Google releases ‘Android Wear’ SDK developer preview, watches from LG, Moto & others due next quarter

silver_metal_600_00010Ahead of the release of Apple’s much rumored “iWatch” wearable product, Google has now officially announced Android’s entrance into wearables with project “Android Wear.” The Android Wear SDK allows developers to integrate a number of features into Android powered wearables and relies heavily on Google Now functionality, as we were first to report late last year.

Google also confirmed that it’s working with a handful of partners to bring Android Wear powered wearables to market by later this year: Read more

2014 to be a big year for wearables, with 17M devices expected to be sold

wearables

Market analyst Canalys reports that 1.6M fitness bands and smartwatches combined were sold in the second half of last year, and is predicting that more than 17M devices will be sold this year, driven largely by forecast sales of 8M smartwatches.

Though currently a relatively small market serving fitness enthusiasts, wearable bands represent a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment. 2014 will be the year that wearables become a key consumer technology, as the smart band segment is estimated to reach 8 million annual shipments. Canalys estimates that this number will grow to over 23 million units by 2015, and over 45 million by 2017 …  Read more

Pebble Steel smartwatch leaks: metal & Gorilla Glass version on the way (Update: Announced)

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

If you like the functionality of the Pebble smartwatch but are less keen on the plastic finish, it looks like you won’t have long to wait for a metal version. We’ve seen a couple of leaks of the Pebble Steel, seemingly the exact same innards as the existing Pebble watch but with a stainless steel casing and Gorilla Glass.

There are said to be two versions, one in brushed stainless steel (shown alongside the original plastic version above) and a matte black one (shown below the fold) …  Read more

Qualcomm gets in on Bluetooth beacon action with iBeacon competitor

Apple’s iBeacons aren’t the only Bluetooth LE beacons available, but they have so far been the default option for retailers thanks to the backing of such a well-known company. Qualcomm, which makes wireless chips for Apple among many others, may be aiming to change that with its launch of its own beacons from just $5 each.

Gimbal proximity beacons, available in two models, are accurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors [...]

Depending on volume, Series 10 beacons [for indoor use] are available for as little as $5 each and Series 20 beacons [weatherproof version] are available for as little as $10 each.

While the move represents competition for Apple, it’s good news for iOS users …  Read more

Apple working to slim its iWatch via intermittent Bluetooth LE connection?

iWatch concept by Stephen Olmstead

iWatch concept by Stephen Olmstead

An Apple patent filing filed today suggests that Apple may be working on a way to make its long-rumored iWatch slimmer than existing offerings by reducing the size of the battery required.

One of the barriers to widespread adoption of smartwatches is that existing models are not exactly sleek. Technology lovers might be willing to put function ahead of form and put up with chunky devices, but the wider market buys on style first, technology second.

While the Bluetooth LE protocol used by existing smartwatches uses around half the power of classic Bluetooth (peaking at 15mA instead of 30mA), a constant connection in a device you won’t want to charge daily still requires a reasonably chunky battery. What Apple’s patent proposes is for an on-demand creation of a Bluetooth connection between two devices, one with radio capabilities (aka an iPhone), one without …  Read more

New iWatch concept brings iOS 7 to Nike Fuel Band-style accessory

(via Dribbble)
(via Dribbble)

A very cool iWatch concept made by Thomas Bogner takes a very different approach to the highly anticipated and rumored wearable computer by Apple: Bogner imagines the device borrowing influence from the Nike Fuel Band with iOS 7 design language and features.

We recently ran a poll asking readers to vote on the best of various iWatch concepts, most of which look more like a traditional watch than something Apple created, but a much smarter Nike Fueld Band-style wearable computer could just what the doctor ordered.

Bogner’s iWatch concept features Siri-style voice input for apps like Mail, Messages, and Calandar, and Music control, and features integrated Nike fitness software like Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. Read more