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charlesarthur : wearable   53

Google shuts down Nest app for Apple Watch and Wear OS • The Verge
Chris Welch:
<p>People take control of their smart thermostat from their wrist so infrequently that Google has decided to completely scrap its Nest app for both Apple Watch and the company’s own Wear OS platform. The smartwatch Nest app offered a quick way to adjust the thermostat’s target temperature or operating mode. But now it simply displays a “Nest is no longer supported on Wear OS” message when opened and instructs customers to uninstall it.

“We took a look at Nest app users on smartwatches and found that only a small number of people were using it,” a Google spokesperson told 9to5Google. “Moving forward our team will spend more time focusing on delivering high quality experiences through mobile apps and voice interactions.”

Is this some monumental loss? No, not really. You can still just pull out your phone and do those same things (and more) with the Nest mobile app on Android and iOS. Notifications from the Nest smartphone app will continue to show up on your watch.</p>

No surprise. There are very few things you can usefully control from your wrist. It's fine for receiving notifications, dictating short notes, starting exercise apps. But really, isn't the idea of the Nest that you don't need to control it?
nest  wearable  app 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Amazon is working on a device that can read human emotions • Bloomberg
Matt Day:
<p> Inc. is developing a voice-activated wearable device that can recognize human emotions.

The wrist-worn gadget is described as a health and wellness product in internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg. It’s a collaboration between Lab126, the hardware development group behind Amazon’s Fire phone and Echo smart speaker, and the Alexa voice software team.

Designed to work with a smartphone app, the device has microphones paired with software that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice, according to the documents and a person familiar with the program. Eventually the technology could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others, the documents show…

…A US patent filed in 2017 describes a system in which voice software uses analysis of vocal patterns to determine how a user is feeling, discerning among “joy, anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, disgust, boredom, stress, or other emotional states.” The patent, made public last year, suggests Amazon could use knowledge of a user’s emotions to recommend products or otherwise tailor responses.</p>

So it'll be more adept than its early testers?
wearable  amazon  emotion 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Why is everybody getting into wireless earbuds? • Tech.pinions
Carolina Milanesi:
<p>There is no question about Apple’s success with AirPods. Apple managed to get AirPods across gender, age, and even income level despite their price point not putting them in the “most affordable” category. The experience is described by many as magical. In a study, we, at Creative Strategies, conducted with Experian when AirPods first came out, customer satisfaction was the highest for a new product from Apple. 98% of AirPods owners said they were very satisfied or satisfied. Remarkably, 82% said they were very satisfied. By comparison, when the iPhone came out in 2007, it held a 92% customer satisfaction level, iPad in 2010 had 92%, and Apple Watch in 2015 had 97%.

Assuming Microsoft and Amazon are just after the revenue that a good set of wireless earbuds could generate is a little shortsighted.

Ambient computing and voice-first are certainly big drivers for both Microsoft and Amazon. As computing power is spread out across devices and digital assistants are helping to bridge our experience across them, voice has grown in importance as an interface. Many consumers are, however, less comfortable shouting commands across a room or speaking to technology outside the “safety” of their own home. As voice moves into the office, the need and desire to be able to speak quietly to an assistant and hear it back is even more evident.

Wireless earbuds that can be worn comfortably throughout the day allow us to build a better relationship with our assistants and, even more so, build our reliance. Interestingly, I would argue, this is where AirPods have not been as successful as Apple might have hoped for but certainly, through no fault of their own but more due to some limitations Siri has.

For both Alexa and Cortana, who do not have a smartphone they can call their own home, wireless earbuds are a great way to be with a user in a more direct and personal way rather than being relegated into an app. As I often say, this is not about consumers having only one assistant but making the assistant they use more often more intelligent and therefore creating a vicious circle: the more I use it, the more it gets better, the more I want to use it.</p>

On Wednesday I saw a street sweeper wearing a paid of AirPods. They're the new Coca-Cola of headphones: same for everyone, just about priced for all, uniquely recognisable.
Apple  airpods  wearable  microsoft  amazon 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Paul Massey and John Kinsella shot 'in gangland assassination' • BBC News
<p>Massey was shot dead on 26 July 2015 outside his home in Clifton, Salford, by a gunman firing an Uzi sub-machine gun. Then at about 06:45 BST on 5 May this year, Kinsella was shot dead near his home in Rainhill, St Helens, by a man on a bike, the jury heard.

The prosecutor said a man, allegedly Mr Fellows, had cycled up behind Kinsella and shot him twice in the back with a handgun and then twice to the back of the head.

Mr Greaney said there were "clear parallels" which suggested the same people carried out both killings.
Police investigating Kinsella's murder seized a GPS watch belonging to Mr Fellows, the court heard.

When detectives analysed this it showed a few months before the 2015 murder of Massey, the wearer had travelled to where the victim was killed. The prosecution claim this showed Mr Fellows on a "reconnaissance run" for the planned gangland hit. Mr Boyle had acted as a "spotter" for both killings, the court was told.</p>

Wearables are such tattle-tales.
wearable  crime 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
What made me go to the doctor? • vowe dot net
Volker Weber:
<p><img src="" width="49%" /><img src="" width="49%" />

I keep getting asked the same question: how could you possibly tolerate the pain for so long? This is a hard question to answer. It's a combination of many factors and I am not going to try answering it. The more interesting question is why I decided to no longer tolerate it. The answer is easy: I could see that my body was failing.

Look at the two graphs above, both taken from Apple Health. The data originates from the heart rate sensor of my Apple Watch. I have been wearing it for years, 23 hours a day. That means I have a lot of data to compare against.

The left graph shows how my resting heart rate went from 62 to 85 over the course of only a few weeks. There is no good explanation. Your resting heart rate goes down over time as you exercise and your heart becomes stronger. Mine isn't particularly strong. I walk a lot but I have little cardio fitness. 62 is pretty good for my fitness level and my age, but it should not suddenly go up, especially not continously. My heart was not allowed to rest, not even during sleep.</p>

So wearables can be good for your health too.
applewatch  wearable  health 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Google is making Wear OS app quality guidelines mandatory • Android Police
Ryan Whitwam:
<p>According to Google, it will begin enforcing the Wear OS app quality guidelines for new apps on October 1st of this year. Existing apps will have until March 4, 2019 to get things together. That means developers will need to take into account both functional and visual criteria. There are <a href="">detailed guidelines on the Android Dev site</a>, but the blog post notes which issues Google sees most often.

Apparently, Wear developers often don't test their apps on different screen shapes, which causes interface issues. They also fail to provide Wear OS screenshots in app listings. If these issues aren't fixed by the above dates, the offending apps won't show up on the Wear OS Play Store. Importantly, this is separate from the main app review process. Google won't completely block an app or update if it fails the Wear OS review.</p>

Not sure that it's going to change the trajectory for Wear OS - or Android smartwatches generally - but it's nice to know that they've noticed that app quality matters too.
wearos  wearable  android 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
The Apple Watch has found a surprisingly useful home with everyone that works on their feet • Quartz
Mike Murphy:
<p>You might’ve noticed that the person who took your order at the bar, brought you the shoes you wanted to try on, or perhaps even patted you down at the airport security line, is sporting an Apple Watch, which starts at $329 for the newest Series 3 watch. And there’s a pretty simple explanation: Many service-industry jobs where employees have to be on their feet all day don’t allow workers to check their phones while they’re on the clock. But that rule doesn’t necessarily apply to a piece of unobtrusive jewelry that happens to let you text your friends and check the weather.

