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Wareables aren't dead yet, here's what's coming this year

Wareables aren't dead yet, here's what's coming this year

Gartner forcasted that 310.4 million wearable devices will be sold worldwide in 2017, an increase of 16.7% over 2016. Sales of wearable devices will generate revenue of $30.5 billion in 2017.

For a category that supposed to be dying that isn’t too shabby is it?

Gartner, Inc forecasted that 310.4 million wearable devices would be sold worldwide in 2017

As the table above clearly shows, the term wearables is a broad category covering more than just smartwatches and fitness trackers as it also encompasses VR headsets, Bluetooth headphones and smart clothing.

Now that we’ve got the figures out of the way, let’s get a sampler of what we may see this year in this category.

Fitbit

Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition

Late last year Fitbit launched the Ionic, their long awaited smartwatch. It’s only now though that we’re starting to see additional apps appear and while software updates should ensure that the Ionic only gets better over time we’re not sure if that will help prospective customers get over the polarizing styling.

Very soon we will see the Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition launched. Primarily an exercise in branding, following the formula laid down by the Apple Nike Edition watches, it will be externally distinguishable by its sports-orientated strap while also providing additional training programs from Adidas.

The Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition

Fitbit Charge 3

The Fitbit Charge 2 was launched in Sept ’16 with an inbuilt Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and rapidly went on to become one of their best selling fitness devices. We used one extensively and our two biggest complaints were the lack of built-in GPS, instead relying on Assisted GPS from your phone, and any form of water resistance.

We expect the Charge 3 to be launched this year addressing both of those. Given the latter we should also see water sport activities included. The Charge 2 brought a substantial redesign so don’t expect anything other than some subtle refinements and polish with a more responsive screen.

Fitbit Blaze and Alta

We’ve heard rumors that the Blaze may be updated but this is likely to be pure speculation, the Blaze overlaps just too much with the Ionic so don’t be shocked if Fitbit discontinues the Blaze this year as it focuses on the Ionic.

Regarding the Alta, seeing as the Alta HR was launched in March last year and sits alongside the regular Alta we don’t anticipate any updates this year. After saying that we may also see Fitbit rationalize the two Alta lines by phasing out the regular Alta.

Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Music playback is virtually a given when the ‘leaked’ Garmin Forerunner 645 is launched this year. Garmin is an expert at repackaging the same core innards to address different markets with the Forerunner 645 looking to be based upon the highly commended Vivoactive 3. Two versions will be available with the only difference expected to be the storage of 800 tracks for music playback via Bluetooth headphones. Offline music playback from streaming services is also rumored and while no service has yet been named Spotify would do nicely. With CES 2018 just around the corner we expect the Garmin 645 Music to be announced then.

Along with music playback expect Garmin’s excellent health and sports tracking capabilities and Garmin Pay for contactless payment. With the Forerunner series being aimed at runners we may see the touch screen from the Vivoactive 3 dropped and replaced with buttons only.

Leaked images of the Garmin 645 Music

Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin launched the Fenix 5 family last year at CES comprising of the 5X, 5 and 5S. We don’t expect any major changes but we suspect that Garmin will include the additional tentpole features that its recent launchs had. Primarily Music playback and Garmin Pay. While Garmin Pay is hardware-dependand it be possible that Music Playback could come via a firmware update for certain Fenix 5 models – the Fenix 5X certainly has the storage?

Garmin announced the Fenix 5 series at CES 2017, so there is an outside chance that we could see a similar pattern emerge this year with the Fenix 6 being announced at CES 2018 but made available later in the year.

Apple

Apple Watch Series 4

It’s probably a safe bet that we’ll see the Apple Watch Series 4 this year in Sept alongside new iPhones.

Continuing with Apples ever-growing expertise in the SoC arena we’ll likely see the introduction of the Apple S4 Processor to power the Series 4.

Apple will continue its pivot towards health and fitness with the addition of new fitness related software features, a number of which we’ll catch a glimpse of along with WatchOS 5 that is expected to be unveiled at Apples World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in the middle of the year. Additional health related features may be enabled by the rumored inclusion of ‘smart straps’ as adding these to the watch itself require additional FDA approval loops.

Apple has been granted a number of Patents in and around the area of smart straps relating to smart fabrics and health sensors. The inclusion of ‘smart straps’ could also facilitate additional hardware features such as a FaceTime camera, not one that I’m personally crying out for though.

In my article entitled ‘How do we get 3-4 day battery life & when?’ I covered that Apple is developing its own Power Management Integrated Circuit (PMIC) for inclusion in future iPhones. Taking this train of thought to its logical conclusion we could also see this implemented in the Series 4 watch to extend battery life by several hours. There’s an outside chance that Apple could leverage its investment in Micro LED development this year and introduce the technology in the Series 4 to further extend battery life.

