HP and designer Michael Bastian team up to produce an iOS-compatible smartwatch with a traditional look

HP-Watch The great smartwatch boom is starting to consume electronic makers and HP is not exempt. The company is partnering with designer Michael Bastian to produce its own next-gen timepiece. Hewlett-Packard’s timekeeper won’t be dedicated to a single mobile platform and will instead serve as a companion device for Android and iOS smartphones similar to how Pebble watches work. Read more

WSJ: Apple planning multiple iWatch models with as many as 10 health-related sensors

iWatch concept: Espen Oxholm

iWatch concept: Espen Oxholm

The Wall Street Journal has published a new report claiming that Apple’s upcoming entry to the smartwatch market will sport ten or more sensors for collecting health data. The report also claims that the company is working on multiple versions for the wearable device, which is expected to be released later this year.

The iWatch is expected to be a health-focused device and will likely work with Apple’s new Health application, which it debuted earlier this month at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The application and its associated framework, called HealthKit, already have built-in support for certain types of devices without the need for a third-party application.

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Analyst goes to Taiwan, says iWatch has a round face; will be more than one model

Moto360

Rossenblatt Securities analyst Brian Blair is citing supply chain sources in Taiwan in stating that the iWatch has a round display, and is similar in design to the Moto 360 smartwatch shown above in a Motorola teaser image, but with a slimmer profile, reports Business Insider.

According to his supply chain sources, the iWatch will have a round face. Many people were expecting it to have a rectangular face, but Blair’s sources tell him it’s going to be round, like a normal watch

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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

Smartwatch race is on as Samsung confirms it’s in the game

Samsung has confirmed to Bloomberg the rumors that it’s working on a smartwatch to rival the widely-speculated Apple iWatch.

Known for being a ‘fast follower’, a company that, er, watches what others do and aims to quickly launch a competitive product, Samsung appears to be following Apple’s lead in revealing nothing at all about the device: no feature-list, no visuals, no price, no launch-date. Samsung’s executive vice president of mobile business Lee Young Hee said only: “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long. We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.” Thanks for that, Samsung.

firstup-580x262

The alleged screenshots that appeared last month on Slashgear suggested a 500×500-pixel touchscreen device running a new operating system supposedly named AltiusOS.

The smartwatch market is estimated to be worth $60 billion a year. Just to put that in perspective, that’s about 16 percent of the $358 billion handset market. Marshal Cohen, an analyst at NPD Group in Port Washington, told Bloomberg: “We’re going to see formidable competition coming from many different directions — from device makers, accessory makers, even fashion designers.”

Laurence Balter, chief investment strategist at Oracle Investment Research, said he believed Apple’s strategy should be to use the iWatch as an affordable entry into the Apple ecosystem, generating sales for its more expensive products. “If I were Apple, I’d strategically price the watch as low as possible to bring as many as possible into the ecosystem,” he said.

It’s expected that most smart watches will follow Pebble’s lead in making the device a Bluetooth accessory to a phone and not a standalone gadget, but there has been speculation that the iWatch will run iOS, potentially allowing it to perform useful functions without a link to an iPhone.

Meta Watch announces first Bluetooth 4.0 smartwatch for iOS, ships to devs this month

Run by former Nokia and Fossil execs, and previously available in beta for Android devices only, Meta Watch officially launched its smartwatch platform today that interfaces with iOS—the first of its kind to utilize the low energy Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The watch works with an iOS app for customizing which notifications will pop up on its display. Notifications consist of the usual phone calls and messaging, but developers have access to an API that will allow them to send almost anything to the device.

The company previously had issues getting the platform to run smoothly due to limitations of iOS. However, thanks to Bluetooth 4.0, the device featuring a 96-by-96-pixel LCD display is now slated to ship sometime this month for $199. The Meta Watch is clearly still more of a development kit than an end-user product at this point, but with six fully programmable buttons, a 3-axis accelerometer, vibrating motor, ambient light sensor, and of course Bluetooth 4.0, there is a ton that devs will be able to do with the device.

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