Quartz spoke with airline attendants, bartenders, waiters, baristas, shop owners, and (very politely) TSA employees who all said the same thing: The Apple Watch keeps them in touch when they can’t be on their phones at work. Apple has increasingly been pushing the watch as a health device, and seems to have moved away from marketing it as one that offers more basic utility, as Apple continues do with the iPhone. But given that roughly 23% of the US labor force works in wholesale or retail operations, perhaps it’s a market Apple should reconsider.</p>

I don't think Apple is "not considering" the market of people who aren't meant to be standing around looking at their phones. Though it might consider some adverts targeting them.
apple  watch  wearable 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Fitbit's current-quarter revenue forecast misses estimates • Reuters
<p>Wearable device maker Fitbit Inc’s forecast for current-quarter revenue missed Wall Street estimates, hurt by a drop in sales of fitness trackers.

Shares of the company fell 1.6% to $5.41 in after-market trading on Wednesday after the company said it expects a 19% drop in the second-quarter revenue.

The company said it sold 2.2m devices in the quarter at an average selling price of $112 per device, below analysts’ estimate of 2.33m devices, according to financial data analytics firm FactSet.

Fitbit said it expects revenue for the current quarter to be in a range of $275m to $295m, below analysts estimate of $309.9m, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In April, Fitbit announced the worldwide launch of its latest smartwatch ‘Versa’ after Chief Executive Officer James Park promised to launch a more ‘mass appeal watch’ in 2018 compared with ‘Iconic’, the company’s first smartwatch that had failed to impress.</p>

You have to go back to 2014 to find such a low number of devices sold. Revenue fell 18%. It's only a matter of time before it gets rolled up by someone like Google (which needs a wearables business that actually works for it, unlike WearOS).
fitbit  wearable 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Global wearables market grows 7.7% in 4Q17 and 10.3% in 2017 as Apple seizes the leader position • IDC
<p>"The 10.3% year-over-year growth in 2017 is a marked decline from the 27.3% growth we saw in 2016," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables team. "The slowdown is not due to a lack of interest – far from it. Instead, we saw numerous vendors, relying on older models, exit the market altogether. At the same time, the remaining vendors – including multiple startups – have not only replaced them, but with devices, features, and services that have helped make wearables more integral in people's lives. Going forward, the next generation of wearables will make the ones we saw as recently as 2016 look quaint."

Apple, meanwhile, suddenly finds itself atop the wearables market. "Interest in smartwatches continues to grow and Apple is well-positioned to capture demand," added Llamas. "User tastes have become more sophisticated over the past several quarters and Apple pounced on the demand for cellular connectivity and streaming multimedia. What will bear close observation is how Apple will iterate upon these and how the competition chooses to keep pace."</p>

Fitbit is in real trouble; its sales are shrinking and it isn't getting users to upgrade. Xiaomi, well, it has the whole of China to sell to. I bet a lot of those who left the market were in the Android Wear space. It's Huawei and nobody else there just now.
Androidwear  wearable  apple  watch 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
A stationary smart speaker mirage • Above Avalon
Neil Cybart on the Amazon Echo/Dot/etc and Google Home and Sonos One:
<p>The major takeaway from customer surveys regarding smart speakers usage is that there isn’t any clear trend. If anything, smart speakers are being used for rudimentary tasks that can just as easily be done with digital voice assistants found on smartwatches or smartphones. This environment paints a very different picture of the current health of the smart speaker market. The narrative in the press is simply too rosy and optimistic.

Ultimately, smart speakers end up competing with a seemingly unlikely product category: wearables. In fact, stationary smart speakers and wrist wearables share a surprising amount of similarities. Each is ultimately based on handling tasks formerly given to smartphones and tablets. Two examples are delivering both digital voice assistants and sound. If the goal is to rely on a digital voice assistant, an Apple Watch wearer has access to Siri at pretty much every waking  moment. When simply wearing an Apple Watch, Siri is instantly available everywhere in the home. The same kind of access to Alexa would require five, ten, or maybe even 15 Echo speakers spaced strategically throughout the home (another reason why Echo sales are becoming increasingly misleading - some consumers may be buying a handful of $20 speakers at one time). With a cellular Apple Watch, Siri is now available outside the home even when users are away from their iPhones. Meanwhile, Alexa is stuck within four walls - at least until Amazon unveils its Alexa smartwatch. 

Wearables contain a much more attractive long-term value proposition than stationary smart speakers that have to be connected to a wall outlet. In addition, the presence of a screen provides even more value as it has become very clear that voice-first or voice-only interfaces just aren't that efficient.

The writing is on the wall. The stationary speaker market is a stopgap measure taking advantage of relatively low wearables adoption. My estimate is that Apple Watch adoption stands at 3% of the iPhone user base (10% to 15% of iPhone users in the U.S.). As that percentage increases, my suspicion is we will start to see the stationary smart speaker market begin to experience usage and retention troubles.</p>

I think he's right that most people buy the cheapest one - ie the Dot - so there's a race to the bottom. But what if wearables don't quite take off?
apple  amazon  alex  wearable  smartspeaker 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Worldwide wearable device sales to grow 17% in 2017 • Gartner
<p>Apple will continue to have the greatest market share of any smartwatch provider. However, as more providers enter the market, Apple's market share will decrease from approximately a third in 2016 to a quarter in 2021. The announcement of a new Apple Watch expected in September may enable direct cellular connectivity for interacting with Siri, texting and transferring sensor data when the phone or Wi-Fi is not present.

We expect other consumer electronics brands such as Asus, Huawei, LG, Samsung and Sony to sell only 15% of smartwatches in 2021, because their brands do not have as strong an appeal as lifestyle brands for personal technologies.

Two sub-categories that Gartner expects to perform well are kids' smartwatches and traditional watch brands, which will emerge as significant segments for smartwatches. Gartner expects kids' smartwatches to represent 30% of total smartwatch unit shipments in 2021. These devices are targeted at children in the 2-to-13 year-old range, before parents provide them with a smartphone.

The other sub-category, which will account for 25% of smartwatch units by 2021, is fashion and traditional watch brands. "Luxury and fashion watch brands will offer smartwatches in an attempt to attract younger customers," said Ms. McIntyre. A final sub-category is represented by the startup and white-label brands (e.g., Archos, Cogito, Compal, Martian, Omate or Quanta), which will account for 5% of smartwatch unit sales in 2021.</p>

Gartner reckons the smartwatch market in 2021 will be 81m units - so if Apple has a quarter of it, that's 20.3m units. Comparison now: Gartner expects all smartwatches will sell 41.5m units, and Apple has about a third - that's 13.8m units. It's growth, though hardly dramatic.

This analysis throws in everything, including Bluetooth headsets. Though note: "By 2021, we assume that almost all premium mobile phones will no longer have the 3.5 mm jack," according to Angela McIntyre at Gartner.

Also, I wouldn't expect many of the traditional Android OEMs still to be in the smartwatch market by 2021. Samsung yes, Huawei maybe. For the others, there's too little volume.
applewatch  wearable  gartner 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
The LTE Apple Watch is a glimpse into the not-so-distant future • BirchTree
Matt Birchler got an Apple Watch Series 3, and has a mobile connection set up, and he's really happy with making calls and sending messages while not having to carry a phone on his run:
<p>AirPods also behaved swimmingly on this workout. I’d never paired them to this Apple Watch before, but since they’re both linked to my iCloud account, the watch was able to see the AirPods and connect to them without a fuss. Interacting with AirPods is nice and easy too. I have mine set up where tapping the left will play/pause and tapping the right will skip to the next track. watchOS 4 helpfully displays your media controls on screen and in the Workout app, but being able to just tap my ear to move onto the next song is a little easier to do mid-run.

