nabu X smartband competitively, at just $49.99, with both fitness and sleep tracking capabilities. Not only that, but we have discreet notifications and band-to-band social capabilities, too. There is no screen here, as it is more of a basic smartband compare to the Nabu.
The Razer Nabu X will launch on January 13 to qualified fans on Razer's Insider Forums for just $19.99, with retail units reaching consumers in spring for $49.99.
The wearable industry is expected to see strong growth in the years to come, but it looks like manufacturers need to revamp their sales and marketing campaign to sell fitness trackers. Eighty-five percent of consumers said they didn't want to purchase a fitness tracker, according to a report from Baird's William Power.
"Fitness trackers are becoming mainstream products, with one company noting that their marketing is now less about education and introduction and more about helping customers choose the right device in its portfolio," said Katy Huberty, managing director of Morgan Stanley, during CES.
Manufacturers will continue to crank out a number of different wearables, and fitness trackers will continue to be made, with prices dropping as features increase.
CES 2015 - Oculus VR had a gigantic setup at CES 2015 this year, but they were hosting private meetings for people to go in and check things out, so we set one up quite sometime ago to ensure we could get our hands, and eyes on the latest Rift prototype.
We stopped in and had a chat with Oculus VR's VP of Product, Nate Mitchell, who is one of the best guys in the industry. He walked us over the new Rift prototype known as "Crescent Bay", something that was shown off at Oculus Connect a few months ago. This is the first time the new Rift headset has been open to the public to test out, which is why we wanted to get down there and check things out.
The current DK2 unit has a 1920x1080 resolution, thanks to the Galaxy Note 3 panel it features inside of it. Oculus isn't stating what resolution the new Crescent Bay prototype is running at, but from my short time with it, I suspect we're seeing a 1440p panel, with some form of resolution scaling. Similar to NVIDIA's Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) technology, where it renders a larger picture, and then scales it down to the resolution of the monitor, or in this case, the VR headset.
The wearables market is growing, and has consumer attention as witnessed during CES 2015, but age, income and gender demographics are quite different between smartwatch and fitness tracker owners. Trying to create appealing products and price points requires insight into who is purchasing these devices - and how to cater to their specific needs - but that can be a daunting task for manufacturers.
Thirty-six percent of fitness tracker consumers in the United States are 35 to 54 years old, 41 percent make an average income of more than $100,000, and 54 percent were women. The NPD Group report also found that one in 10 US adults own some form of a fitness tracker.
Meanwhile, 69 percent of smartwatch owners are 18 to 34 years old, 71 percent are male, and 48 percent have an income below $45,000.
CES 2015 - Intel is pushing further into the wearables market after announcing a strategic partnership with eyewear maker Oakley. Intel will provide hardware and Oakley is going to roll out luxury and sports eyewear products mixed with smart technology - a great test platform for Intel's Curie ship.
"The product has to be authentic for us to be credible," said Colin Baden, CEO of Oakley, during a session at the Oakley booth. "If we are going to produce something that has this augmented experience, we can't have the front row laughing at us. We have to have the respect of the people who have represented us for the last 40 years, and if we fail at that, then we are making something that is novelty. And we are not about novelties. We are about real science and real technology."
CES 2015 has seen a large number of wearable-related news, as companies produce cheaper, functional smart devices.
Biometric smart clothing company Hexoskin has announced the Hexoskin Junior, the world's first biometric shirt for kids and teenagers.
The shirt makes it possible to track the following: heart rate, step count, sleep duration, calories burned, heart rate recovery, heart rate variability, breathing rate, breathing volume, activity level, acceleration, cadence, and more.
The custom biometric shirt can measure 42,000 data points per minute, with data sent via Bluetooth in real-time, designed to help coaches and athletes better understand their performance. Manufactured to be extremely lightweight, warm, and comfortable, it can measure biometrics during physical activity and sleep - with the Bluetooth device connected to fabric sensors inside of a built-in pocket.
CES 2015 - Intel has publicly unveiled its Curie module, a button-sized hardware product that utilizes Quark SE to help power wearable products. It is so small that it can actually be used in a coat button, as demonstrated during the keynote.
The Quark SE system-on-chip (SOC) module uses a low-power, 32-bit microcontroller with 384 kb of flash, Bluetooth Low Energy support, and an accelerometer and gyroscope combination sensor. The chip will publicly launch during Q3 or Q4 this year, with partners including Fossil Group, MICA and Opening Ceremony, SMS Audio, and Basis Peak.
"The rise of new personal computing experiences, intelligent and connected devices, and the wearable revolution are redefining the relationship between consumers and technology," said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. "Our goal with Intel technology is to help solve real problems and enable experiences that are truly desired by people and businesses."