smart watch Stories March 16, 2016

Hublot likely next of LVMH’s Swiss watch brands to add smartwatch features following TAG

Following the introduction of the TAG Heuer Android Wear watch late last year— the first of the major Swiss brands to launch a full-fledged smartwatch— TAG’s parent company says Hublot will likely be its next brand to receive smartwatch features. Bloomberg reports:

smart watch Stories April 27, 2015

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There’s certainly a benefit to Apple’s use of sapphire crystal on Apple Watch. It’s extremely scratch resistant (even though stainless steel may not be) and will hold up over time, but how does it compare to sapphire crystal used in traditional watches? In a new video published by Unbox Therapy, Apple Watch was put up against a Tissot watch to see if Apple’s standards for sapphire crystal match up with traditional watchmakers….

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smart watch Stories October 15, 2014

SONY DSC

Image via <a href="http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2014/10/16/will-introduces-wearable-puls/" target="_blank">The Next Web</a>

Pop musician Will.i.am has just taken the wraps off of his first wearable, the Puls smartwatch, during Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2014 conference (via The Next Web). The watch ships with a software suite that includes Facebook and Twitter connectivity, Instagram, and even integration with Salesforce. It also features a voice control system dubbed “Aneeda” that’s powered by Nuance. Aneeda also supports basic features such as reminders, music control, alarms, and more.

On the hardware side, the watch sports standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections along with a pedometer, GPS, acceleromter, and even a 3G connection powered by AT&T (or O2 in the UK) that will allow users to place calls or send text messages and emails without pairing the Puls with a phone at all. The battery is built into the strap, providing plenty of space beneath the face for the other internal components, which includes 16 GB of storage space and a full gigabyte of RAM. It also has built in speakers for music and alerts.

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smart watch Stories September 30, 2014

Pebble firmware 2.6 introduces activity tracking and quick app launching

In the face of new competition from Apple, smartwatch maker Pebble has released an update to the device’s firmware that enables all-new activity tracking features for health applications. To accompany this update, new Pebble apps from Jawbone and others that integrate with the health and fitness tracking features.

The app by Misfit will be capable of monitoring sleep and movement using the watch’s built-in sensors, while Jawbone’s “UP” watchface will be able to track similar data and sync back to the Jawbone UP service via a smartphone connection. Perhaps the most interesting application of these new features is the Swim.com application, which can “measure distance, pace, times, strokes, and efficiency while swimming” and later relay the data back to an app on a smartphone.

The new firmware also includes the ability to quickly launch your favorite apps using one of the device’s hardware buttons.

The update is available for the $99 Pebble or $199 Pebble Steel and can be downloaded through the Pebble iOS app.

Pebble Firmware 2.6 Release Notes

  • NEW: Activity. Activity tracking apps (e.g. Jawbone, Misfit, Swim.com) for Pebble now work seamlessly in the background. View installed Activity apps and toggle preferences in the Pebble Settings menu. An Activity icon is visible within Pebble menus when a compatible app is installed and running.
  • NEW: Quick Launch. Set shortcuts from a watchface to your favorite Pebble apps with a long press of the Up or Down buttons. Enable Quick Launch and set app shortcuts in the Pebble Settings menu.
  • Battery icon is now persistent within Pebble menus.
  • Select button once again dismisses notifications when paired with an Android device or iOS device on iOS 7 or lower. iOS 8 users get notificaion dismissal for both Pebble and the paired device when pressing Select.
  • Bug fixes and improvements.

 

Screenshot 2014-09-30 12.22.43

Basis, a company backed by Intel, has announced a new smart watch compatible with iOS devices that places a focus on health and fitness applications. The device is capable of keeping track of several health-related data points, such as steps, calories, heart rate, prespiration, the temperature of your skin, and in-depth information about your sleep habits.

The Peak doesn’t yet support basic smart watch features like email and text notifications, but Basis says those functions will come in a future software update.

The company says that the device will be available by the holidays, meaning it will beat Apple’s own market entry to shelves. Pricing? $199 in either black or white finishes, which means it comes in under the Apple wearable. You can see photos and the full press release for the Peak below:

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smart watch Stories August 14, 2014

Apple and Samsung will sew-up the smartwatch market, others will fail, predicts analyst

Apple and Samsung will largely own the smartwatch market between them, predicts Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson in a report being issued later today and seen by Re/code.

Dawson said that new players should “stay out of the market,” and existing players should scale back their plans.