A great deal of column inches have been written regarding the design of the Apple Watch and if/when it will evolve. I suspect that we wont see a major design change and certainly not a move to a circular display this year, redeveloping WatchOS to support such a display would be a major change even without factoring in the effort that the developer community would have to put in. They’ll save that one for the Apple Watch X. However, I’m sure we’ll see the usual refinements in materials and a plethora of straps introduced though.

Apple AirPods 2

Apple have been unable to keep up with demand for their other wearable, the AirPods. This year we know that Apple will launch a new wireless charging case for AirPods alongside its new AirPower Mat. We’d also envisage that Apple will sell a skew of the AirPods that include the wireless charging case. We also covered that upgraded AirPods will be coming in 2018. All that is known at this stage is that some internal components will be tweaked but its not known if these will provide additional features or simply remove any manufacturing bottle necks.

Apple may take the opportunity to refine the design and improve sound quality while providing noise cancellation capabilities.

Apple has also filed Patents for the inclusion of additional biometric sensors to bring fitness tracking capabilities to future AirPods. We can’t confirm whether we’ll see any of these features this year.

Apples AirPower Mat along with a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods

Apple AR Glasses

Not likely this year, we are mostly including these for completeness, but on the horizon are Apples rumored AR glasses. Recently C.C. Leung, the Vice Chairman of Apple manufacturing partner Quanta Computer was quoted in saying that ‘We are working on an AR project and have studied the optical technologies that AR devices have needed since two years ago’.

While he didn’t name Apple directly, Tim Cook Apples CEO has spoke at length how he believe AR is the future. We’ll see.

Samsung

Last year we were expecting the Samsung Gear S4 but instead we received the Samsung Gear Sport, Gear Fit2 Pro fitness band and the Gear IconX ear buds. Given that, we’re expecting the Gear S4 to be launched in the second half of this year.

Borrowing a number of features from the Gear Sport we also expect to see the appearance of Bixby on a wearable for the first time, replacing the often maligned S-Voice.

Samsung has filed or been granted a number of Patents relating to a smartwatch with a built in camera, and additional display elements in the band and around the bezel, so it could surprise us with something from left field.

What is more likely though is a slimmer design in the family with more accurate fitness tracking. As we’ve mentioned in our previous reviews, more Tizen apps would be greatly appreciated.

Many many patents never see the light of day.

Huawei

A recently leaked product roadmap details a Q1 launch for the Huawei A2 Band. We wont have to wait long as rumors suggest that it will be announced during CES 2018 . We suspect it will be an entry level offering.

Magic Leap One

These could be a true game changer for AR and while they may look like the goggles from The Book Of Henry they promise to lift AR to the next level. Utilizing a raft of sensors and computing power they provide full spatial awareness that should provide a super realistic mixed reality experience.

With the SDK being released imminently to developers, the Creator Addition should arrive sometime in 2018. The price is a huge unknown at the moment, however the Creator Addition should be followed by a cheaper consumer addition.

Magic Leap One Augmented Reality glasses will become reality in 2018

Android Wear

The Android Wear category is deep so we’ll just pull out a few highlights and observations.

Version 2.0 introduced several new features including standalone apps, Play Store, Android Pay, Material Design, Google Assistant and better fitness metrics. Now aligned with Oreo the latest update launched late in 2017 introduced many minor updates mostly under the hood.

With Apple having the lions share of the market, Google is in a two horse race for second with Samsung. Google may be doing something about that though this year. It’s been speculated that the company will ‘pixelize’ the smartwatch. As with the Pixel phones, a Pixel Watch could be just the boost that Android Wear and Google need.

In the last year alone Google has expanded its Shanghai team from 20 to 150, geographically this is located close to key suppliers. However, this build up of assets may not relate to the Pixel Watch but other initiatives including Pixel Buds or VR headsets.

We’ve been here before. The last rumored Google Watch turned out to be the LG Watch Sport (shown) and LG Watch Style

The majority of Android Wear watches are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC, last year Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon Wear 1200 for entry level wearables. So we have an outside chance that Qualcomm could launch the successor to the 2100 this year, Wear 2200 perhaps? We’ve heard nothing to support this though and furthermore we suspect that the demand simply isn’t there.

It’s a similar story for Intel. With the capable Intel Atom Z34XX chipset powering the Tag Heuer Connected and the Balance RunIQ smart watches we don’t expect to see a replacement for this SoC this year. Talking of which…

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 39

Tag Heuer launched the Connected Modular 45 in March last year and this was Tag’s second smart watch and it’s simply the best built Android Wear watch out there. Lacking a heart rate monitor it’s not suitable for fitness, but I wouldn’t go running with a $1,700 watch so maybe it isn’t such a huge loss.

