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2013 is turning out to be the year of the smartwatch, with heavy hitters like Samsung and Sony both releasing wearables of their own. If a new report is true, then both Google and Nokia will be tossing their hats into the smartwatch arena later this month. Newly leaked images of a Nokia branded smartwatch have surfaced, and Google is expected to unveil it's GEM smartwatch later this month as well.
The Nokia device that is seen in the images above can be nothing other than a smartwatch, and we fully expect it to be running some form of Windows Phone OS. Not much else is known though, but if rumors are true then we will fee the smartwatch unveiled at an October 22nd event along with five other devices. Google's GEM smartwatch is still a bit of an enigma, and the company is keeping any and all information under tight wraps. Some reports suggest that it will have dual screens, while other suggest it will look similar to Samsung's Galaxy Gear. Google is expected to launch the GEM at the Android 4.4 KitKat event where the Nexus 5 will be unveiled.
Apple seems far behind the wearable devices game, with a bunch of its competitors unveiling wearable devices, mainly Samsung's Galaxy Gear and heck, even the Galaxy Gear 2 is being teased already. This isn't even considering the awesome Omate TrueSmart, either and all before Apple has its first-gen device on our wrists.
Now we have a report that states Apple has scooped up one of Nike's top design directors, who will work on wearable devices for the company. Ben Shaffer was Nike's Studio Director of Innovation Kitchen, which might sound weird, but it's actually Nike's R&D arm that is responsible for products like the Nike FuelBand, which is a favorite of Apple's executives.
Shaffer will most likely begin working on the rumored iWatch, but the latest rumors peg it to be released late next year after some engineering problems.
Google is about to roll out Glass demos across the United States, starting in Durham, North Carolina on October 5. The Google Glass demonstration events will show off the wearable device, with the general public invited to try it out.
The Mountain View-based giant will take questions to the Glass team, so get in and ask whatever you want when it comes to a town near you! Google is moving from Durham to other cities, but there is currently no schedule or what the second city will even be. Google should take to Google+ to announce the news, but if you want to get in on the Glass Durham event, you'll have to RSVP for it now to ensure you can go and try it out.
One technology that has me excited along with the Oculus Rift is Sixense Entertainment's STEM System, which is currently on Kickstarter. Sixense had an original goal of $250,000 but they are now at $531,448 at the time of writing.
The developer has added a new stretch goal to its Kickstarter campaign, which would see them add STEM support for both Android and iOS devices if they reach $700,000. There's another 17 days for this to happen, so we should see them hit this goal quite easily. The Kickstarter campaign reads: "An updated Sixense software development kit will support Android 3.2 or higher and iOS 6 and higher, allowing STEM System developers to bring Sixense motion tracking to a huge installed base of mobile devices."
It also adds: "Our video above shows a virtual camera application for which we've heard a lot of requests. The STEM System running on Android and iOS will enable applications like the virtual camera, or even the ability to turn a mobile device into a VR head-mounted display."
I think that 2014 is going to be the breakout year for virtual reality, with kick-ass products like the Oculus Rift which isn't even close to a consumer launch yet. But, now we have Vision Sensor hitting IndieGogo, which the team give a description of "creates new seeing capabilities for the Oculus Rift."
Vision Sensor is basically augmented reality for the Oculus Rift, which sees two sensors and a sensor attachment cover strapped to the front of an Oculus Rift Developer Kit. It features a resolution of 1280x480 at 60FPS, and weighs just 75g so that it doesn't feel too heavy with the Rift, and Vision Sensor on your head.
The team at Vision Sensor say that there are 3 new possibilities to add to the user experience, with the first being an Immersive AR Experience. The second is Intuitive Operation (Mixed Reality) and the final possibility is Regaining Lost Vision. The first, lets you be in the world of Oculus Rift, but still stay in the real-world through augmented reality.
Intuitive Operation allows your fingers and hands to become an interface, replacing the traditional mouse and keyboard (or controller/Razer Hydra). The final part is regaining your loss of vision when the Rift is on your head and in front of your eyes.
For those of you who were looking at buying the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, you might want to just hold off on that as there's rumors that the South Korean company is working on the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch for a release early next year.
