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MWC 2014 - During a panel discussion in Barcelona this week, Motorola senior vice president, Rick Osterloh, says that the company is planning on launching a new smartwatch later this year. The wearable device is said to address issues consumers have with current smartwatch models on the market and will improve on style and battery life. It is unknown what the smartwatch may look like, but we are willing to bet that Motorola will steer clear of its MotoACTV design that saw less than stellar sales since its launch.
This news comes as a surprise, especially since the company is in the midst of a transition of ownership phase between Google and its new owners, Lenovo. From a business standpoint, the announcement does make some sense though as smartwatches and other wearable technology are at the forefront of consumer spending, a market which is dominated by LG, Pebble, and Samsung at the moment. Let's just hope that Motorola can pull it off this time under the leadership of Lenovo.
When I started at TweakTown over three years ago, I never thought I'd type the words "Snoop Dogg" into a title, or body of any article I was writing... well, that day has come. It has come courtesy of Avegant, who took to Kickstarter to crowdfund its Glyph Beta.
Glyph, is a new head-mounted display that is expected to be released in Q1 2015. Snoop Dogg, the uber famous rapper, has tried out Glyph, giving it his seal of approval. The display itself flips down from a headphone-like position, which is something Avegant calls a "virtual retinal display" which allows users to connect a bunch of different devices to it for instant video access.
The company were after $250,000 in funding, but ended up with over $1.5 million. Snoop Dogg saw the Avegant Glyph on CNN, and reached out to the company to test it out. He gave a shout out to Avegant, and the company's COO, Yobie Benjamin, on Twitter: "Shout out to my homie @yobie for showing me what everyone's going to jump on @Avegant - Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) February 20, 2014".
A new report from CNET is suggesting that LG has been chosen as the OEM to manufacturer the company's Nexus-branded smartwatch, and that the device will be unveiled at the Mountain View company's I/O conference in June. Furthermore, the report went on to state that Google will be unveiling more details on the device well before the conference kicks off to give developers time to create apps for the device.
The decision to chose LG is no surprise at all as Google is quite pleased with the company's partnership with LG to manufacturer the Nexus 5 smartphone as well as its predecessor, the Nexus 4. The report says that just like it did with other Nexus devices, Google will head up all sales, marketing, and media on the device, leaving LG the task of making the hardware the best it can possibly be. The Nexus smartwatch will arrive just in time to rival Samsung's new Gear 2, Apples iWatch, and even HTC's upcoming wearable. Unfortunately, unless Google and LG make something amazing, I still do not see the smartwatch making it past the novelty stage in the market.
MWC 2014 - Sony unveiled two great looking devices today at MWC 2014, the Xperia Z2 smartphone and Xperia Z2 Tablet, but the fitness tracking market just saw an entry from the Japanese giant. Introducing the Sony SmartBand.
Sony's SmartBand is powered by the company's new Core fitness tracker, which will come with a Lifelog app. Sony's new wearable will track your physical activity and movements throughout the day, but the Lifelog app is where things change. Sony's Lifelog app will save the places you visit, songs you've listened to, games you've played, books you've read, and much more.
This is referred to by Sony as the SmartWear Experience, with the SmartBand being the start of this new wearable journey for the company. The SmartBand is waterproof, is capable of measuring your sleep cycle, waking you up at the ideal time each morning, and will notify you of incoming calls, and activity coming in from social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
MWC 2014 - Huawei has taken the wraps off of its new smartband, the TalkBand B1. The Huawei TalkBand B1 features a 1.4-inch flexible OLED display that supports wireless calling.
There's a removable earpiece inside of the TalkBan B1, which is why it is 14.6mm thick. It also has plenty of fitness tracking abilities, where it will record how many steps you've taken, how far you've traveled, and just how many calories you've burned. There's also a sleeping pattern monitor which will keep track of you snoozing away at night, as well as a smart alarm function which will wake you up at the right time.
NFC is featured for pairing, with the internal 90mAh battery good for around six days of use. There's no word on pricing, but the B1 will launch in China next month, with Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Western Europe having to wait until Q2 2014 to get their hands, or wrists, on the TalkBand B1.
We've heard about Sony's VR headset quite a few times now, but it looks like we'll see the Japanese electronics giant unveil its PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset at the 2014 Game Developers Conference next month in San Francisco.
TechRadar has an "inside source" who told them that Sony's VR headset is coming along well, with the source saying: "The quality and resolution are really, really good. People will definitely be impressed with what Sony's built". Sony was expected to unveil its VR headset earlier, but the company wanted extra time on the device before it officially unveils it.
The source added: "Sony has deliberately taken its time to tweak and polish the headset before revealing it". Sony already has a few VR headsets, but this new device is made purely for gaming. VR gaming will be big business in the years to come, so Sony arriving on the market first with a consumer VR device will be a big bragging point for the company.
Mobile World Congress 2014 - Mobile World Congress 2014 kicks off in just a matter of hours, but Samsung has jumped the gun announcing two new smartwatches. The two new smartwatches don't feature the word "Galaxy" in their name, they're just known as Gear 2, and Gear 2 Neo.
Samsung has opted to drop Google's mobile OS Android, in favor of Tizen, something we thought would happen. The new smartwatches don't only feature Samsung's open-source OS, but they will feature revamped hardware, too.
The front-facing camera has been moved from the face of the smartwatch into the strap on the body itself, an IR port is provided so that it turns the Gear 2 smartwatches into a full living room remote. As for hardware, we have a 1.63-inch 320x320 Super AMOLED display, single-core processor at 1GHz, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board flash.
We reported about Google working on its own smartwatch all the way back in August of last year, but it looks like the Mountain View-based search giant is reaching the launching point of its new smartwatch.
TechCrunch is reporting that Google will "officially" begin shipping its smartwatch sometime in the second half of next month, but members from within Google's smartwatch team say that the date will be pushed back until June. Alternatively, Google could launch the smartwatch early, without its full feature set, which would be unfortunate.
According to people familiar with the matter, an early version of Google's smartwatch featured a metal band, square face, colorful digital display with a gradient background where colors gently fade from one to the other. Google will reportedly ship its smartwatch with a plastic band versus a metal band, like the Pebble Steel, but it is just one of the many prototypes the company is working on.
Startup founder Cuff recently launched a wearables product line that is more fashionable and appealing, hopefully to cater to customers looking for functional, visually appealing products.
Included in the Cuff collection are bracelets, necklaces, and key chains that look like something from a women's magazine as opposed to a geeky tech magazine. The products range in price from $50 up to $150 and are currently only available with Apple iOS 6 or newer - no Google Android support is available, and will roll out a custom app once Android has stable Bluetooth 4.0 support, according to the company.
Wearables have tremendous potential for the enterprise and consumer markets, but the industry still has multiple challenges to overcome. Companies are focusing more on the enterprise wearable market at the moment, but technology breakthroughs should trickle into consumer markets as familiarity and stability increase.
(From right to left: Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO; Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO; Fred Ishii, Iron CIty Micro Display founder; Mark Spitzer, Google X Director of Operations; and Jessica Lessin, moderator)
During the recent Kopin Wearable Technology Launch Event in Santa Clara, California, panelists spoke during a round table discussion and shared their views on what needs to change for the future of wearables to accelerate even faster.
"Miniaturization is hugely important - and second to that, bringing down cost (is important)," said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO, during a panel discussion at the Kopin press event. "Consumers are now more aware and willing to adopt it. Technology is now pervasive in our lives and users look for easier ways to access it."