Tag: smartwatch

Fitbit’s first true smartwatch hits snags

Fitbit was planning to release its first “proper” smartwatch but the project has been blighted by a series of production mishaps.

The fitness tracker company’s smartwatch project was supposed to be released in the spring, but production problems have forced Fitbit to push the launch to the autumn.

In one of the more final prototypes, the GPS didn’t work because the antenna wasn’t in the right place. Designers had to go back to the drawing board to redesign the product so the GPS got a strong signal.

Then there was the problem of making the watch fully waterproof so that it could compete with Apple’s Watch Series 2. At the moment, it is unclear if Fitbit will make the watch fully waterproof in time for the launch.

The Tame Apple Press is dancing in the street over the delays. The smartwatch market is limited and Apple has sewn up the numbers of clients who want one. Fitbit was a possible contender to take the market away from Jobs mob. It already has a good reputation in the fitness tracker market.

Lenovo Moto gives up on smartwatches

WatchOnce touted by the Tame Apple Press as the next big thing in technology, the smartwatch has been a huge disappointment, and now Lenovo Moto has announced that it is throwing in the towel.

Lenovo Moto confirmed that it will not be releasing a new smartwatch for the launch of Android Wear 2.0, due early next year. It had previously said it was not going to bother with another smartwatch in 2016, but it is now saying that it doesn’t plan to put out a new device timed to the arrival of Google’s newest wearable platform.

Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, said the company doesn’t “see enough pull in the market to put a new smartwatch out now”.

It has not discounted ever making another smartwatch but it will take improvements to the existing technologies before it is considered worthwhile.

“Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year,” Barkat said, and indicated that smartwatches and other wearable devices will not be in Moto’s annual device roadmap.

Few companies have updated their smartwatches. Google itself delayed the launch of Android Wear 2 from this autumn to next year. The Moto 360 released in 2015 is expected to receive an update to the new software, but the original model launched in 2014 will not.

Barkat said that wristwatches still have value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today.

TAG Heuer releases $1,500 smartwatch

small_TAGHeuerConnected_bannerLuxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer is showing Apple how it is done by releasing a $1,500 smartwatch.

TAG Heuer’s Connected Watch, which is its first to run Google’s Android Wear operating system and it looks a lot like the outfit’s Carrera analogue watch.

Company CEO Jean-Claude Biver said that his watch was the result of a marriage between of Watch Valley and Silicon Valley. It’s a marriage between America and Switzerland.

“The Swiss watch industry has entered today, thanks to Intel and Google, the Swiss Watch industry is connected to the future. That is the importance of the event today. That is why I’m excited. That is why I am proud to be here.”

What is surprising though is that the watch is surprising low spec. The smartwatch uses an Intel Atom Z34XX processor, Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, 4GB of internal storage and gyroscopic sensors.

It does not have GPS, a heart rate sensor or even a speaker on the smartwatch (all notifications announce themselves via vibrations). On the plus side you will get 30 hours of battery life before you need a recharge.

What you’re paying for is the grade 2 titanium casing and the TAG Heuer name. After the two year warranty is up, owners will have the opportunity to trade it in, pay an additional $1,500 and receive a “real” mechanical TAG Heuer watch.


Watches are a security threat

Apple watchThe maker of expensive printer ink is warning that smartwatches are a huge security threat.

HP Security found that many of the most popular wearable gizmos carry major security flaws thanks to their increasing connectivity to the Internet of Things.

All the ten gizmos tested by Fortify, HP Security’s application provider, contained “significant vulnerabilities”.

These included a lack of proper authorisation and authentication. When connected to an insecure test mobile device, three in ten of the gizmos were vulnerable to ‘account harvesting.’ This was thanks to a combination of weak password policy, lack of account lockout, and user enumeration.

Seventy percent of the smartwatches tested were also found to come up short on protecting firmware updates, including transmitting firmware updates without encryption and without encrypting the update files.

Three of the gizmos used cloud-based web interfaces that left them at risk of having password or data stolen by hackers using reset password forms.

HP had concerns about the security of the personal data collected by the toys. To use their shiny toys users often need to give up information such as name, address, date of birth, weight, gender, heart rate and other health information.

Jason Schmitt, general manager, HP Security said that smartwatches have only just started to become a part of our lives, but they deliver a new functionality that could open the door to new threats.

“As the adoption of smartwatches speeds up, the platform will become more attractive to those who would abuse that access, making it critical that we take precautions when sending personal data or connecting smartwatches into corporate networks.”

34 million smartwatch displays to ship

WatchA market research company said that smartwatch display units will grow by 250 percent this year with 34 million units shippings.

That’s largely because of the publicity and demand for Apple’s iWatch, said IHS.

But the manufacturers are being cautious about over supplying units, the report said. For example, it said that smartwatch display shipments will fall to 6.5 million units in the fourth quarter of this year.

The majority of display panels shipped this year will use AMOLED technology. That’s because both Apple and Samsung use this technology.

