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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."
Apple is preparing for the launch of its first wearable next month, requesting some of its developers to have their Watch apps ready by mid-February for the big launch.
The company is asking their high profile app developers and close partners to have their Watch-compatible iPhone apps ready to go in the App Store by the middle of February. Even though Watch isn't due until April, Apple is most likely wanting to get things prepared with plenty of time left for testing. Not only that, the apps could be used for promotional material, something we can expect Apple to push in the very near future.
Feeling a little bored up there in first-class? Major Australian airline Qantas will now be utilizing the help of the Samsung Gear VR with an accompanied Galaxy Note 4 to see their first-class customers further enjoy their experience.
It will be first tested through LA to Sydney and Melbourne to LA flights, said to be completed through the use of Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s. 12 Gear VR headsets will be used in the beginning test period, set as four for the outbound flight, four for the inbound flight and two for each of the first-class passenger lounges located in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Gear VR device will be connected to a Qantas app on the Note 4, allowing passengers to get a 360-degree look into the Qantas first-class lounge in LAX, runway-side videos of the aircraft taking off and setting down and a virtual reality boat ride on a Northern Territory river - set as a cross promotion with Tourism NT.
We've already been warned of one major issue with smartwatch usage - Not only do the manufacturers all seemingly list a nightly-charge routine, but it seems likely that these devices will barely last a full working day idling without requiring a charging cable to be used.
Obviously this isn't optimal, with users often charging their smartphones daily alongside other portable devices including tablets. Apple have been reportedly aiming for a 19-hour window, alongside 2.5 to 4 hours when in constant use. This is a stark contrast to ASUS, who are apparently going to use a simplified chipset and mobile operating system to ensure extended use.
ASUS chairman Jonney Shih has proudly stated "the ZenWatch is defined by us as a companion of a smartphone, and we think it still has a lot of room for improvement," further commenting that "as a companion device, its central processing unit and operating system should be more simplified than the current version, so that I can use it for up to seven days on one charge, rather than for just two days."
Alongside Apple announcing they've just posted the largest quarterly profit in mankind's history, CEO Tim Cook has also confirmed that their long-awaited smartwatch will ship in April.
Analyst Ming Chi Kuo from KGI Securities claimed recently that the watch would go on sale in March, with Cook now crushing that ideal.
Although no more product information has been currently released, you should expect it to start hitting the headlines in the coming month, especially seeing as we're now only two months away from the shipment date.
Set to ride the smartwatch success wave, Chris V Woolpert has set out to create a limited edition charging station - adding class and style to your charging experience.
Recently releasing a Kickstarter campaign, Woolpert describes this project as a "derivative or "spin off" design from a larger parent design project called USDCS." Further explaining that "the goal of this Kickstarter project is to raise funds for the proper development of the USDCS smart technology design project."
The product itself will hold your smartwatch up high for all to see, whilst providing a charging cable threaded through the 'arm' of the device - allowing you to hold and charge your smartwatch in style. All new major-brand smartwatch releases will require nightly charging, so if you're looking to keep your watch safely off the ground or a desk, this might be the solution for you.
According analyst Ming Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, Apple's long-awaited smartwatch will go on sale in just over one month, citing possible component shortages as a likely issue alongside commenting that 5 million devices should be sold within the first quarter of 2015.
Although no official launch date has been announced, the Watch was officially shown to the world in September, with Apple telling us to expect a full release in early 2015. Kuo has also made note that other analyst reports have also claimed a March release - so it's nothing completely ground-breaking or new.
Apple still has to release some information on the watch, including the battery and pre-order details, claims Kuo. Apple have stated that this new device will require charging daily, however no other information has been leaked.
The Apple Watch is expected to hit the market sometime this spring, and analysts believe it's going to be a major seller - quickly becoming the most popular smartwatch. More than 40 million smartwatches and fitness bands will be sold in 2015, according to CCS Insight, and that number is going to be boosted by the Watch's release.
Both smartwatches and fitness trackers may have received a lukewarm reception in 2014, and trying to keep people using their wearables will be a major challenge - but Apple will be ready to support app developers, hoping they make wearable-centric offerings.
"Apple has access to the best developers in the world, so they've given them all the tools they need to make apps for the Apple Watch, and they will now be having a beauty contest with all of those developers, saying come and show us what you've done," stated Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. "Then out of those thousands of apps they can pick five knock-out ones that really make the Watch sing, and use them to bring it to life."
As wearable technology continues to develop, and consumers begin to familiarize themselves while using these products, fitness trackers and health wearables will greatly benefit. The early generations of fitness trackers and health wearables, while providing unique features, should evolve as newer technologies emerge.
Despite many people purchasing a fitness tracker and abandoning them within three months, that could also change with future technology developments.
"In the future, your smartwatch will instantly access your medical records, diet and training logs, then sync them with sensors in the supermarket and mall to provide real-time shopping and health advice," said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean at the University of Phoenix college of information systems and technology, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Your smart shoes and biometric shirts will remind you to straighten your posture, hydrate and run and walk with correct form to protect your back and knees."
Wearable products will invade the consumer and business markets in the coming years, but will take patience from manufacturers and buyers. There is a lot of confusion regarding the current wearable market, as there is a clutter of different products, multiple platforms, and rather uneven marketing efforts from manufacturers.
Integrating faster and more powerful hardware doesn't seem to be a problem for wearables, but manufacturers are now trying to create more visually appealing products. Early generations of consumer wearables were rather bulky and didn't seem to be fashionable at all, though that is beginning to change.
Wearables were quite popular during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with many new product announcements and public launches. However, analysts still are unsure what to make of the industry, even though they expect it to rapidly grow in the coming years.