“We do not recommend that existing vendors should maintain current levels of investment when market growth and the overall revenue opportunity remain poor,” Dawson said. “It is unlikely that more than one or two small vendors will be able to make a sustainable business out of smartwatches in the face of competition from Samsung and […] Apple” …

smart watch Stories August 1, 2014

9to5Toys Last Call: iPad Air from $350 w/ .edu, SanDisk 128GB microSD $100, Pebble Steel $210, more

Be sure to follow 9to5Toys to keep up with the best gear and deals on the web: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call updates:

Best Buy 2-day sale: iPad Air $400 or $350 w/ .edu email address (Reg. $499), much more

SanDisk Ultra 128GB Class 10 microSD memory card $100 shipped (orig. $120)

Pebble Steel smartwatch for Android/iOS $210 shipped (Reg. $230)

Turn your Apple USB wall plug into a power bank w/ NomadPlus, save 50% for a limited time

Other new deals:

More tech deals still alive:

Home/fashion/media/other:

New products/ongoing promos:

Android/Microsoft/misc tech:

smart watch Stories April 2, 2014

The research that shows Apple is right to take its time over the iWatch

New research from Endeavour shows that more than half of U.S. consumers who have owned a wearable device no longer use it, and of those two-thirds stopped using it within the first six months of ownership. This is up from the 40 percent abandonment found by a similar survey by CSS Insight last fall.

The Guardian newspaper in the UK has a supporting piece in which it found more than 900 Galaxy Gear watches for sale on eBay, with asking prices as low as a third of the purchase cost.

While the data may be bad news for existing smartwatch and fitness band suppliers, The Guardian has an apposite comparison with early mp3 players, which also suffered high abandonment rates a decade ago.

So lots of those early MP3 players eventually ended up in drawers; but that didn’t stop the sector becoming huge.

And the company responsible for that shift was, of course, Apple: the company which took its time getting both the device and the user-interface right.

smart watch Stories March 7, 2014

Finally a smartwatch concept that I could actually see myself wearing

I’ve said before that if Apple or anyone else wants to persuade me to wear a smartwatch, they’re going to have to design something that looks like a stylish watch rather than a chunk of smartphone glued to a strap.

Even most of the concept images floating around haven’t really hit the mark in my view. But this one, by Hungarian designer Gábor Balogh and spotted by The Verge, does.

Granted, it suffers the usual concept image issue of being designed with little thought to practicality (what happens when I answer that call?), and it’s not an iOS interface we’re seeing, but Balogh himself says that he’s aiming to illustrate a principle rather than a specific user-interface. That principle being that a watch should, first and foremost, work as a watch.

Check out the full set of images on Balogh’s Bēhance page, and let us know in the comments what you think.

smart watch Stories February 25, 2014

Crowdsource update: SunSprite, the solar-powered wearable aimed at geeks

With all the focus on skin cancer caused by too much exposure to sunlight, you might expect a UV-measurement gadget to be designed to warn you when you’ve spent too long in the sun. But no, the SunSprite has the opposite goal: it’s aimed at those who spend all their time indoors, and don’t get enough time in the sun. Or, to put it more concisely, geeks.

Sunlight plays a role in both mood and sleep patterns. The SunSprite measures exposure to both visible and UV light, and uses LEDs to indicate when you’ve met your daily goal of having spent enough time outside. It also communicates with a companion iPhone app. The retail price is a rather hefty $149, but early bird Indiegogo backers can get one for $89.

A neat thing about it is the same sunlight it measures also powers the device. The low energy requirements of the SunSprite mean that just a few minutes of sunlight provide enough energy to power the gadget for a week.

With some rumors suggesting that the iWatch may incorporate solar panels, perhaps this is one more health-based sensor Apple could include?

There’s a longer video that goes into more detail below.

smart watch Stories January 6, 2014

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) …  expand full story

smart watch Stories January 2, 2014

9to5Toys Last Call: iOttie iPhone windshield mount $12, tons of app price drops, HP 27″ IPS monitor $355, Blu-rays, HDTVs, more

Be sure to follow 9to5Toys to keep up with the best gear and deals on the web: Twitter, RSS Feed, Facebook, Google+ and subscribe to the new Safari push notifications feature.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

iOttie One-Touch iPhone Car Windshield/Dashboard Mount $12 shipped (Reg. $25)