And like I said, because my Apple Watch has an LTE connection, I was also able to place and receive messages during this workout, I could check when the Packers were playing the next day, and even place a call (just to see if I could). The only smartphone thing I really missed was the camera. It was a night run, so I would not have taken any pictures anyway, but I do sometimes shoot quick photos while out in the world on a workout, and I would hate too miss a cool moment because =I simply didn’t have a camera with me. God help me, I think I want a camera on the next Apple Watch!

As any Android fan will tell you, Apple is not the first to this game. There have been LTE Android Wear watches for a couple years now, so I’m just an Apple fanboy who has never left the Apple bubble and thinks Apple does everything first even though they’re years behind. So left me make it clear, I have a drawer full of Android phones that I use regularly, and I have had the uh, pleasure of using an LTE-equipped Android Wear watch and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt the experience was far more clunky and less enjoyable than my experience last night. My short time doing similar things with all Android devices made me think “maybe we will always need smartphones for everything, because this sucks” while the watchOS experience left me literally giddy with excitement for the future.</p>

(That point about being able to specify what taps on each AirPod will do might have passed you by, but it's new in iOS 11.)

The integration of the Watch and AirPods is remarkable, and this is definitely what Apple sees as a tempting possibility - but is it limited only to those who want to exercise?
apple  watch  applewatch  wearable 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit well-positioned with new ionic smartwatch • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>Contrary to gloomy forecasts for some vendors resulting in part from the Apple Watch attracting much of the attention and enthusiasm, activity trackers continue to hold a strong lead in the market, making up 65% of the installed base versus 35% for smartwatches. But the momentum belongs to the smartwatches, which have experienced growth rates of more than 50% year-over-year, while the base for activity trackers grew just 15% during the same period.

In the US, Fitbit dominates the overall wearables space. Nearly half (47%) of all US wearables owners have a Fitbit. While 16% of owners in the wearables category have an Apple Watch, Apple dominates the smartwatch category, with a 41% share. Apple has performed very well in terms of wearables customer satisfaction, with buyers rating the Apple Watch an 8.6 out of 10. Fitbit customers give that company a slightly lower satisfaction rating (8.2 out of 10), but Fitbit’s latest offering, the Charge 2, draws level in satisfaction with the Apple Watch, also at 8.6 out of 10…

…Unlike the rapid growth seen in demand for smartphones, there does not appear to be a significant group of potential buyers for wearables waiting in the wings. Amongst those who do not currently own a wearable, a mere 4.6% tell us they will “probably” or “definitely” purchase one in the next 12 months.

Of those that intend to purchase, 39% say they will buy a smartwatch, 30% a fitness tracker, and 31% remain undecided.</p>

So about 1 in 20 looking to buy a wearable; overall, 1 in 50 looking for a smartwatch. Out of 100 million smartphone users, that would be 2m sold. Apple's doing better than that, so either demand is falling or it's very uneven.
wearable  watch  apple  fitbit 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi becomes world's No.1 wearables vendor in Q2 2017 • Strategy Analytics
<p>Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global wearables shipments reached 21.6 million units in Q2 2017, rising 8% year-on-year from 20.0m in Q2 2016. Strong demand for low-cost fitnessbands in China and premium smartwatches across the United States drove the uptick.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million wearables worldwide in Q2 2017, rising 23% annually from 3.0m units in Q2 2016. Xiaomi captured 17% global marketshare and overtook Fitbit and Apple to become the world’s largest wearables vendor.

"Xiaomi’s Mi Band fitness trackers are wildly popular in China, due to their highly competitive pricing and rich features such as heart-rate monitors, step-counters and calendar alerts. Fitbit shipped 3.4m wearables for 16% marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, almost halving from 29% a year ago. Fitbit is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between the low-end fitnessbands sold by Xiaomi and the fitness-led, high-end smartwatches sold by Apple.”</p>

Xiaomi's fitness bands are probably making some good money. Might even be saving its margins. But the comparison purely on units, done for public consumption (since detailed reports likely have prices), isn't useful. Apple shifted 2.8m Watches, by this estimate. That's more than any other smartwatch vendor. It's increasingly hard to see Android Wear OEMs even taking part in this space. Though the one that's got problems is Fitbit: number sold cratering, and Hail-Mary-pass-smartwatch still some months away.
wearable  xiaomi 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Wearables: not dead, but need focus • CNBC
Christina Farr:
<p>industry experts I spoke to in recent weeks aren't quite ready to pull the plug on the trend. Investors are still taking meetings with wearables startups, and entrepreneurs continue to develop new hardware products.

Why? Well, it's a combination of factors.

Health and fitness seems to be the most sticky application for wearables, an IDC report found. And it has the potential to be a real business, if companies can deliver insights from the growing volume of data. And if these insights are proven to drive long-term behavior change by convincing users to walk more or eat healthier, that's the holy grail.

"I still think the data play is interesting, though it's hard to bet on hardware," said Stephen Kraus, a health investor with Bessemer Venture Partners who is continuing to meet with wearables start-ups.

Thus far, wearables makers have made money through consumer sales and enterprise contracts. But, in the future, these companies might find new revenue opportunities from other health industry stakeholders.

"Ultimately, the signal out of these devices will be large enough that it will matter to practitioners and pharmaceutical companies," Kraus predicted.</p>

Apple's doing OK at it. Everyone else, not so much at the moment. Is it going to be another iPod market.
july 2017 by charlesarthur
TomTom could be stepping back from wearable tech and action cams • Wareable
Hugh Langley:
<p>TomTom is reassessing its place in the sports wearables market, following disappointing sales. Wareable has also learned that a handful of key executives have left the company, and that the company shelved plans for a Bandit 2 action camera.

TomTom's Q2 earnings revealed a 20% year-on-year decline in consumer revenue, with TomTom quoting a poor performance in its Sports segment. "The wearables market has fallen short of expectations," said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn in an investors call, "and because of this and because we want to focus on Automotive, Licensing and Telematics businesses, we are reviewing strategic options for our Sports business."

Needless to say that doesn't sound good, and Goddijn did not rule out possibly closing the Sports segments. "We need to look at it," he said. "We can't carry on as we are going at the moment."</p>

Langley found that a ton of execs in that space have left the company. We look forward to Fitbit's results in the next few days. Contenders in the wearable market are dropping like flies.
wearable  tomtom 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit and Intel circle for Moov buyout • Wareable
James Stables:
<p>Our source revealed that Moov has been talking to Intel's partnership team about a possible buyout, which would see Intel add Moov's algorithm to its tech.

"They have had half a dozen calls and two meetings," our source said. "Conversations have been around adding Moov to their Curie offering due to the algorithms that Intel simply cannot duplicate."

Recounting a conversation with Intel's partnerships exec, Intel has become interested in an acquisition after it "missed with their wearable devices in the past with companies such as Basis." Our source said that Intel believes that buying Moov "allows them to offer more through their licensing arm of the company."

Of course, Intel is only one half of the story. We'd be surprised if Fitbit wasn't looking to buy Moov to add to its fitness proposition, yet our source had less detail on this particular aspect of the buyout. "With Fitbit, these rumours popped up in the past five weeks. All have been based around their wellness and initiative."

The company has already been busy snapping up companies for the Fitbit smartwatch project, namely smartwatch starter Pebble and luxury-wannabe Vector. But would Moov be part of that too?