We don’t expect to see a replacement until next year but we are expecting the more female friendly Tag Heuer Connected Modular 39 this year. Here’s hoping that Tag Heuer don’t remove hardware features like the GPS or NFC to get the size down.

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 to be joined by the smaller Connected Modular 39

Hopes and Aspirations

As a category in general while we debate ‘what’s the killer app’ here’s our overview of things we’d like to see this year.

  • Improved battery life
  • Continued health and fitness tracking improvements and subsequent health insights
  • Standards to be defined to facilitate cross platform tracking and challenges
  • Further shrinking of components to further reduce size or allow for a bigger battery
  • Even greater integration with our other devices. For example, Android today gives me the option to keep a phone unlocked when it detects my watch, can’t with iOS

Long Shots

Microsoft Surface Watch

If the rumors are to be believed. Microsoft has hit their stride with hardware design at the moment and the thought of a Surface Watch following the same design trends is intoxicating.

Design aside though, for it to be a success Microsoft will have to nail the hardware, fitness capabilities and supporting app for iOS and Android on its first attempt.

As always, thanks for reading and we know this taster can’t cover everything so let us know what you’re looking forward to in our comments section below.

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 05:00:01 +0000

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Essential Phone releases Meltdown and Spectre fixes

Essential Phone releases Meltdown and Spectre fixes

Essential confirmed on Twitter that it is rolling out fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws as part of the January security updates for the Essential Phone. These will be available to those running the current stable release and not to those on the Oreo beta release. However, the final Oreo release will include these fixes. Essential did not comment on when the final Oreo update will be released.

Meltdown and Spectre are names of two major security flaws that were uncovered recently. Both are techniques that can allow a user process to read kernel memory and access sensitive information. Meltdown largely affects Intel x86 processors from the last decade or so and some ARM-based processors. Spectre affects almost all modern processors. Companies have already started issuing patches for both but it is speculated that these will reduce performance in some instances.

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 01:30:01 +0000

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Watch: 5K gaming on an iMac Pro

Watch: 5K gaming on an iMac Pro

 With a Vega 56 GPU, Apple’s iMac Pro is well equipped to handle professional imaging tasks from high-resolution video editing to batch RAW photo processing. That power can also be applied to recreational activities like gaming, as we discovered in this video.

For more reviews, news, tips, features and more, subscribe to AppleInsider on YouTube. And for the lowest prices on an iMac Pro, be sure to visit our iMac Pro Price Guide.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 19:54:58 +0000

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Watch: 5K gaming on an iMac Pro

Watch: 5K gaming on an iMac Pro

 With a Vega 56 GPU, Apple’s iMac Pro is well equipped to handle professional imaging tasks from high-resolution video editing to batch RAW photo processing. That power can also be applied to recreational activities like gaming, as we discovered in this video.

For more reviews, news, tips, features and more, subscribe to AppleInsider on YouTube. And for the lowest prices on an iMac Pro, be sure to visit our iMac Pro Price Guide.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 19:54:58 +0000

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Apple Launches 'Back to University' Promo in Australia/New Zealand: Free Beats With Mac or iPad Pro

Apple Launches 'Back to University' Promo in Australia/New Zealand: Free Beats With Mac or iPad Pro

Apple today launched its annual Back to University promotion in Australia and New Zealand, offering the choice of a free pair of Beats Solo3, BeatsX, or Powerbeats3 headphones to qualifying students, teachers, lecturers, and educational staff members who purchase an eligible Mac for a limited time.


Eligible models include any MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, or Mac Pro, including custom configurations. As usual, the Mac mini and refurbished Macs are excluded from the promotion.

The promotion also offers free BeatsX wireless headphones with the purchase of any 10.5-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro, or students can pay AU$59/NZ$70 extra for Powerbeats3 Wireless or AU$200/NZ$230 extra for Solo3 Wireless headphones. Apple’s lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini 4 models do not qualify.


The promotion is available at Apple’s retail stores in Australia, and through Apple’s online store in both countries, and is in addition to Apple’s regular educational discount. Alternatively, customers can call 133-622 in Australia or 0800-692-7753 in New Zealand to take advantage of the deal by phone.

Apple’s Back to University promotion starts today and ends March 15, 2018 in Australia and New Zealand. Apple’s terms and conditions [AU/NZ] outline the complete eligibility requirements for the promotion in those countries.

In Australia, qualified purchasers are defined as lecturers, teachers, staff members, and full-time or part-time students aged 18 or over, with a current student union card or student identification card, at an accredited Australian university or an other Apple-approved institution within the country.

In New Zealand, qualified purchasers are defined as any employee of a public or private K–12 institution; students, faculty, and staff members of higher education institutions, and parents purchasing on behalf of their children who are attending or accepted into a higher education institution in the country.

