Tag: Wearables

watchOS 5 imagines info-dense faces, podcast playback, more

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Fossil Q Control with Android Wear

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Apple Watch 3 review

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Fossil to buy fitness band maker Misfit for $260 million

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Fossil Group on Thursday said it will acquire Misfit, a wearable-tech startup focused on fitness trackers, for $260 million.

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(REVIEW): Fossil’s first Android Wear smartwatch arrives this holiday season for $275

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Android Wear has another nice-looking smartwatch. This time around it comes to us from veteran watchmaker Fossil, a newcomer to the increasingly crowded Android Wear field. The Fossil Q Founder looks similar to the new Moto 360. It features a circular display, traditional watch lugs, and, while it can’t be seen in the press photos, earlier images have suggested that it features an odd black bar at the bottom. This likely houses an ambient light sensor for automatically adjusting display brightness.

The Fossil Q Founder is the first Android Wear watch to include an Intel processor, but it won’t be the last. The chipmaker also partnered with TAG Heuer for a still-unreleased Android Wear watch. To date, a majority of Android Wear watches have been equipped with a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor from Qualcomm. It will be interesting to see how Intel’s processor performs. We will know more in a few weeks when we begin testing the watch.

The Q Founder runs Android Wear and works with both iPhones and Android devices. You can view notifications on your wrist for things like calls, text messages, emails and calendar events. You will also get personalized Google cards with information on weather, sporting events, traffic and more. The watch doesn’t include cellular capabilities, however, so you will have to be in Bluetooth range of your smartphone or connected to Wi-Fi for complete functionality.

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A set date wasn’t announced for the Q Founder. The watch is said to arrive in time for the holidays and will start at $275. That’s cheaper than both the Moto 360 ($300) and Huawei Watch ($350). A model with a steel link bracelet will also be available, however it’s unclear how much it will cost. International pricing and release information wasn’t available, but the US price converts to about £180 in the UK and AU$380 in Australia.

In addition to the Q Founder, Fossil introduced an entire lineup of connected devices that will work with both iPhones and Android devices. There’s the Q Reveler and Q Dreamer, two fitness trackers designed for men and women, respectively. Then there is the Q Grant, a traditional watch that is also capable of tracking fitness activity and alerting you to notifications with a gentle vibration. It reminds me a lot of the Withings Activite.

The Q Reveler and Dreamer will be available on October 25 for $125 (converted to about £80, AU$175), while the Q Grant will arrive on the same day with a starting price of $175 (or about £115, AU$240).

TechDomes2015

In The Swiss Watch Downturn, Correlation Doesn’t Imply Causation (Unless It Does)

There’s much being made about the seemingly swift decline in Swiss watch sales. CultOfMac, as is their wont, is pointing to Apple Watch sales while still others are moaning about millennials who refuse to buy a $6,000 James Bond watch. So what’s really happening?

Watch exports fell 8.5 percent in the last three months, partially due to a slowdown in Asian luxury sales as well as a surge in the price of the Swiss franc. But the primary slowdown seems to be in the low end – meaning the $200-$500 mark – even as Switzerland is trying desperately to convince younger people that a $6,000 watch is a great deal.

So what’s happening? Smartwatches are killing the low end. I predicted this almost a year ago when I wrote about how the watch industry could save itself. In short, cheap watches are uninteresting in the face of cheap consumer electronics and just as the phone has replaced the watch for many older folks, the smartwatch will replace the phone for millennials.

What’s next for the industry? Massive consolidation and a downturn as bad as the quartz crisis. This is the end for many smaller manufacturers, including the OEMs who provide garbage watches for Calvin Klein, Fossil and Burberry. Cheaper manufacturers with a history – Timex, Citizen and Seiko primarily – will survive because there will always be a market for an inexpensive timepiece that gets the job done. But everyone else is toast. The smartwatch – not just the Apple Watch – is eating most of the low end pie.

What can the Swiss watch groups do? Not much, sadly. Generally, they need to offer a value proposition beyond the original watch proposition which was, in short, “This watch will tell the time well.” While many of us don’t remember the heady days when Timex was actually competing with Rolex in the 1950s, once upon a time all watch brands were approximately equal. The vision of the superior Swiss watch is as artificial as Santa Claus and Mother’s Day but it is a powerful message. However, years ago, all watch companies were in deep competition with each other over timekeeping.

Now, 60 years later, watch companies have little else to offer in terms of marketing message. Swiss watches, we’re told, are intrinsically better. They aren’t, really, simply because many aren’t made with the care that goes into even the lowest end electronic device. In fact, at this point most affordable watches are mass-produced junk. These are the watches that will disappear.

But a subset of the high-end watches – mostly still made by Swiss and German makers – are still intrinsically important as works of art and science and well worth the investment. But how do you tell that to someone who wants an Apple Watch in aluminum with an orange band but will settle for no watch at all?

Anecdotally many of us still say that the Apple Watch is rarely seen in the wild but this doesn’t mean they aren’t selling. There aren’t many watches in the wild at all these days and most of us aren’t watch hounds who notice exactly what people are wearing from across the room. But the smartwatches are out there. Apple has probably sold about 6 million of these things and they will sell more. Android devices are floating around and I’ve seen more Samsung watches in New York than Omegas. Things are changing.

Ultimately the Swiss watch industry is in a downturn because it has long been full of benighted rich people with no vision for the future. The great manufacturers sat on their hands for the past decade, raising prices and aiming their unattainable marketing message at the fashion world. Now they’re screwed.

Years later they have to convince an entire generation that they alienated with resolute intensity to buy their wares. It’s going to suck for them, and that’s really what’s causing this messy downturn but at least now they can try to understand the problem and fix the cause.

TechDomes2015

Google Invests In Mobvoi, Its Android Wear Partner In China

Google’s services are not available in China, but that isn’t stopping it from making a significant investment in a company based on Chinese soil. The U.S. search giant is backing Mobvoi, a three-year-old company specializing in mobile voice technology.

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Take complete control over Pebble Time notifications on Android

A recent update added the ability to control notifications based on the time of week, and it’s brilliant.

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