"That's what the Moov guys initially thought," said our source. "But the algorithm wouldn't work in the watch. As you know one must wear Moov on their ankles sometimes."</p>

I get the feeling the writer is putting too much on the one source, who knows about Intel but not Fitbit, which is struggling to incorporate its recent acquisitions. Adding Moov too feels like an overreach which it isn't even considering.
fitbit  moov  intel  wearable 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi and Apple tie for the top position as the wearables market swells 17.9% during the first quarter • IDC
<p>The worldwide wearables market maintained its upward trajectory during the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17) with Xiaomi and Apple leading all companies and multiple products experiencing double- and triple-digit growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, companies shipped a total of 24.7m wearable devices during 1Q17, up 17.9% from the 20.9m units shipped in 1Q16.

"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide. Now that Xiaomi and Apple have supplanted Fitbit, the next question is whether they will be able to maintain their position.

"However, by no means should Fitbit be removed from the wearables conversation," continued Llamas. "With a user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets."</p>

Puts Apple and Xiaomi level at 3.6m, though Xiaomi's are bargain-basement bracelet-style trackers, a form factor which I think has already peaked.

The top five players (Xiaomi, Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin) have just over half the market, and none is Android Wear. I suspect the latter is barely growing its user base now.
xiaomi  apple  wearable 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitness bands stall in Q1 2017 as Apple helps smartwatches grow 25% • Canalys
<p>Basic band shipments, mostly fitness bands, fell 7% year on year to just over 9 million in the first quarter of 2017 - the category’s first ever decline. Leading vendors Fitbit and Xiaomi saw shipments fall worldwide, including in their home countries. The trend comes as users switch to smartwatches for greater functionality.

Smartwatch shipments increased 25% year on year to more than 6 million. The category now accounts for around 40% of the wearable band market, with growth largely driven by the Apple Watch, with its reinvigorated focus on health and fitness.</p>

Apple was 3.8m units, @Canalys says. So we have enough data points now. Fitness band makers (hello Fitbit) have a problem.
Fitness  wearable 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
How Samsung’s Simband tried to preempt the Apple Watch (and why it didn’t work) • Fast Company
Mark Sullivan:
<p>Rumors that Apple might build a smartwatch started way back in 2011, giving Samsung plenty of time to think about the competitive implications. The company’s top brass at headquarters in Seoul were indeed worried about the Apple Watch, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

Those executives feared that Apple could immediately jump way ahead in the smartwatch race by releasing a device with advanced, clinical-grade biosensors, a source with knowledge of the situation told me. The Apple Watch’s sensors, the executives believed, might take health measurements that were far more meaningful than the step counters seen in wearables so far. They thought the Apple Watch’s sensors might be able to deliver highly accurate measurements of things like blood pressure or blood oxygen levels.

In typical Samsung fashion, sources say, the executives in Korea wanted Samsung to beat Apple to the market with its own advanced health wearable. “They especially wanted to get a product announced before the Apple Watch was announced,” one engineer told me.

The one current Samsung executive I spoke to for this story, Francis Ho, vice president at the Samsung Innovation and Strategy Center (SSIC), denies that Simband was a defensive act against Apple, at least from his vantage point in Silicon Valley. “No one really knew what they were going to do, to begin with,” Ho told me. “So we were much more interested in playing offense than defense.”</p>

More interested in getting out in front than actually focussing, perhaps? The article is very detailed - Sullivan has really gone into the Samsung corporate culture, which sounds like an utter mess at times.
samsung  wearable 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
The Commuter trucker jacket is a connected piece of apparel from Levi's and Google • Digital Trends
Lulu Chang:
<p>Why have a wearable on your wrist when you can have it all over your torso? Two years after first teasing us with its line of connected clothing, Google and Levi’s have put us out of our misery. The first piece to come out of Project Jacquard is the Commuter Trucker jacket, and as a reward for waiting so long, you’ll have to pay $350 for the garment.

The key to the Commuter is the fabric of the jacket’s left sleeve. While technically powered by a rechargeable tag that’s found on the inside of the sleeve, the very material of the jacket is itself smart. Indeed, its comprised of a conductive yarn that could theoretically be woven into any fabric, and as a result, any sort of clothing. From there, you could just touch your clothing as you would a touchscreen in order to activate certain functionalities, like playing music.

As it stands, Google is trying to figure out how third-party developers can contribute to the platform, which means that for the time being, the Commuter will only be able to manipulate the core functionality of your smartphone, like answering the phone, reading texts, or managing your Calendar and figuring out Maps. And because this is a Google product, it probably won’t work so well with your iPhone.</p>

I detect a certain amount of sarcasm in the "as a reward for waiting so long" bit. It's pretty clear already that this is the Google Glass of whenever it arrives.
wearable  google  jacket 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Wearables as a platform, new 2017 and 2018 Apple Watch sales estimates, deep dive into 4q16 wearables market • Above Avalon members
From Neil Cybart's paid-for daily news analysis of things Apple-y and related, in which he goes to town on <a href="">IDC's estimates for the wearables market (excluding AirPods) in 4Q 2016</a>:
<p>I have significant issues with IDC's report and commentary. 

For example: 
• Who are these low-cost wearables competitors in the U.S. eating Fitbit's market share in 2H16? IDC doesn't name them. In reality, Fitbit's troubles are increasingly found with consumers embracing higher-priced wearables containing additional utility. This is why Fitbit is running upmarket as fast as they can.

• Xiaomi is using a low-cost wearables strategy? The company is selling $15 plastic step and sleep trackers. This is like saying a phone company selling a $20 pay as you go phone with no apps is using a low-cost smartphone strategy. Xiaomi should not be included in the same discussion as Apple Watch or Fitbit. 

• While Apple Watch sales hit a record during 4Q16, unit sales were up 20% year-over-year. Calling this a "magnificent success" seems a bit hyperbolic, as if the Watch was a complete flop in 4Q15. 

• We discussed Garmin's 4Q16 results a few weeks ago. I don't know how IDC reached their estimate of Garmin selling 2.1M wearables at an ASP of $258 during 4Q16. Even if we assumed every dollar found in Garmin's Fitness and Outdoors segments was related to wearables, which wasn't the case, Garmin would have sold at most 1.4M to 1.5M wearables. In reality, Garmin likely sold less than 1M wearables. In addition, IDC says Garmin customers moved to higher-end devices that are able to do more than fitness tracking - this is the exact opposite of IDC's main thesis for the wearables market. 

• IDC positions cellular smartwatches as a key to smartwatch sales success. Yet Samsung is the only company shipping cellular smartwatches at volume and they aren't selling well compared to Apple Watch. </p>

In particular, IDC only quoting Xiaomi's unit sales figures, and not revenue, seems unhelpful for understanding what's going on. (And this is why you should <a href="">subscribe to the Above Avalon newsletter</a>, to get information like this.)
wearable  apple  idc 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Echo Labs debuts a wearable medical lab on your wrist • ReadWrite
Amanda Razani:
<p>Echo Labs provides health care organizations with analytics to allow for better care of their patients, decrease hospital admissions, and reduce spending. Its first generation wearable offers health information by creating continuous vital sign tracking.

The company is now working on its newest device. The company states that the new tracker will be able to determine what’s going on inside the bloodstream, which is a first for wrist-based wearables.  The tracker utilizes optical sensors and spectrometry to measure and analyze blood composition and flow. It also monitors heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and full blood gas panels.

The company explains that the band measures blood content with a light and a proprietary algorithm. Basically, it sends electromagnetic waves through human tissue, and then measures the reflection of varying light frequencies in order to find the concentration of molecules in the blood.