As is usually the case, Apple’s Back to University promotion in Australia and New Zealand is exactly the same as its Back to School promotion was in the United States, Canada, and across Europe last year.

Not a student or looking for even better deals? Visit our Apple Deals roundup for other discounts on Apple products and accessories.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:10:43 +0000

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CES 2018: myCharge Debuts 20,000mAh 'All Powerful' Battery Pack That Can Charge Anything

CES 2018: myCharge Debuts 20,000mAh 'All Powerful' Battery Pack That Can Charge Anything

I currently have an off brand 26,000 mah and it’s not enough. Wish they had even more mAh

Well, go ask pAh if he’ll take you to the store to look a brand with more… ‘cuz mAh ain’t movin’.:p:D… ;):(… 😳
I’ll see myself out.

I currently have an off brand 26,000 mah and it’s not enough. Wish they had even more mAh

Really? I have an Anker one that’s 26800 and it’s been great.

if this makes a boom, i’d prefer to not to be there
I currently have an off brand 26,000 mah and it’s not enough. Wish they had even more mAh
$200? Dang. I got my 20,000 mAh Anker bricks for $40 on sale and wireless charging pads that can plug into those bricks for less than half that. $200????? Wow.
setting up a gofundme page – link will follow /s

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:42:49 +0000

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Non-functional LG Wallet/Pay app arrives on Google Play

Non-functional LG Wallet/Pay app arrives on Google Play

A new app from LG has been released on the Google Play Store. It’s a mobile payments application, but confusingly, it carriers not one, but two monikers: LG Wallet and LG Pay.

As you can see in the screenshot above, for me, the listing says the app isn’t compatible with any of my devices. That’s because the app description on Google Play says you need to have a G7 to install it.

Yes, a G7, which – for first – is an unreleased device, and secondly, from what we’ve heard recently, it’s reasonable to say there’ll not be an LG phone with that name at-least for a foreseeable future.

While the listing says more handsets will be available in the future, reports note the app is set to be compatible with some non-LG devices, including the Pixel XL, Nextbit Robin, Nexus 6, and some OnePlus phones.

Those who managed to install the app on their device say it’s broken – the app launches, asks for permissions, plays a Korean video, and then hangs.

So considering the facts that LG Wallet/Pay is only compatible with a yet to be announced device (we can assume not everybody in the company is currently aware of the plans for naming the next G-series phone, hence the listing says G7) and contains Korean intro video, it’s reasonable to assume the app is not yet ready for prime time.

For those who aren’t aware, LG jumped into the mobile payments market back in June last year with the introduction of LG Pay. The service is currently only available in South Korea, and the LG G6 is currently the only device on which it works – though there are plans to add more handsets to that list.

Source | Via

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 04:21:55 +0000

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OnePlus 5 Oreo roll out resumes as OxygenOS 5.0.1

OnePlus 5 Oreo roll out resumes as OxygenOS 5.0.1

Recently, OnePlus cancelled the roll out for the OnePlus 5 Oreo (stable) update due to bugs. That build was arriving as Oxygen 5.0. Now, the company has announced that the roll out has resumed.

As for difference between the two builds, the new one is arriving as OxygenOS 5.0.1 and contains a couple of new fixes, presumably for those issues that caused the cancellation of the first build.

The new fixes in question are for bugs related to third party camera application and network issues for European operators. Also, the update isn’t compatible with units having unlocked bootloader, so you need to re-lock the bootloader, or find some way to flash the update manually.

Source

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 08:30:02 +0000

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Gamers will speedrun for charity at Games Done Quick’s massive event

Gamers will speedrun for charity at Games Done Quick’s massive event

Awesome Games Done Quick is an annual charity event in which the internet’s prodigious speedrunning community plays a number of games and invites viewers to donate money. While this might not sound like the most watchable spectacle in the world, they’ve managed to raise millions in the name of medical charities. The 2018 event begins this Sunday.

Speedrunning, in case you aren’t aware, is a form of gaming where the player tries to complete a game in as lickety-split a manner as possible. AGDQ leverages the inherent thrill of a speedrunner’s pace to put on a show in the name of raising money.

This year’s event is being held live at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel. Anyone who can’t attend the event live can watch on the event’s Twitch channel.

In the past, AGDQ and its sister event, Summer Games Done Quick, have raised over $12 million for multiple charities, including Doctors Without Borders, and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Last year, AGDQ raised $2.2 million for Prevent Cancer, breaking its own record in the process. It’s also held special events for urgent needs, such as Hurricane Harvey.

AGDQ 2018 will run from this Sunday through January 14th.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 00:04:22 +0000

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App Store and Google Play raked in $60 billion last year

App Store and Google Play raked in $60 billion last year

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:10:30 +0000

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