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Apple is anticipating big demand for its Apple Watch smartwatch, asking Asian suppliers to prepare five to six million units ready for launch in April. The company will release three models and wants to ensure there is adequate stock of each one.
At least half of the production numbers will be for the Apple Sport, the company's entry-level smartwatch model, though production plans can be adjusted as needed.
The high-end Apple Watch Edition has seen small pre-orders to date, but Apple will produce at least one million units per month during Q2, according to sources. The watch has an 18-karat gold casing and could be extremely popular in China, as Apple products have become increasingly popular there as of late.
Korean company LG Electronics has confirmed the LG Watch Urbane, its first all-metal Google Android Wear device, will be unveiled during Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 next month.
The watch runs a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, features a 1.3-inch P-OLED display, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM, and runs Android Wear. The stainless steel body will be available in polished silver and gold finish, attached a stitched leather strap. Additional functionality of the watch wasn't confirmed by LG, with more details expected at MWC.
"The LG Watch Urbane's classic design and smart features make it the perfect smartwatch to complement our G Watch and G Watch R, which were designed as more casual and active devices," said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Mobile Communications. "LG Watch Urbane is an important part of our strategy to develop wearable devices that are worn and viewed as everyday accessories, not electronic gadgets."
Ryanair wants to give smartwatch wearable owners additional features, such as boarding gate information, digital boarding passes, and post-landing information. A prototype app offering will be unveiled after the Apple Watch launches in the spring, according to company officials.
Additional details about the custom smartwatch offering will be released in the coming months.
"In the future, Ryanair wants to be able to provide information throughout a passenger's journey, from the second you go to bed in a hotel, to when you land and need to find your car, or book a taxi," said John Hurley, CTO of Ryanair, in a statement published by The Telegraph. "People want micro-moments, micro pieces of information."
Wearable supporters promote fitness trackers and smartwatches as valuable tools to help monitor physical activity and general health - but a new study found that most smartphone applications are just as accurate, according to researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
During a trial conducted at Penn, participants wore the following: a pedometer and two accelerometers, three wearable devices, and two smartphones (one with three apps and the other smartphone running one app. Smartphone data apps tracked step counts that were similar to one another, while the wearables provided greater variance.
"In this study, we wanted to address one of the challenges with using wearable devices: they must be accurate," said Meredith Case, Penn medical student and study author. "After all, if a device is going to be effective at monitoring - and potentially changing - behavior, individuals have to be able to trust the data. We found that smartphone apps are just as accurate as wearable devices for tracking physical activity."
Out of the 4.6 million wearable devices shipped across 2014, only 720,000 of them were powered by Android Wear according to analyst firm, Canalys.
According to Canalys' data, the Moto 360 was the most popular wearable on the market. But out of those 4.6 million, Google must be feeling the pain that its Android Wear OS only powered 720,000 of those units, as it faces heavy competition from Pebble, and Samsung's Gear range of smartwatches, which runs Samsung's own OS.
Xiaomi shipped over 1 million units of its Mi Smartband, which is something Canalys puts down to its unique marketing campaign. LG's G Watch R had a nice sales boost over the holidays, with Samsung not igniting the wearable world as much as it most likely hoped to.
Mobile traffic is set to boom over the next few years, with wearable devices becoming more prevalent - and increasingly relying on mobile data. The wearable market will increase from 109 million in 2014 up to 578 million by 2019, according to Cisco, which will increase the amount of mobile data being used.
There will be an increase in smartwatches with the launch of the Apple Watch later this year, while other rival devices continue to hit the consumer market. The Apple Watch needs to be paired to an iPhone to transmit data, though smartphones already use six times the amount of data when compared to a normal mobile phone.
Of the 11.5 billion predicted mobile connections by 2019, 8.3 billion will be smartphones, tablets, laptops and other personal mobile devices - and those devices will rely on a mix of cellular data and Wi-Fi.
GDC 2015 isn't too far away now, with John Carmack announcing that he will be speaking about "The Dawn of Mobile VR" on March 4, for at least 1.5 hours (or longer, knowing Carmack).
The CTO of Oculus VR and co-founder of id Software will be talking about the technical aspects of seeing mobile VR turn into a reality, from techniques and strategies for maximizing the quality of your VR games, applications and experiences, to his thoughts on the future of VR, as well as what it means for the mobile ecosystem.
After "The Dawn of Mobile VR" session, there will be a Q&A session that will last until "all questions are answered or everyone is chased out", so if you're at GDC 2015 and want to ask the legendary John Carmack a question, there's your chance. Carmack is hoping that game developers will not only walk away with a better understanding of mobile VR, but the techniques and strategies for developing mobile VR content, and what the future of consumer VR might end up being.
Wearable hardware continues a rapid evolution, and now requires better software able to make use of the data, according to Pebble.
"The hardware is out there," said Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble Technology, in a statement published by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. "It works; it's durable and long-lasting. The conversation can now shift from just being hardware to being, 'What am I going to do with this? How does communication change? How can I accomplish things during my day?'"
Migicovsky's company has focused on developing hardware for the past seven years, but there is now more focus on software development. Sixty of the team's 130-employee workforce is now made up of software engineers, he said.
Something that most of us had taken for granted when in school, was wearing a watch, these days with wearable computing, you have to think twice. Just like some schools are now.
BuzzFeed News is reporting that many universities are issuing blanket bans on all watches during exams, just in case some of them are wearing wearables to cheat during exams. London's City University has said that it "wouldn't be practical" to have people checking every students watch to see if it was an analog, or smartwatch.
Pebble has sold more than 1 million smartwatches since launch, with the milestone reached on December 31, as the company's price cuts apparently helped do the trick. The Pebble smartwatch saw a price reduction down to $99, while the Steel model received a price cut down to $199 in September - and consumers were more willing to splurge.
To help build on its success, Pebble will release a new software platform and additional smartwatch products to compete with growing competition. Specifically, the company has a new software framework that it hopes will appeal to consumers and app designers:
"We've found a new framework to use as an interaction model on the watch," said Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble, in a statement to The Verge. "It doesn't look like what we have today, and it doesn't look like what's on your smartphone."