Korean language news site, Daum, reports from unnamed industry sources that Samsung is already working on a second-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Daum is reporting that the second-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch would work on a larger range of Samsung smartphones, compared to the first-generation Galaxy Gear which will only work with the Galaxy Note III smartphone at launch.
It's a bit worrying that Samsung would launch a second Galaxy Gear so close to the first-generation unit, but this just makes Omate's TrueSmart "Smartwatch 2.0" device stand out much more.
Today, Garmin announced the launch of two new items to its Forerunner line of GPS smartwatches. The new Forerunner GPS 220 and GPS 610 running watches take Garmin's involvement in wearable technology to an entirely new level.
Both of these wearable GPS's act as a personal coach by alerting you of your distance traveled, lap times, and even recovery times needed before attempting another strenuous run. Both models feature color screens, with the 620 being touch-enabled. The 620 also predicts your race time and gives you personalized oxygen consumption estimates. When combined with Garmin's HRM-Run technology, the 620 is able to measure how long your foot is on the ground rather than in-flight, which lets you compare your time per step to previous events.
"Whether running indoors or out, Forerunner 620 and 220 will change the way runners look at training," said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. "Advanced features in the 620 such as recovery advisor, VO2 max estimate, race predictor and stats on running economy, combined with connected features and training plan options found in both the 620 and 220, make these watches must haves for runners of all levels. To keep runners motivated the watches also notice if runners hit any personal records on that run, like their fastest mile, 5k, 10k, half or full marathon or their longest run to date."
The finalists of VR Jam 2013 have been announced, which was a joint venture between Oculus VR and IndieCade. If you're lucky like me and own an Oculus Rift headset, you can download 14 of the 20 finalists' submissions, with two dragon simulators to try out.
On September 19 the winning team will be announced, where they will receive a $10,000 grand prize as well as a trip to the Oculus HQ. The winning team will also win a trip to the IndieCade Festival which takes place between October 3-6, where they will have a showcase exhibition of their game. For the full list of finalists, we have:
- Alone - Bryan Cohen
- Chick Walk - Kevin Tsang
- Ciess - Edward McNeill
- Don't Let Go - Yorick van Vliet
- Dragon - Morgan Jaffit
- Dreadhalls - Sergio Hidalgo
- Dumpy - Brian Schrank
- Elevator Music - Julian Kantor
- Epic Dragon - Aurelien Kerbeci
- Komorebi - Fernando Ramallo
- Lost Route - Sergey Brezhnev
- Nostrum - Robert Yang
- Private Eye - Jake Slack
- Roleplayer - Joerg Pressel
- Shiny - Janina Woods
- Sight Line - Tomas Mariancik
- Specter Seekers - Ryan Anderson
- Stargazer - David Kalina
- TimeRifters - Doug Wolanick
- Virtual Internet Hacker - Lau Korsgaard
Omate seems to be doing quite well on Kickstarter for its TrueSmart smartwatch, requiring $100,000 of funding. But, Omate has hit a home run with its 'Smartwatch 2.0' pulling in (at the time of writing) $744,499 of funding with 7 days left to go.
We thought we'd get in contact with them and ask them a few questions about its upcoming 3G-capable TrueSmart device.
Q: Who is Omate?
A: Omate stands for
- Outdoor mate: Purposely designed to accompany you on outdoor activities - especially in wet environments like swimming, surfing or mountain biking - keeps you connected and gives access to calls, notifications and your favorite sporting apps.
- Office mate: No need to pull your phone out during that office meeting to check if you got that email or call you were waiting for.
Samsung may have already announced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Omate has impressed the world with its TrueSmart 'smartwatch 2.0' device, but it looks like the previous market leader, Apple, may be behind considerably with its own smartwatch, the iWatch.
DigiTimes has released a new article stating that the Cupertino-giant, who just launched its new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C smartphones, is experiencing low yield-rate problems, with upstream supply chain sources of DigiTimes stating that Apple is only receiving 30-40% of its original order volumes: "The iWatch is built using powder metallurgy technology and then processed by CNC equipment. Since Apple requires the iWatch be thin and light and still features an elegant design, it has been known that this will pose a great challenge to the device's chassis suppliers as well as related component makers and back-end process service providers."
Apple is expected to launch its iWatch device sometime in mid-2014, with manufacturers Inventec and Quanta Computer the companies behind the manufacturing muscle for the iWatch.