“The wearable and sensor are the gateway to understanding the state of the body at any point in time. We can identify deterioration 3 to 5 days before it happens,” the company states.</p>

Might want to have a little scepticism around this (*cough*Theranos*cough*) but it does sound interesting.
echo  wearable  health 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch has its best quarter and takes nearly 80% of total smartwatch revenue in Q4 • Canalys
<p>Apple set a new quarterly shipment record in Q4 2016, contributing to total smartwatch shipments exceeding 9 million units. This global market figure was largely driven by Apple’s 6 million shipments, representing year-on-year growth of 12%. It was the Apple Watch’s best quarter despite being significantly handicapped by supply constraints, even though Apple simultaneously expanded its supply chain. According to Canalys estimates, the Apple Watch generated more than US$2.6 billion in revenue for Apple in Q4 2016, making up nearly 80% of total smartwatch revenue…

…Xiaomi also enjoyed a record quarter of its own for basic band shipments, reaching 5.5 million Mi Bands. “New batches of Mi Band 2s were shipped in time for the Singles’ Day shopping festival in China," according to Analyst Jason Low. “Building on the success of its first-generation Mi Band, Xiaomi quickly expanded the availability of the Mi Band 2 across Asia Pacific and Central and Eastern Europe. India, Poland and Russia were key markets where the device was introduced alongside the company’s Mi and Redmi smartphones through direct and third-party online channels.”</p>

Maybe Xiaomi will do a reverse Fitbit and move from smartphones (losing money) into fitness bands.
applewatch  xiaomi  wearable 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Nearly 16% of US consumers now own wearables • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>“Fitness bands continue to outsell more advanced smartwatches,” reported Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “In the fourth quarter of 2016, just 35% of wearables purchased in the US were smartwatches, a decline from 40% in the third quarter of 2016. Apple was the top smartwatch brand in the US, capturing a 50% share vs. 24% in the third quarter pf 2016. The next nearest competitor was Samsung at 17.4%, while the remainder of the market was fragmented among smaller suppliers.”

The Apple Watch Series 2, released in September 2016, boosted Apple’s share of smartwatch sales. Series 2 offers a waterproof design and GPS, while the lower cost of the Series 1 lowered the barrier to entry to attract some additional buyers. The Series 2 was Apple’s top-selling smartwatch for the period at 33%, although there were no holiday discounts on that device.

In the fitness band category, Fitbit continued to dominate sales at 75%, up from 43% in the third quarter of 2016, Guenveur added. Garmin, its nearest competitor, captured a 12.5% share. </p>

Two brands in fitness bands: Fitbit and Garmin. Two brands in smartwatches: Apple and Samsung. Numbers in EU are pretty similar, but from a lower base.

And that explains why we have the next entry..
wearable  apple  samsung 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit off to slow start in 2017 as devices pile up, report says • Bloomberg
Selina Wang:
<p>The maker of wearable fitness trackers halted production in mid-December because the devices were piling up at retailers and suppliers amid disappointing sales, according to a report by the firm published Tuesday. Demand so far this year is “characterized as weak,” Cleveland Research said, suggesting analysts’ estimates for 2016 fourth-quarter earnings may be too high.

“The start of the year has been bad with Fitbit,” research analyst Ben Bollin wrote in the note. “There are some concerns partners may not get paid for all of the product they have built because demand is so weak," he wrote, citing comments from a supplier. “Partners had to completely stop production for Fitbit because they are swimming in product.”</p>

Wow. Demand reckoned to have been low through the fourth quarter. And yet the Fitbit app was high on the list of free apps in the iOS store. One to keep an eye on this year. (Thanks <a href="">@charlesknight</a> for the link.)
fitbit  wearable 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
The inside story behind Pebble’s demise • Medium
Steven Levy had met with Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble, multiple times during the wearable company's life, including in April:
<p>what Migicovsky didn’t tell me when he spoke about the Core during our April conversation was that Pebble’s return to Kickstarter was forced by the company’s inability to raise funds. “It was difficult to raise money around the layoffs. That was kind of a non-starter,” he now says. “That’s why we did the Kickstarter. After the Kickstarter we tried to raise money and we were unable to.”

Throughout the spring and summer, Migicovsky tried everything to keep the company afloat, with his efforts coming to a frantic crescendo as summer waned and a poor holiday season loomed — the new products were late, with scheduled shipments not slated until 2017. “September was hectic,” he says. “I was flying around the world, flying to China, trying to do a deal with a licensee to license the operating system, talking to investors — a really different tier of investors than the ones that you talk to in other stages of your startup.” Instead of top VCs he was visiting private equity companies, family-based investing offices—companies outside of the normal tech circles.

He brainstormed wilder alternatives, at one point even mulling crowd-sourced equity funding. But because the company had already gotten criticism for going to the Kickstarter well too often, that option was discarded. As were other options, including Hail Mary schemes “like firing everyone and bringing the company down to 10 people and just seeing what would be next.”

He now compares the situation to the real-time gaming scenarios that election night commentators charted as states kept going red: what was the narrowing path for Hillary Clinton to eke out an electoral victory? As with the Democratic candidate, there proved to be no path.</p>

Migicovsky won't be going to Fitbit, and doesn't leave Pebble with riches. Interested to see where he turns up next.
wearable  pebble 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Fitness trackers in the lead as wearables market grows 3.1% in the third quarter • IDC
<p>While the smartwatch market took a tumble this quarter, the overall wearables market grew 3.1% year over year in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16). Total wearables shipments reached 23m in the quarter, according to data from the International Data Corporation, (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker.

Basic wearables, primarily comprised of fitness bands, accounted for 85% of the market and experienced double-digit growth. Much of the increase was attributed to the launch of newer models, an expanding user base, and an enticing summer season that allowed people to step out of their homes. IDC expects the momentum for basic wearables to continue for the remainder of 2016 as the holiday season is now in full swing. However, smart wearables capable of running third party apps will likely continue to struggle in the near term.

"It's still early days, but we're already seeing a notable shift in the market," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Where smartwatches were once expected to take the lead, basic wearables now reign supreme. Simplicity is a driving factor and this is well reflected in the top vendor list as four out of five offer a simple, dedicated fitness device. Meanwhile, from a design perspective, many devices are focusing on fashion first while allowing the technology to blend in with the background."</p>

Fitbit 5.3m units (up from 4.8m year ago); Xiaomi 3.8m (3.7m); Garmin 1.3m (1.2m); Apple 1.1m (3.9m); Samsung 1.0m (0.5m). "Others" rose from 8.3m to 10.4m, but IDC doesn't distinguish whether those are smartwatches or trackers. I'm guessing the latter.

Samsung's rise was helped by bundling with the Note 7, despite its recall. My guess is that only Fitbit, Apple and Garmin are making money in this game; Fitbit makes <a href="">about $8.40 net income per device sold</a>, which is respectable - it's more than quite a few Android phone OEMs do on their phones (or, especially, their smartwatches).
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Basic wearables soar and smart wearables stall as worldwide wearables market climbs 26.1% in the second quarter • IDC
<p>Shipments of wearable devices reached 22.5m in the second quarter of 2016 (2Q16) according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. Despite a decline in shipments for one of the largest vendors, the overall market for wearable devices grew 26.1% year over year as new use cases are slowly starting to emerge.

"Fitness is the low-hanging fruit for wearables," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "However, the market is evolving and we're starting to see consumers adopt new functionality, such as communication and mobile payments, while enterprises warm to wearables' productivity potential."

While the overall wearables market grew during 2Q16, its two categories traveled at different speeds and directions. Basic wearables (devices that do not support third party applications) grew 48.8% from 2Q15 levels while smart wearables (devices that support third party applications) declined 27.2% year over year.