Game/App Deals: Scanner Pro: FREE (Reg. $7), Hotline Miami PS3/PS Vita: $2.50 (Reg. $10), Xbox One games $40, iOS Sonic & All-Stars Racing out now, iOS freebies, 3D Blu-rays, more

HP 27″ LED IPS Monitor w/DisplayPort, Dual-Link DVI & 4-Port USB Hub (refurb): $355 shipped

Other great deals from today:

More great deals still alive:

smart watch Stories December 13, 2013

Pebble smart watch gets smarter with do-not-disturb mode plus improved notifications & alarms

Pebble has announced that v1.14 of the smart watch firmware introduces a do-not-disturb feature, to block all notifications for a set period of time, together with improvements to both notifications and alarms.

  • Do Not Disturb. Block notifications for a set period of time (from Pebble: Settings » Notifications » Do Not Disturb).
  • Alarms app update. Create multiple Alarms, toggle Alarms on/off, and edit existing Alarms.
  • New “Snooze Alarm.” Customizable via the Pebble Alarms app.
  • Improved Notification Control. Specify what notifications are displayed (Notifications On, Phone Calls Only, or Notifications Off). Notification settings are now accessible more quickly through a dedicated menu (Settings » Notifications).
  • Improved iOS performance. Notifications are now sent more quickly from your iOS device to Pebble. After exiting Airplane Mode, Pebble will now search for connectable iOS devices immediately, instead of waiting one minute.

The new firmware also includes a number of bug-fixes. Pebble was last updated last month to allow it to reliably receive all notifications from iOS 7 devices. Apple updated its Bluetooth APIs back in June to provide full Notification Center access via Bluetooth.

To install it, simply open the iPhone app and you should be prompted to upgrade.

smart watch Stories December 10, 2013

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 …  expand full story

smart watch Stories August 1, 2013

Pebble smartwatch app for iOS updated with email notification support

Pebble smartwatch users running iOS 6 won’t have to wait until iOS 7 to get email notifications: the company behind the watch has issued an update for its iOS app to support email alerts.

The update supports Gmail via a login through Google, while other IMAP email accounts are supported via a login-system within the app. Non-IMAP accounts (like POP) are not supported.

For those who receive a lot of email, Pebble has included an option to temporarily pause email notifications:

Once it has been successfully set up, you will see the account listed on the Email Notifications page. A blue bar means that the account is active. If you would like to temporarily disable the notifications, simply tap the bar once to turn them off; it will appear grey when the notifications are disabled. Tap the bar again when you wish to re-enable the notifications.

Pebble also has troubleshooting instructions on its support page. Of course, Apple is working on its own smart watch. The Pebble recently went on sale at Best Buy. 

smart watch Stories July 11, 2013

Pebble announces 275k units sold to date, plans to add email notifications for iOS in 2-3 weeks

Following the retail launch of its Bluetooth smartwatch at Best Buy earlier this month, Pebble is for the first time disclosing how many units its sold since its extremely popular Kickstarter campaign. Pebble is now at 275K orders to date, 190K of which came from its website after initially selling around 85k to its Kickstarter backers. Pebble also announced it has now hit over 1 million app downloads on the platform and plans to implement new features for iOS including email notifications and Gmail and iMAP support :

A major new feature on iOS will be available within 2-3 weeks. The feature has been lacking since launch: support for email notifications. At first, our testing with iOS 6 indicated that the built-in Bluetooth notification system would be able to send notifications Pebble. Unfortunately, that system only could reliably send SMS and iMessage to Pebble (ironically something we did not promise to support). We’ve finally cracked the email puzzle and the next Pebble iOS app will have full support for Gmail and IMAP email notifications.

Last month we reported that Apple would be offering a new Notification Center service to developers with iOS 7 that will allow Bluetooth devices like Pebble to access all notifications from Notification Center. Pebble hinted today that it has plans for the new Bluetooth profiles:

iOS 7 looks quite cool and useful but we can’t talk about it in detail until Apple releases it publicly. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with it and test Pebble support under iOS 7..

Pebble’s Eric Migicovsky also clarified when preorders would be receiving their orders and announced he’d be holding a Reddit AMA today at 12pm PDT on reddit.com/r/pebble.

smart watch Stories July 2, 2013

Yesterday we noted that Best Buy retail sources indicated the popular ‘Pebble’ Bluetooth smart watch would be landing on at least some of the retailer’s store shelves this weekend. Today Pebble and Best Buy have finally made things official by announcing the partnership that will bring the most successful Kickstarter-backed device of all time to both Best Buy online and across all its U.S. brick and mortar locations.

It’s definitely big news for the company ahead of Apple’s rumored smart watch, as well as Sony and others getting deeper into the space. The exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy also marks Pebble’s first retail launch of the device following raising over $10.2 million from around 68,000 backers on Kickstarter.

“It’s been so rewarding to see and share the great things our early backers and development partners have done with Pebble already,” says CEO Eric Migicovsky. “Their work and our evolving app ecosystem has kept demand very high. Best Buy’s partnership with us is a big step towards meeting that demand.”

As we first reported yesterday, Pebble confirmed today that the device will be landing in all U.S. Best Buy locations starting Sunday, July 7, and Jet black and Cherry red editions of the smart watch are already available through Best Buy’s website. The Jet black models will be shipping starting today through the retailer’s online store, while the Cherry red models will arrive sometime later in August.

The packaging for Pebble also appears to have received an upgrade for Best Buy’s store shelves since we first saw it back in January right before the device started shipping to Kickstarter backers:

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smart watch Stories July 1, 2013

Update: (10am ET) The link is now live at Best Buy

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.31.47 AM

pebble

At least some Best Buy retail stores in the United States will begin selling the Pebble smart watch this weekend, according to claims from two Best Buy employees. Both of these people say that they were briefed by management that their stores will begin selling the smart watch. Additionally, one source provided the above image which purportedly shows the Pebble smart watch in Best Buy’s internal inventory system. The inventory system classifies the product as a “digital communication appcessory,” which we feel is an apt description of the Pebble…

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smart watch Stories April 12, 2013

Pebble Watch SDK goes live, new watch faces and apps to come

Pebble, the E-Ink smart-watch for iPhones and Android devices which raised over 10 million dollars on Kickstarter is about to get a lot of new features. Today, Pebble announced that the watch SDK is being released today. The SDK will allow developers to create custom watch faces, alerts and new apps.

At the moment, there’s less than 10 available watch faces and only one app, but expect those numbers to grow dramatically now that developers can get their hands on a public SDK.

You can grab the SDK from Pebble’s website right here.

smart watch Stories March 13, 2013

First Pebble teardown claims watch is unrepairable, lacks Bluetooth 4.0 support (Update: Pebble responds)

Update: We’ve received information directly from Pebble that the watch does indeed support Bluetooth 4.0. The company provided the following explanation regarding iFixit’s findings:

The Bluetooth chips TI sent to Panasonic were labeled CC2560 but have been flashed with the firmware (and BT LE support) of a CC2564. That’s why the module was labeled PAN1316. Many chip vendors make silicon consistent between product lines but simply flash different firmware to enable features. Our chips were labeled CC2560 because TI asked us if we wouldn’t mind using them with CC2564 firmware to speed up our order. Pebble most definitely has Bluetooth LE support, though it has not yet been enabled in our operating system.

iFixit has performed its usual teardown process for yet another device today, this time giving us a look inside the recently launched Pebble Bluetooth smart watch. iFixit admits it has no way of rating the repairability of this type of device, and for that reason isn’t giving it a repairability score like usual. Unfortunately, at first glance the watch doesn’t appear to be easily repairable with the report noting waterproofing makes for a “very inaccessible battery.” iFixit noted that excessive adhesive used to keep out water made it impossible to access the insides of the device “without compromising the display”:

The Pebble employs tons of adhesive to keep water (and tinkerers) out. Add in a bezel around the screen, and it’s impossible to separate the cases without compromising the display.

The report also claimed that the Bluetooth chip being used does not appear to support Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE), despite the company promising support for the protocol in a future software update:

The backside of the motherboard houses a Panasonic RF module, promising both Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) functionality, as advertised by the folks at Pebble. Removing the EMI shield reveals a Texas Instruments chip in the same family as, but slightly different than the one we expected. According to its datasheet, this chip doesn’t support BLE. Word on the street was that Pebble had BLE functionality just waiting to be activated with a firmware update, but we can’t find evidence of the hardware to back up this hidden potential.

