A much older concept than it may seem, wearables, or, the idea of strapping monitoring systems, timers, communications, or some sort of navigation to ourselves, particularly about the wrist, has long been with some of the more ‘extreme’ members of our society. Runners, adventure sports types, be it trekking, hiking, skiing and the like, not to mention military, these are the folks at the cutting edge. Even if ‘cutting edge’ meant some giant piece of equipment with a compass on it. Luckily, we are quickly entering the realm of science fiction, and technology is making it easy to pack lots of features into many desirable little packages.
As ever, technology is pushed or championed by a niche segment of the population, getting the technology out there, until some clever person thinks, ‘oh hey, that gives me an idea’. Merging classic design with modern functionality, and you have some really desirable little products that look great, and have all the bells and whistles you might be looking for.
Lenovo Vibe Band VB10
Possibly my favorite design of the lot, the VB10 eschews the ‘more is more’ design trend I’ve seen a lot of, going for sleek and low profile rather than visual weight. If understated isn’t your thing, maybe battery life is? Fitness tracker meets smartwatch, its bluetooth enabled, and with a clever E Ink display that requires a minimum of juice, giving you a weeks wear in a charge.
Speaking of battery life, using the same E Ink system, the LookSee is designed with glamour in mind, and thank goodness, there are people who want to tell the time and look fabulous in 2015. Its versatile display allows wearers to switch up the display at will. Add open source, and ‘look’ to ‘see’ an endless variety of options in the marketplace. As for the battery life I mentioned? The LookSee smart bracelet (they say) can go a year in one charge.
Sony SmartWatch 3 Steel
A cosmetic upgrade of the Sony Smartwatch 3, the 3 Steel classes it up with an admittedly cool steel band, and has about as big a display as its possible to strap to a wrist. Android Ware, GPS, fitness functionality, and 4gb of storage for music, if you ever just wanted to be able to stick your phone to yourself for your workouts, well… here you go.
Garmin Sport Watches
Known for their navigation systems, a transition to the wearables market is a logical one, and they’ve rolled out a trio of options at CES 2015. Running the gamut from burly, to trendy, with a nice balance of both, the Garmin trio are more athletics and fitness oriented, dragging your boring old fitness tracker into the realm of the smartwatch.
The Garmin Epix- oasts the toughest looking design, a big color touch screen, display, water resistance of fifty meters, digital compass barometer, though without GPS. A strange seeming void from a navigation company, but it can come preloaded with maps, for an extra fee of course
Garmin Vivoactive – The ‘nerdy sibling’ of the three the Vivoactive, aesthetically, is the most welcoming and ‘friendly modern’ in aesthetic. Though probably not as tough as its burly sibling Epix, it’s definately more for looks than practical sportswear. Not that it doesn’t have the functionality, but, charging a $50 premium for a heart rate monitor kinda speaks for itself. Connect IQ app store enabled, the Vivoactive is definitely for those less hardcore, but still interested in merging some fitness tracking functionality with an actual time piece.
Garmin Fenix 3 – If Vivoactive is the nerdy one, then Fenix 3 is the well put together older brother who still knows how to get down. A sort of, ‘best of the above’ the Fenix 3 has the most classical style of the three, as well as the most features. Boasting a tough construction (Sapphire lens option, for example)it’s a model that has the features to get you out there, and survive whatever it is you’re doing.
This really is just the beginning. Noticing a growing trend, developers are flooding to the market putting choice in the hands of the consumer. Time will out, of course, and the technology will evolve. Personally, I’m rooting for holographic display, but then I’m a huge nerd. CES 2015 was the year of the wearable device, and with this much interest, maybe its not such a farfetched idea after all.