"Basic wearables, which include most fitness trackers, have benefited from a combination of factors: a clear value proposition for end-users, an abundant selection of devices from multiple vendors, and affordable price points," said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Wearables. "Consequently, basic wearables accounted for 82.8% of all wearable devices shipped during the quarter, and more vendors continue to enter this space. The danger, however, is that most devices end up being copycats of others, making it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves in a crowded market."</p>

IDC puts Apple Watch shipments for the second quarter at 1.6m, down from 3.6m the year before. You're reading this after Apple's announcement of the new model(s), so we can all expect a big boost to those sales in the third and especially fourth calendar quarters.

What struck me though is that there isn't a single Android Wear vendor in the top five. (Samsung isn't there either; presumably it's sixth.) On Google Play, it still hasn't passed 5m activations. That's a platform that is really struggling.
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel's smartwatches are so hot right now – LITERALLY: Basis Peaks recalled for skin burns • The Register
Shaun Nichols:
<p>Intel has recall every single one of its Basis Peak smartwatches – and urged people to stop using them – because they can become dangerously hot.

Chipzilla has issued a notice to anyone who bought the Basis Peak, asking them to send back the watch along with any and all accessories for a full refund.

"We had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren't able to develop such a solution without completely compromising the user experience," Intel said.

"As a result, we are asking that you return your Basis Peak watch and authorized accessories for a full refund at your earliest convenience."

Not that anyone should have been actually using the Basis Peak, anyway. Intel issued an advisory on June 13 that customers stop wearing the watch, amidst multiple reports that it was prone to becoming so hot as to cause "burns and blisters" on the skin of those brave enough to wear it.</p>

Brings to mind Fitbit's recall of its Force wristband in late 2014 <a href="">due to irritation and burns</a>. Those things can <a href="">get really hot</a>.
wearable  intel  recall 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
Wearables shipments will grow nearly 30% this year: IDC • Twice
John Laposky:
<p>Smart watches: The category is expected to increase from 41% of total wearables shipments in 2016 to 52.1% in 2020. However, not all watches are the same. While smart watches are in the spotlight today, future growth will come from basic watches that provide some sort of fitness/sleep tracking while not being sophisticated enough to run third-party applications on the watch itself. Traditional fashion brands like Fossil and health/fitness companies like Fitbit and Withings will help this segment grow.</p>

That's along with categories like wristbands, eyewear, clothing and "others". Notable how they aren't making specific forecasts for Apple v Android in this space.
wearable  idc 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Developing for wearables: from shrunken smartphone to wearable-first and beyond » VisionMobile
<a href="">Stijn Schuermans</a>:
<p>In a <a href="">previous post</a>, we called the Internet of Things the peace dividend of the smartphone wars, and IoT developers the baby boomers of that period. In other words, smartphone innovation made hardware technology abundant. It’s no longer the bottleneck. IoT breakthroughs will happen not by making more powerful processors or larger memories, but by identifying new applications for the sensors, devices and connectivity. This certainly seems to be the case for wearables, which arguably started with the first Fitbit in 2008 and boomed after the launch of the Pebble and Android Wear in 2013 and 2014. Those were the days of the wearables hype.

That hype has now died down. Developers in particular are getting more cautious about wearables. Between Q4 2014 and Q2 2015, the percentage of IoT developers targeting wearables dropped from 28% to 21%. Developers have not turned their back on wearables entirely – many still plan to develop for wearables in the future – but the initial enthusiasm is making way for realism, and a search for truly valuable uses for these new devices.</p>
mobile  wearable 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Worldwide shipments of wearables to surpass 200m in 2019, driven by strong smartwatch growth » IDC
<p>According to the International Data Corporation (IDC ) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker , the worldwide wearable device market will reach a total of 111.1m units shipped in 2016, up a strong 44.4% from the 80m units expected to ship shipped in 2015. By 2019, the final year of the forecast, total shipments will reach 214.6m units, resulting in a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28%.

"The most common type of wearables today are fairly basic, like fitness trackers, but over the next few years we expect a proliferation of form factors and device types," said Jitesh Ubrani , Senior Research Analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Smarter clothing, eyewear, and even hearables (ear-worn devices) are all in their early stages of mass adoption. Though at present these may not be significantly smarter than their analog counterparts, the next generation of wearables are on track to offer vastly improved experiences and perhaps even augment human abilities."

One of the most popular types of wearables will be smartwatches, reaching a total of 34.3m units shipped in 2016, up from the 21.3m units expected to ship in 2015. By 2019, the final year of the forecast, total shipments will reach 88.3m units, resulting in a five-year CAGR of 42.8%.

"In a short amount of time, smartwatches have evolved from being extensions of the smartphone to wearable computers capable of communications, notifications, applications, and numerous other functionalities," noted Ramon Llamas , Research Manager for IDC's Wearables team. "The smartwatch we have today will look nothing like the smartwatch we will see in the future. Cellular connectivity, health sensors, not to mention the explosive third-party application market all stand to change the game and will raise both the appeal and value of the market going forward.</p>

Apple Watch forecast to continue dominating through to 2019, though Android Wear coming up strongly. Tizen not going anywhere.
wearable  applewatch 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Time ticks on chances of the Apple Watch catching on »
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>The pollsters quizzed 1,017 Britons over the age of 15. They found 66% were aware of smartwatches. Awareness was down to 60% among respondents aged 35 and older, and to 57% among the lowest three social and economic groups.

Only 2% said they owned a smartwatch, down to 1% among those over 35. The poll showed 43% believed people did not need a smartwatch; but that doesn’t mean 57% of people believe you do need one.

Similarly, 24% saw a smartwatch as a gimmick, but that’s not an indication that 76 per cent regard it as a life necessity.

Possibly the glummest news for enthusiasts was that only 6% of the smartwatch-aware were likely to buy one in the next year.

So, unless I’m reading the figures wrongly, enthusiasm for this kind of wearable technology is several degrees below lukewarm.</p>

Wearable technology, in general, hasn't proven its worth to the general population. Then again, smartphones didn't prove their worth to the general population for quite some time either - about three years from the launch of the iPhone. I'd love to see a comparative study from that time. (Links welcome.)
watch  wearable  smartwatch 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch and dissatisfaction » Tech.pinions
Ben Bajarin on the results from a survey of people who gave up using their Watch:
<p>Here are the top five reasons this group gave for giving up on the Apple Watch.

<img src="" width="100%" />

The most insightful part of this particular question was the follow on, fill in the blank area where 300 people who took the survey wrote a comment about the product. I read through them all and a number of things stood out.
The biggest theme in the critiques was about performance. Many thought the Apple Watch was too slow, particularly around data retrieval and third party apps. The other was about battery. Many commented on their desire to have the watch face be visible at all times and not have to charge daily. Another interesting thread in the comments was the high number of people who said they would have liked it more if it was more independent from the iPhone. This is a similar thread to comments from our larger Wristly panel of satisfied owners. Another common thread I saw from this group was the price. Many who commented suggested the price was too high and we know from this panel 65% of those who responded bought a Sport. This indicates that even $349 felt too expensive for the value for this group.</p>
applewatch  wearable 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Jawbone lays off 60, 15% of staff globally, closes NY office » TechCrunch
Ingrid Lunden:
<p>TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that the company yesterday [Thursday] laid off around 60 employees, or 15% of staff. It’s a global round of layoffs affecting all areas of the business; and as part of it Jawbone is also closing down its New York office (which was concentrated on marketing) and downsizing satellite operations in Sunnyvale and Pittsburgh.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson said the layoffs are part of a wider “streamlining.”