The good news is iFixit estimates the battery in Pebble will last 6 to 10 years and the developers confirmed a recycling program will be in place. We’ll have to wait for official word from Pebble on the questioned Bluetooth 4.0 support. You can check out the full teardown from iFixit here.

smart watch Stories March 4, 2013

iWatch-Concept-slap-bracelet

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device. At the time, we noted that all the recent rumors and intel surrounding the iWatch seemed like the lead up to an impending product launch. Bloomberg is out with a new report today, claiming Apple will indeed launch its watch product in 2013:

Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year, this person said. Apple has filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word “wrist,” including one for a device with a flexible screen, powered by kinetic energy… The watch business is experiencing a renaissance reminiscent of the cell phone industry before the iPhone.

The report added information about some of the potential features of the device that we had also heard of previously, including the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps, and record health data via various sensors:

Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.

Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen estimated Apple could generate $6 billion of the approximately $60 million in sales he expects the global watch industry to bring in during 2013. As pointed out by Bloomberg, gross margins are roughly four times bigger than TVs, which would only bring about $1.79 billion in gross profit for the company compared to $3.6 billion for watches.

Former creative director at Nike Scott Wilson told Bloomberg that Apple’s Jonathan Ive “has long had an interest in watches.” expand full story

smart watch Stories February 12, 2013

Apple-iWatch-Concept-01

Since the old iWatch rumor reared its head again in December, there have been a few more reliable sources adding weight to the idea that we could see a smart watch from Apple this year. Over the weekend, The New York Times, which said essentially the same thing in 2011, followed up the rumors with a report that Apple is working on a curved glass watch prototype running iOS. The Wall Street Journal quickly followed with more information, claiming Apple and partner Foxconn are now testing wearable, watch-like devices.

While many have speculated what Apple might include in an iWatch, such as Apple employee #66 and founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group Bruce Tognazzini, all we get from reports is “curved glass” and “iOS”. Apple has clearly been testing wearable prototypes with several patents dating as far back as 2009, describing potential integration with wristwatches and iOS devices. By taking a look at the technology for watches that Apple is already experimenting with through the many publicly available patents, we put together a list of some of the features the company could very well include in an Apple-branded smart watch. expand full story

smart watch Stories February 8, 2013

iWatch-concept-02

Bruce Tognazzini, Apple employee #66 and founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group, published his thoughts on a potential smart watch product from the company (via MG Siegler) yesterday. While we have seen the launch of several Bluetooth smart watch products from startups this year, Tognazzini thought a watch from Apple could “have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.” One of the many interesting ideas Tognazzini has about how Apple might take advantage of a wearable device is the ability to build better maps:

Using pressure data from millions of watches, Apple could build a precision altitude map of the world. This map would indicate true altitudes everywhere that iWatch wearers travel. The granularity would be several orders of magnitude greater than ever before attempted for a wide-area map at a cost several orders of magnitude less than Flyover.

In the article, Tognazzini explained what he thought will be the standout features of an iWatch from Apple. While outlining the some of the apps you might expect like fitness and remote control applications, he said Passcodes and enhanced Find My iPhone features would be the two killer apps:

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smart watch Stories January 14, 2013

Martian-Watches-Passport-03There were more than a few Bluetooth-enabled smart watches on display at CES this year. We were on-hand for the official press unveiling of the Pebble e-paper watch, which is expected to start shipping to over 80,000 backers later this month. We also spotted Martian Watches, CooKoo, I’mWatch, and a small handful of other watches designed to pair and work with your iPhone or other mobile devices. Many have seen the Pebble, up until now, as the frontrunner mainly due to the 10 million in funding it raised through Kickstarter. While rumor has it Apple is interested in creating a smart watch of its own, we will hear a lot more about smart watches in 2013 if CES is any indication. Over the past week and a half, I had the chance to put one of these smart watches to the test: the Bluetooth 4.0 “Passport” from Martian Watches.

A few things to note right off the bat: First, unlike the Pebble and I’m Watch, which integrate a larger display, the focus of Martian Watches is voice command. There is some debate whether a smart watch, one that the average iPhone user might use on a daily basis, should resemble an iPod nano-like touchscreen or a more traditional timepiece design. Martian Watches is going with the latter, but it integrates a small 96-by-16 pixel OLED display capable of displaying notifications and scrolling text for incoming messages and calls.

While Pebble and others hope to create an ecosystem of third-party apps that can run on small, touch-enabled displays, the name of the game is voice command for Martian Watches. That means, in the case of iPhone users, you’ll be able to activate and control Siri right from your wrist. It also means as Siri improves and adds more functionality, your Martian Watch does too. However, Martian packs some other non-Siri features that make it a true competitor to the other Bluetooth smart watches hitting the market…

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