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The Apple Watch is currently the best smartwatch available to consumers, according to a recent Consumer Reports tested 11 different smartwatch models, including several different Apple Watch models. The results are based on various tests that include durability, water resistance, readability, ease of use, ease of interaction, and health functionality.
The Apple Watch tops the Apple Watch Sport and LG G Watch R (tied for No. 2), Pebble Steel, Moto 360, ASUS ZenWatch, Samsung Gear S, Martian Notifier, and Sony SmartWatch 3.
"In the end, our top-rated smartwatch is the stainless-steel Apple Watch," according to Consumer Reports. "Its performance on the scratch-resistance test and excellent scores for ease of pairing and ease of interaction make it our top choice. Not an iPhone user? Not to worry, several Android-compatible models and one multi-OS-compatible smartwatch got very good overall scores as well."
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek says his company is developing a long-life battery that can be used for smartwatches and will be ready in 2016, according to Swiss weekly newspaper Handelszeitung. Smartwatches draw the most attention to the growing wearables market, but battery life continues to be a major fight for manufacturers developing wrist-worn smart technology.
"Whoever brings a battery for a smartwatch to the market that you don't need to charge for six months has a competitive advantage," Hayek said in a statement to Reuters. "We're working intensively on this problem with our research group Belenos and battery producer Renata."
The company also said its battery won't just be for smartwatches, but could be used in vehicles: "Next year we will come to the market with a revolutionary battery, not only for watches but also for automobiles."
If you thought the Oculus Rift was only for PCs and not consoles, then you should think again. During TechCrunch Disrupt, Oculus VR officials noted there have been discussions to one day bring VR to the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One game consoles.
"We've talked to everyone," said Nate Mitchell, VP of Oculus VR, when asked if his company has spoken with Microsoft or Sony regarding the VR headset for game consoles. "There's a lot of people right now interested in the VR space. And we've said many times that we're interested in bringing the Rift to as many consoles or platforms as possible. Ultimately, we haven't announced any sorts of partnerships to date. But it's something we're always exploring."
Microsoft is developing HoloLens and Sony has its Project Morpheus, so it's unknown how receptive either company would be to Oculus VR. However, the Oculus Rift remains the best known VR headset, so it may not be a wise decision to shut it out completely in the future.
Since the Oculus Rift hit Kickstarter the world has been wondering when the CV1 (Consumer Version 1) would be released to the public. Well, now we know: Q1 2016.
Oculus VR announced the news just now, with the hardware on the final version, as well as its price, still unknown. However, the company did say: "The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as updated ergonomics for a more natural fit, and a highly refined industrial design".
The teasing continues: "In the weeks ahead, we'll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift. Next week, we'll share more of the technical specifications here on the Oculus blog".
The wearables market seems to have captured the attention of the consumer market, but Samsung wants to remind us that the B2B market also has great potential. There is hope that wearables will be able to boost efficiency and productivity in the workplace.
It is expected to take time and patience, though Samsung believes wearable technology will increase in the workplace faster than smartphones. The difference being users can quickly glance at actionable information, such as emails, text messages, and work-related alerts while remaining hands-free.
In a blog post, Samsung point to wearables being used in hotels, high schools, restaurants, sales, hospitals, and warehouses - an appealing aspect as more promising applications become available.
Apple might have just launched its Watch, but the wearable market has been here for quite sometime, and now ASUS wants to make its splash into the wearable game with the VivoWatch.
Where ASUS is going to stray from Apple is pricing, with Apple Watch starting at a huge $549, ASUS could really get some consumers on its side with its $149 price tag. At $149, ASUS has used Android Wear on the VivoWatch, but the long battery life is going to be another draw card, where it should be at around 10 days, which is damn impressive. Apple Watch on the other hand, provides users with around 19 hours of battery life.
The VivoWatch sports a 1.28-inch black and white touchscreen which uses an LCD panel from Sharp, but the display is somewhat unique. When you start tapping or swiping at the VivoWatch display, only part of the image moves, which extends battery life considerably. ASUS has also used a different chip inside of the VivoWatch, instead of a full blown system-on-a-chip (SoC).
We still have a built-in heart rate sensor, IP67 water resistance, and full health tracking within the VivoWatch, even at its $149 pricing. ASUS has event provided a "happiness index range" which monitors your happiness through various functions on the VivoWatch. The VivoWatch with its IP67 water resistance can be "submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes" which allows you to keep it on 24/7, compared to something like the Apple Watch, which needs to be removed when you're in the shower or water.
Luxury watch company TAG Heuer will release a Google Android Wear-powered device by the end of the year, sporting a whopping $1,400 price tag. The custom watch could be available in October, but shouldn't launch any later than November, according to company officials.
The watch has been created with the help of Intel and Google, with all three companies announcing a partnership in March. Google is providing Android Wear while TAG Heuer will use a new Intel microprocessor to power the costly watch.
Following the same idea as other smartwatch manufacturers, TAG Heuer hopes the Apple Watch helps bring additional attention to the wearable market. "The more they sell, the more a few people will want something different and come to TAG Heuer," said Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer, in a statement to Bloomberg.
Google Glass was quite the product, and while it didn't receive widespread use or universal praise, I personally thought it was a great device on the market. For one, it was something completely new - there's nothing quite like it, and if it was done right, it could turn into something very useful.
Well, it will soon have a competitor from Chinese manufacturer Allwinner. Allwinner hasn't named its wearable yet, but they have said that it will be a Glass like device, with a much better price of $199, compared to the $1500 asking price of the Google Glass Explorer Edition. Allwinner is really talking up its wearable, saying that it will be able to outperform Glass in both price, and performance categories.
Inside of the Allwinner wearable, we'll find their own A33 processor, with Taiwanese design firm Coretronic provided the design work on the device. It will look quite similar to Google Glass, but cost nearly 1/10 of what Mountain View was charging. It will feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but right now there is no release date for Allwinner's Glass competitor.
An issue with the Apple Watch's taptic engines has slowed the wearable's rollout, but Apple will resolve the problems and move on, according to an analyst. This is the first new product under CEO Tim Cook's leadership, so expect reported problems to be thoroughly investigated.
"Apple always has produced a phenomenal product. They are driven to produce a high-quality product, so I think they will iron out all these issues and bring a quality product to market," said Ivan Feinseth, analyst and chief investment officer at Tigress Asset Management, in a statement published by CNBC.
The popular Silicon Valley company is closely watched by consumers, analysts, and the media, typically fixing issues with its products sooner rather than later. Analysts still believe millions of Apple Watch units will be sold this year, helping give a major boost to the wearables market in 2015.
Trying to predict what is next for wearables is extremely difficult, but as technology advances at a rapid rate, it seems likely we'll have to get ready for "disappearables." It could be less than five years when sensors are so advanced that "hearables" can be used to fit products directly into your ear, and then disappearables will be right around the corner.
Smartwatches will lead the wearables market over the next three years, and hearables will be next, accounting for around $15 billion of a $30 billion market. The wearables market still needs time to become more mainstream, but hardware manufacturers and app developers have time to work on their products before launching publicly.
It looks like disappearables will have an immediate impact in medical and fitness tracking, but there are plenty of other options available. Using machine learning, disappearables could recommend physical changes to help make people healthier - and to make access to technology even easier.