“Jawbone’s success over the past 15 years has been rooted in its ability to evolve and grow dynamically in a rapidly scaling marketplace. As part of our strategy to create a more streamlined and successful company, we have made the difficult decision to reorganize the company which has had an impact on our global workforce,” he said. “We are sad to see colleagues go, but we know that these changes, while difficult for those impacted, will set us up for greater success.”</p>

Seventh among wearable device vendors, with a market share of 2.8%; Fitbit by comparison is No.1 (ahead of Apple) with 24.3%, selling 4.4m. Can't see a market for that many non-smartwatch vendors except the really specialist, eg athletics.
jawbone  wearable 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Wearable devices becoming main growth driver for ODMs » Digitimes
Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai:
<p>Quanta and Compal together have already acquired over 50% of the overall notebook orders for 2016, but both are still pessimistic about overall shipments in 2016. In 2016, the market watchers expect the market will gradually lean toward both the entry-level and high-end segments. More inexpensive Windows-based notebooks and Chromebooks are expected to be introduced, while vendors will also focus more on high-end products such as gaming notebooks.

Meanwhile, wearable device shipments are also expected to grow dramatically. Quanta, the maker of the Apple Watch, is expected to see related orders surging in 2016 and the ODM reportedly has also received orders for Apple's second-generation Apple Watch for the second quarter of 2016.</p>

Jeez, talk about burying the intro. "APPLE WATCH 2 TO SHIP IN APRIL?" is the way to write this. Although that rumour is already doing the rounds.
wearable  applewatch 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
EM-Sense wearable knows what objects you're touching » Digital Trends
Chloe Olewitz:
<p>The human body is naturally conductive, so the electromagnetic noise that most electrical and electromechanical objects emit is propagated throughout the person touching it. Using a small, affordable radio-powered wearable, researchers at Disney and Carnegie Mellon University were able to develop a custom smart watch that detects the electromagnetic noise traveling through the body. Paired with their software definition system, the <a href="" target="_blank">EM-Sense</a> smart watch can identify what specific objects the wearer is touching at any given moment.</p><p>Examples of the EM-Sense’s detection capabilities are what really bring the technology to life. The main function allows the EM-Sense smart watch to simply identify objects, like a doorknob, a toothbrush, or a kitchen appliance. But that's just the beginning. With a bit more development, EM-Sense's creators think the technology could be used to automate frequent actions and augment important aspects of our daily routines.</p>

Neat - definitely like the idea of your smartwatch or band being able to identify what you're dealing with. (Beware the web page's autoplay video, though.)
wearable  emsense 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Fossil Group to buy Misfit for $260m » WSJ
Yuliya Chernova:
<p>Watchmaker Fossil Group Inc. has agreed to acquire startup Misfit Inc., a maker of wearable fitness trackers, for $260m.

Richardson, Texas-based Fossil Group has its Fossil and Skagen brands, and it licenses a host of others, including Michael Kors, Diesel and DKNY.

“If you don’t have a brand it is hard to be legit in this space,” said Sonny Vu, chief executive and co-founder of Misfit. He will become president and chief technology officer of connected devices for Fossil Group after the transaction closes, which Fossil expects before the end of the year.</p>

Consolidation in the wearables space already?
wearable  misfit 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Microsoft Band 2 review: An identity crisis on your wrist » The Verge
Tom Warren:
<p>after wearing the newest version of Microsoft Band for the past three weeks, I can’t help but think that the real answer [to why Microsoft made it at all] is that Microsoft isn't in it for the hardware. Instead, my best guess is that it hopes to get people using the Microsoft Health software — and maybe get some other hardware makers to make stuff for its platform. Despite welcome improvements over last year’s Microsoft Band, this new Band sort of baffles me.

It’s been redesigned, but is only slightly less clunky than before. It’s a fitness tracker, but with the short battery life of a smartwatch. It works with surprisingly great software, but good luck syncing your data to said software. On top of that, it’s more expensive than last year’s Microsoft Band — $249, up from $199 — and more expensive than a lot of other step-counters. The argument there is that it’s not as costly as a smartwatch or a high-powered dedicated fitness watch, but considering that at this point it could be perceived as an also-ran, you’d think Microsoft would aim for a more appealing price point.

It all leaves me wanting to like the Microsoft Band, but I can’t say I’d spend $249 on it.</p>

So pricey, clunky, battery life comparable to things that do more.. what's not to love?
microsoft  band  wearable 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
HTC won't ship the Grip after all, but its fitness ambition lives on » Engadget
Chris Velazco:
Hey, remember that time HTC built a fitness tracker (with a little help from Under Armor) and showed it off in Barcelona? The one that was originally slated for a Spring launch? Well, we're knee-deep in Summer already, and the company just confirmed to us that it no longer plans to ship the Grip we've already seen. As a spokesperson put it, the company "decided to align Grip with the entire product portfolio for health and fitness launching later this year" after "extensive wear testing and user feedback." In other words, the exact Grip we saw in Spain won't hit the market, but something better will.

Uh-huh. Let's see how this progresses. HTC made the right call putting off its smartwatch (<a href="">pre-announced in February 2014</a>); this would also be a tough sell when it's losing money. Problem is, how do you make money except with new things?
htc  grip  wearable 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Fitbit’s dilemma: what problems will it solve better than other devices? » Mobile Forward
Hristo Daniel Ushev on the company that's presently valued at $9bn (that's the net present value of the stock market's guess of its total future profits):
Smartwatches – at least the Android ones – will eventually rival the price of Fitbit’s high-end products. Fitbit will need to either make smarter products or lower-priced products. It doesn’t appear to have the basis for the former, and it likely won’t have the cost structure for the latter (compared to low-cost rivals). It might just maintain an existence in the US, where its installed base and brand are strong (today). I don’t doubt there will always be some consumers who prefer the Fitbit’s design, user interface, analytics, subscription services, or power efficiency.

But, at least in terms of the performance level visible today, Fitbit’s proficiency in those areas doesn’t appear to be unique enough to constitute a protect-able advantage.
fitbit  wearable 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Thoughts on the Fitbit IPO filing » Beyond Devices
Jan Dawson digs into the numbers; he finds that the best model for usage is that on average, a Fitbit is used for about six months:
So, how important is this abandon rate information to our evaluation of Fitbit’s prospects going forward? Well, one could argue that at just 10 million sales per year, there’s tons of headroom, especially as Fitbit expands beyond the US (the source of around 75% of its revenues today). But in most consumer electronics categories, there’s a replacement rate for devices, which continues to drive sales over time even as penetration reaches saturation. The biggest worry in the data presented above is twofold: one, very few Fitbit buyers have yet bought a second device; and two, many don’t even use the first one they bought anymore. Once Fitbit maxes out its addressable market, it’s going to have a really tough time continuing to grow sales.

This may be a factor for all wearables, unless they can show some compelling reason to upgrade from the previous one.
fitbit  wearable 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
The best Apple Watch apps: Developers reveal upcoming titles » Wareable
With the world counting down to April 2015 for Apple Watch launch, attention turns to the best apps that will make or break this landmark device.

I think the launch will actually be in March, with shipping - as Tim Cook said - in April. (The delay lets Apple take preorders, evaluate demand, and, ah, also helps those camera-magnet queues.) I wrote about <a href="">what developers aim to do with apps on Apple Watch</a> for The Guardian.
apps  wearable  applewatch 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
For Google Glass to succeed, Tony Fadell needs to rip out the camera >> Co.Design
Mark Wilson:
people don’t always just get used to it, and I learned that from my own case study with a wearable camera. After my son was born, I attempted to wear a <a href="">Narrative camera</a> most of the time. The Narrative is a diminutive, auto-shooting camera, the size of a small lapel pin, optimized to capture candid moments in your life. But family member after family member would spot it, ask what it was, and slowly tense in my presence, even when I’d promise these photos were private and wouldn’t be shared on Facebook. The next time they’d visit, their eyes would lower to my chest pockets again.

