It began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that successfully brought in over $300K in funding from more than 1,700 backers. Since then, it has become a major competitor in the emerging smart watch market. I’m talking about the MetaWatch STRATA, and I recently had an opportunity to take one for a test drive.
Right out of the gate, there are 3 things to really like about the LifeTrak Zone C410 fitness tracker – it tracks your activity level and gives you detailed and useful fitness information, it measures your heart rate just by touching it, and it’s one of the easiest to use fitness trackers I’ve ever tried. It does what it sets out to do and it does it so simply that anyone, even people who find fitness watches and fitness trackers complicated, can pick up and use the device within minutes.
This stylish wearable with the retro analog look is a smartwatch in disguise that supports notifications and lets you issue voice commands to Siri or Google Now. You can also place and answer voice calls on a Martian, making it an excellent choice for those who want to keep their smartphone discretely out of sight. Look for Martian smartwatches to invade Best Buy any day now.
Remember the Pebble smartwatch? The wearable with the innovative and power saving e-paper display, the CES 2013 star and Kickstarter record setter? The one that now has its own appstore and has become a market leader with over 300,000 sold? Well, the Pebble is still very cool, very cutting edge and very popular. But it’s being joined by a new edition, the Pebble Steel. If you wanted the original Pebble but thought it was maybe just a little too funky to fit in with your business look, you’ll love the Pebble Steel with its more refined stainless steel case and thin profile look. Watch for the all new Pebble Steel soon at Best Buy.
If there was any doubt that this would be the year that smartwatches and other wearable technology hits the mainstream, look no further than Best Buy, where you’ll find best-sellers like the Pebble smartwatch alongside the latest generation of Samsung’s wearable tech –the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Soon some new entries will be joining these: the Cookoo and Cogito. Choice is good and these new models offer a new take on the traditional smartwatch form factor as well as a more affordable option for those who want to take the plunge into wearable technology without a large investment. I just spent a week with a Cookoo smartwatch and you can read my review here.
Smartwatches, augmented reality glasses, fitness trackers –any compact extension to your smartphone or tablet– is firmly in Google’s sights with the announcement of Android Wear. What is Android Wear? It’s a push to extend Android to those smartwatches and wearable devices, using a standard API and developer tools so Android apps for smartphones and tablets can be ported to, or seamlessly integrated with those wearables. Google is working with developers and hardware partners like Samsung, Fossil and LG on the Android Wear Initiative. And you’ll see two Android Wear-powered smartwatches at Best Buy Later this year: the Moto 360 and LG’s G Watch.
What is all the fuss about Spritz? If you were using a Spritz-enabled app, you would already have read to the end of this post and could tell us. But given that Spritz-enabled tech isn’t out there yet (it’s coming soon, though), here’s the scoop. Spritz is new speed reading technology that’s based on the theory that much of our time spent reading is wasted as our eyes move side to side. Display a word in one place, flash one word at a time and suddenly reading becomes much more efficient. Not only that, but by displaying just one word at a time, reading is suddenly possible on compact displays, like a smartphone or smartwatch. Being able to quickly (and painlessly) read e-mail, reports or even books on your Gear2 or Gear Neo suddenly makes the idea of wearable technology even more appealing.
Samsung got a head start on most of its consumer electronics rivals with the launch of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch in 2013. While the Galaxy Gear had many fans, it missed the mark in terms of mainstream acceptance. Samsung was obviously taking notes because when it announced the replacement —only five months after introducing the original— most of the issues noted with the Galaxy Gear had been addressed. A day before the start of the Mobile World Congress, Samsung unveiled a pair of new smartwatches: the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo.