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The Apple Watch may have garnered significant attention ahead of launch, but 69 percent of Americans don't have an interest in actually buying one, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey. Consumers will be able to purchase an Apple Watch starting on April 24.
Not surprisingly, the Apple Watch requires an iPhone to utilize all functionality, and 13 percent of survey respondents said they would think about purchasing the smartphone so they can use the watch. The product's launch is a major test for Apple CEO Tim Cook, as this is the first new product from Apple in more than five years.
Even if the majority of American consumers don't have a high interest in the Apple Watch, investors are expecting the long-awaited wearable to be a financial success. Unfortunately for Apple, 52 percent of consumers believe smartwatches are just a "passing fad."
Countless devices and gadgets hit Indiegogo each month, but one of the most interesting and promising things to hit the crowdfunding site is the new wearable; Quell.
Quell is promising consumers it is a drug-free device that will alleviate chronic pain. It has reached pre-order status on Indiegogo, where it has raised over $258,000 of its required $100,000 funding goal. You can grab one for $199, which will have a one-month supply inside, which is $50 less than the $250 retail price of the device.
Each month you will need two electrodes that are priced at $29.99, available from the company's website. But unfortunately, for the time being at least, Quell is available to those based in the US and Canada, as the company is still chasing regulatory approvals in other regions. The company has said that it's "the only FDA cleared, doctor recommended, 100% drug free device clinically proven to relieve chronic pain at the touch of a button".
After being the only one talking the VR industry seriously, Oculus VR might not be the first to the market with a serious VR device with its Rift. Company founder and brainiac Palmer Luckey has talked about the launch of the consumer version of the Rift at SXSW 2015, where he had some interesting things to say.
He was asked if Oculus plan to launch their consumer VR headset this year, but he didn't reveal any dates. Luckey didn't state that anything had gone wrong with the Rift, but he did say that the Facebook-owned giant has changed its roadmap and that they're having to ramp up target quality for CV1.
Luckey said: "I did say that, before we made a lot of changes to our roadmap, including ramping up the target quality level of the consumer device and partnering with Facebook. I cannot comment on the date one way or the other, but I can say nothing is going horribly wrong. Everything is going horribly right".
Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch plans to include smart functionality into a select line of products, but doesn't want to necessarily compete with Apple and other smartwatch makers. Instead, the company wants to pick select features to include in its "Swatch Touch" products - and leave other manufacturers to develop full lines of smart devices.
The company already accounts for 18 percent of total watch sales, according to industry studies, and doesn't want to be left behind as consumers look at smartwatches. Swatch wants to utilize near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth connectivity with its devices, hoping that wireless payments could be introduced later down the road.
"We are the world champions of integrating smart functions into a watch," said Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch, in a statement published by Reuters. "We don't want to produce a mini mobile phone on your wrist. Others can do that."
The US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has teamed up with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to develop wearables for first responders.
As part of the EMERGE! Accelerating Wearable Tech for First Responders programs, the TechNexus and Tech Wildcatters business accelerators will conduct a nationwide search for entrepreneurs that can participate in the program.
"CIT is honored to partner with DHS S&T to use new methods and ideas that deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their security mission," said Pete Jobse, President and CEO of CIT, in a statement. "This program will bring the best innovations into government, while helping emerging startups find new markets to sell products."
VR is a super-hot thing right now, but Crytek hasn't made much noise on the wearable gaming world just yet. Until now. Crytek's Managing Director, Faruk Yerli, has now talked about Crytek entering the VR world.
Yerli said: "We are exploring VR right now. We want to show the world true VR experience can only come from CryEngine, the best one. We see VR as an important device for enthusiasts, then going to mainstream probably. We want to elevate what we can do here... we hope to one day deliver a fully-fleshed VR experience".
Yerli talked about the challenges of delivering VR to a wide audience, with the obvious physical limitations "in terms of what gameplay actions you can do". When it comes to motion sickness, Yerli added that Crytek has "already found solutions" for it. Yerli added that CryEngine is capable of using AMD's new LiquidVR technology "directly out of the box" in order to usher in lower latency in multiple GPU systems.
The Apple Watch is expected to give a major boost to the smartwatch and wearables industry, even though there are plenty of critics. However, Apple should think long-term with the Apple Watch, and future wearables offerings, and not worry about critics.
Consumers interested in the Apple Watch understand that it won't be a cheap device, starting at $349 and surpassing $10,000 for luxury models - with the Silicon Valley company trying to cater to affluent consumers. Financial analysts are excited because Apple will yield strong profit margins from the higher-priced models, and there is plenty of long-term market growth potential.
"It's all part of a long game that Tim Cook is playing very smartly," said John Sculley, former Apple CEO, in a statement to CNBC. "He is starting to build out new ways to separate Apple away from Samsung, Google and Android, and all the others out there."
Apple has provided the most details yet on its Watch, something that will begin hitting wrists across the world on April 24. We now know that there will be the regular Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 in its smallest 38mm size, and $399 for the 42mm with both being available in silver or space gray. The "regular" Watch has a stainless steel casing, with its price ranging from $549 up to $1049 for the 38mm version, while the 42mm ranges from $599 to $1099. Then we have the Apple Watch Edition, with its casing made from 18-karat solid gold, starting at $10,000.
The Apple Watch will have Apple Pay baked into it, where you can double-tap on the side button to bring up Apple Pay. "Taptic" feedback is also here, which will come into play once a transaction is complete. No authentication is needed with your iPhone, as it is all done on Watch. Notifications will also pop up on Watch, with every notification from your iPhone hitting your wrist.
The new range of Apple Watches will reach Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US on April 24.
It looks like Facebook is ramping up to the hopefully absolutely gigantic launch of the Oculus Rift CV1 (Consumer Version 1), with the social network reportedly going on a huge hiring spree. Facebook is hiring over 1200 new employees, which would see its global workforce increase by a large 14%.
Facebook acquired Oculus VR this time last year for $2 billion and has since collaborated with the company on its VR HMDs, but until now it hasn't made Oculus change anything at its core. Even to this day, Oculus still operates virtually separately to Facebook, but enjoying Facebook's deep pockets for acquiring talent, companies and I'm sure, getting contracts signed for displays, and other parts that will go into the first consumer version of the Rift.
This huge hiring spree is great news for the Oculus Rift, as Facebook is looking to secure logistics managers that will work their magic on the global supply chain. Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has said: "We are an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO. Our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that".
With the VR game really heating up over the Game Developers Conference, does it come as any surprise that Google is reportedly working on something that mixes the world of VR with its Android operating system? Probably not.
The report is coming from The Wall Street Journal and its "two unnamed sources" who say that the Mountain View-based search giant is working on a version of Android that can power VR applications. The Journal reports that "tens of engineers" are working on the Android VR project, which should end up being free like Android is for tablets, smartphones and wearables.
The WSJ reports that Android VR has Clay Bavor and Jeremy Doig leading the project, where Bavor was "partly responsible for Google Cardboard" reports The Verge.