Nobody likes worrying they’re being recorded, and a subtle, spy-worthy piece of hardware does nothing to alleviate that concern. It made me realize that smartphone cameras didn't offend anyone, because they live in a pocket, and it's always obvious when someone's taking a photograph with one. Along the same lines, I believe an embedded photographer photographing us with a large SLR would have offended my guests less than my tiny lapel camera. A few weeks into the experiment, I removed the Narrative to never wear it again, even though it captured some great shots.
google  glass  wearable 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Slick, useful apps put the wow in Apple Watch >> WSJ
Chris Mims:
I’ve seen some of the applications that will launch for the Apple Watch when it makes its debut as early as March, albeit in simulation, and some are extraordinary. Along with the details Apple has already released about how the watch will work, it’s convinced me Apple Watch will be a launching pad for the next wave of billion-dollar consumer-tech startups…

To use a historical analogy, the shift to mobile is one reason messaging supplanted email. Email was a product of a particular set of behaviours, including sitting down at a computer at a designated time and putting a certain amount of thought into responses. BlackBerry turned email into something like messaging, and touch-screen smartphones made it apparent that email was itself an anachronism, merely one conduit among many for what has become real-time communication.

Consider the same sequence of events for contextual information—that is, alerts delivered at a particular time and place, such as reminders. Our phones buzz, we pull them out of our pockets or purses, read a push alert, swipe to unlock, wait a split second for an app to load, then perform an action that might have been designed with more free time and attention in mind than we have at that moment, if we’re on the go or preoccupied. All that friction is one reason, I suspect, why location-based social networks like Foursquare never took off.

An insightful piece; Mims isn't just lauding the idea of a watch, but the interaction model. (Subscription required.)
apple  watch  wearable 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
I tried on 56 wearables today. Here’s a photo of every single one of them >> VentureBeat
Harrison Weber:
I just tried on every single wearable I could find at CES 2015, and yes, I’m freaking exhausted.

The total count (so far) totals to 56 wearables across every category you can think of, from clip-on trackers to full-fledged Android and Linux-powered wrist computers. Heck, I even wore a smart sweatband.

Really worth scrolling through this lot.
wearable  ces 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
The first wearable camera that can fly >> Nixie
Wearable and flyable

The first wrist-band camera quadcopter.
Nixie flies, takes your photo, and comes back to you.

This feels like it could easily be one of those Great Ideas that is too easily bungled in the execution, but if it works well it could put selfie sticks out of business. Until selfie stick owners swat them out of the sky.
camera  drone  wearable 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
What is going to happen >> AVC
Venture capitalist Fred Wilson with his list of predictions, from which we'll pick these two:
4/ After a big year in 2014 with the Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift, virtual reality will hit some headwinds. Oculus will struggle to ship their consumer version and competitive products will underwhelm. The virtual reality will eventually catch up to the virtual hype, but not in 2015.

5/ Another market where the reality will not live up to the hype is wearables. The Apple Watch will not be the homerun product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been. Not everyone will want to wear a computer on their wrist. Eventually, this market will be realized as the personal mesh/personal cloud, but the focus on wearables will be a bit of a headfake and take up a lot of time, energy, and money in 2015 with not a lot of results.

I'm very interested in trying Oculus Rift. Wearables are a tough sell anyway. However, Apple isn't positioning its Watch as any part of what has gone before.
wearable  forecast  prediction 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Living with the Microsoft Band >> Tirias Research
Kevin Krewell has been wearing a Microsoft Band (on and off) for five weeks:
The biggest failing I see with the Band application is that it doesn’t directly connect you with the data in a meaningful way without significant work by the user. I preferred if the data was automatically charted and provided me with insightful health information about trends or other health related information. Today it requires research by the user to find any useful information from the tracking software. Certainly more automated information would be helpful. I’m hopeful that as the software evolves, there will be additional health tracking benefits to wearing the Band.

To this day I find the band is still clunky to wear – it catches on the lining of my sports jacket. Sometimes it feels like it’s a home detention bracelet on my wrist, but I grow more used to the bulk. I’ve had continuous trouble keeping the ban in sync with my iPhone application. Initially it would say that it could not sync now sometimes it says it is syching but no data appears on the application. There’s definitely room for improvement here. I’ve also found I had multiple BT connections listed in iPhone Setup for the Band.
microsoft  band  wearable 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
This "smart" ring is another reason to never trust Kickstarter videos >> Gizmodo
<a href="">With $880,998 in funding</a>, well exceeding its $250,000 asking price, Ring was a smart device that was meant to Bluetooth control everything in your life — except that it doesn't. Not by a long shot.</p>

We <a href="">debunked the thing outright</a> as soon as it showed up on Kickstarter in March, but that didn't stop thousands of backers from signing up for the product and who are now probably regretting that $269 monetary decision. <a href="" target="_blank">YouTube user Snazzy Labs</a> breaks down every facet of the ring, and why it's such a terrible, terrible waste of money.

"Comically unusable" is among the more generous phrases used by Snazzy Labs (cool name bro) in the video, which is worth watching just to see how wearables should not be done, ever.
wearable  ring  smart 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
A new wearables forecast >> Tech.pinions
Bob O'Donnell: <blockquote class="quoted">Despite all this news and excitement around the wearables category, I’m still not convinced it’s going to be as big a market as many have made it out to be. The primary, over-riding problem is that no one has really been able to provide a compelling reason why the vast majority of people would want a wearable, let alone feel that they “need” to have one. Sure, there are good cases to be made for fitness junkies, the whole “quantified self” movement and bleeding-edge early adopters, but for most people, smart wearables still feel like a solution in search of a problem.

If that wasn’t enough, many of these early products suffer from limited battery life, offer only semi-accurate sensor readings, and lock you into working with only certain smartphones.

Forecast for whole of 2015: 40m units. Wearables have been disappointing so far, because they definitely aren't applicable in enough situations.
november 2014 by charlesarthur
Microsoft Band second impressions >> SuperSite for Windows
Paul Thurrott: <blockquote class="quoted">Even after less than a day of use, it's pretty clear that Microsoft Band is big, bulky, uncomfortable and complex enough to dissuade many from using it. Which is too bad, because there is real magic here. Both in the Band itself, which provides an unprecedented number of data-gathering sensors. And in the underlying Microsoft Health services, which are more comprehensive than anything seen in other health and fitness platforms.

First, the basics. Physically, the Band itself will prove too unwieldy for most. I'm going to try and stick it out for a variety of reasons—Microsoft Health being the biggest and most obvious—but I wish Microsoft had made a few nods towards comfort in a device that is designed to sit on your wrist 24 hours a day. I don't notice a Fitbit while I'm playing basketball, walking, typing, or whatever, but I notice the Band when I'm just sitting here motionless. It's ... obtrusive

Yes, the screen is big and bright. But it's also flat, and not curved for your wrist, so it sticks out in odd angles and gets caught on things all the time. It's like wearing handcuffs, and you're always aware that the device is there. My Fitbit disappears from my mind until I want to check on something.

These days Paul Thurrott has kinder words for Apple than he does for Microsoft. (The Band does look terrible though. A flat, not curved, screen?)
microsoft  band  wearable 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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