Out of the AMOLED watch panels shipped, Apple is expected to consume 84 percent of the shipments.

Analyst Hiroshi Hayase at IHS said: “The display market is carefully watching consumer response to products in the smartwatch category.”

Here comes a smarter watch than Apple’s

iType SmartwatchThe iType Smartwatch has an intelligent, extremely fast keyboard interface in a wrist-worn device. With iType, you not only receive messages, but most importantly, can type a response and run any Android app directly from your wrist. Kickstarter and Pepcom’s Mobile Focus served as its launching platforms with Ryan Ghassabian showing off the working product, writes Darleen Hartley.

Historically, the developing company, SnapKeys, invented state-of-the-art keyboards with a unique approach only to discover that QWERTY ruled the typing world. Through its subsidiary, Type Time, SnapKeys is taking its avant garde techniques to the mobile arena using that QWERTY design. It should prove disruptive.

Consider what one reviewer said of competitor Apple’s move into the smartwatch field: “The Apple Watch was a first generation product with bugs, quirks and confusions.” Look out Siri, there’s a better way. Even a whispered message isn’t as private as one that can be typed. No longer do you have to depend on voice recognition that doesn’t always recognise what you want to say. iType displays your developing message clearly on the watch face before you transmit it.

Six large buttons represent the three key rows of the familiar right and left hand QWERTY board. A few taps on the intuitive watch face quickly develops sentences ready for transmission. Other easy operations will make this strapped on device a must have. Simply pressing a button brings up a camera immediately ready to capture any unexpected, transient image.

Time counts and the fast, predictive app that drives the keyboard is a technique to be reckoned with, all on an Android device. If Apple wants to go head to head with iType’s keying capabilities, the industry headlines may be filled with court cases yet again, since all SnapKeys’ technologies are protected by a significant number of globally filed patents.

IType operates with both Wi-Fi and SIM cards. It lets you choose from all the apps available on Google Play. Surf the net, check your health stats, use GPS to find that new restaurant, mark a special date on your calendar, answer phone calls, and even listen to music via the device on your wrist. You can leave those other cumbersome devices at home.

Technology is inclusive: a dual core A7 processor, Android 4.4, a high-resolution 240 x 240 color display, 1G RAM, 8G ROM, Wi-Fi, GSM and WCDMA phone, camera, mic and speaker, Bluetooth, water resistant, all delivered in seven principal languages. Put that smartphone back in your pocket or purse. Conveniently carry the only, always at hand … uh, wrist … device you need.

Want one? Until June 11 on Kickstarter, the early bird price is only $184 USD. Once the $100,000 project is fully funded, the price will be $235, one hundred clams less than the cheapest version of Apple Watch.

Check iType out on Kickstarter.

Watch wars go up a gear

Apple watchWhile no one is sure how many people will want to stick a so-called smartwatch on their wrists, the hype surrounding these electronic gizmos ratcheted up today – the official day of the launch of Apple’s iWatch.

To put things into perspective, Microsoft tried to promote a smartwatch years ago but that bombed, a bit like its attempts to grab the tablet market.

According to Reuters, a queue of people lining up to buy an Apple iWatch in Tokyo looked more like a trickle than a flood. Apple is experiencing some difficulties creating enough watches to supply demand – or at least that’s the spin the company is putting on it.

Now Apple’s great rival, according to the same wire, is attempting to spoil Apple’s rather low key party by broad hints that it’s ready to release a new generation of its Gear smartwatch.

It’s beyond doubt that there are some Apple fanboys crazy enough to buy anything the company manufacturers. No doubt an Apple can opener with the familiar logo on it would be enough to send some fanboys into spasms of delight.

Apple has given nobody a clue how many pre-orders it’s received. Whether it does well or badly isn’t going to make or break the company anyway.

Now, how about that can opener, Tim Cook?

Samsung releases Smartwatch and fitness band

Samsung Electronics showed off a new smartwatch and fitness band along with the latest version of its Galaxy smartphone once again putting its rival Apple’s efforts into the shade.

Jobs’ Mob traditionally invents something that someone else has in a sexy new shape and claims that it was its idea all along. However this particular technique is set to backfire with the smartwatch, which is said to be Apple’s next effort. Apple took so long to get its innovation to market, that it is now a long way behind.

Samsung set a trend less than six months ago for wearable devices that link to mobile handsets with its Galaxy Gear watch, which has seen rivals like Sony and Huawei follow in its wake.

At a relatively low-key launch event in Barcelona, Samsung also unveiled the Gear 2 smartwatch, which runs on the Tizen operating system rather than Google’s Android software, and a stripped-down version called Gear 2 Neo, which doesn’t have a camera.

The devices can monitor the wearer’s heart rate, a function used in increasingly popular health and fitness apps, or individual programs.

The Samsung Gear Fit, also targeting the fitness sector, has a heart rate monitor, too, as does the Samsung Galaxy S5 itself, a first for a smartphone, Samsung said.

The Gear Fit has a curved touch-sensitive screen and its features include a pedometer, Samsung said.