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Wearable Electronics

IDC: Wearables Market to "Nearly Double" by 2021

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IDC: Wearables Market to

The wearable device market should maintain forward momentum in the coming years, IDC reports-- the analyst forecasts 2017 shipments will total 125.5 million, a 20.4% increase over the 104.3m units of 2016.

Further into the future, the market is expected to nearly double before reaching a total of 240.1m units shipped in 2021, making a CAGR of 18.2% for the 5-year period.

“The wearables market is entering a new phase,” IDC says. “Since the market’s inception, it’s been a matter of getting product out there to generate awareness and interest. Now it’s about getting the experience right-- from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyses, and presents insightful data. What this means for users is that in the years ahead, they will be treated to second- and 3rd-generation devices that will make the today’s devices seem quaint.”

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IDC: Xiaomi, Apple Hold Top Wearables Position

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IDC: Xiaomi, Apple Hold Top Wearables Position

According to IDC, the global wearables market maintains its upward trajectory on Q1 2017, with shipments reaching 24.7 million-- a 17.9% Y-o-Y increase, while Apple and Xiaomi share the position of top vendor for the quarter.

Xiaomi and Apple holding the top spot means a competitor got supplanted. That competitor is Fitbit, a company currently going through transformation as user tastes shift from fitness bands to smartwatches and other products. This allowed Xiaomi to push inexpensive devices in China, while Apple leverages its position as leading smartwatch vendor.

That said one should not stop start dismissing Fitbit. After all, the fitness tracker wearer has a user base of 50 million, a "strong" presence in corporate wellnes and assets keeping it on the top of mind for digital health. This makes it well positioned for a move into new segments and markets.

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Snapchat Spectacles Reach Europe

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Snapchat Spectacles Reach Europe

Snap-- aka the rebranded Snapchat-- announces the Spectacles, its video-recording sunglasses, are now available in Europe, 7 months after an initial US launch.

For the unfamiliar, the Spectacles are a pair of colourful round sunglasses with a built-in videocamera. They pair with smartphones and the Snapchat app via Bluetooth or wifi, and shoot what the company calls "Snaps," snippets of video up to 10 seconds in length.

The Specs store up to three 10-second long Snaps, and video recording starts and stops by pressing a button on the left arm of the sunglasses. An outwards-facing light lets people know the Specs are recording, and once transferred to smartphone Snaps appear in the Memories section of the Snapchat app for sharing with the rest of the world.

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Polar Tracks Heart Rate, Sleep With A370

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Polar Tracks Heart Rate, Sleep With A370

Polar announces the A370-- an upgrade on the A360 fitness wearable, featuring the addition of continuous heart rate tracking together with sleep tracking and, as such devices tend to, fitness tracking.

The A370 monitors heart rate every 5 minutes, regardless of wearer activity (or lack thereof). It also can tell when the wearer is doing any activity, with an accelerometer tracking running speed and distance. Connectivity with the Polar weighing scale allows it to track calorie loss.

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Asus ZenWatch Line No More?

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Asus ZenWatch Line No More?

According to supply chain sources speaking to DigiTimes, Asus is "likely" to end the ZenWatch smartwatch line due to "lower than expected" sales.

DigiTimes adds monthly ZenWatch product shipments total around 5000-6000 on average, with production currently outsourced to Pegatron. In comparison, Q1 2017 Apple Watch shipments total 3.5 million according to IDC, while 2016 shipments reached 7m units.

The latest ZenWatch device is the ZenWatch 3, a smartwatch launched back in November 2016 featuring a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 CPU, 512MB RAM and 4GB storage.

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Acer Presents Leap Ware

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Acer Presents Leap Ware

Acer makes another stab at fitness wearables with the Leap Ware-- a smartwatch the company says can measure stamina as well as heart rate, fatigue and UV exposure.

The Leap Ware is a 42mm device with Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ and IPX7 water resistance able to protect it against an "unexpected torrential downpour." A built-in LED light switches on at the press of a button, and bands are interchangeable with any 20mm watch band. Acer claims the battery lasts for up to 3-5 days on a single charge.

On the fitness metrics side the watch uses a MediaTek M2523 chipset and MT2511 bio-sensing chip, together with "advanced algorithms" to monitor heart rate, stamina, stress/fatigue levels and exposure to ultraviolet rays.

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Leaked: Fitbit's First Smartwatch!

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Leaked: Fitbit's First Smartwatch!

Yahoo Finance gets its mitts on images of the first "proper" smartwatch from troubled fitness wearable maker Fitbit, as well as the company's first-ever set of Bluetooth earbuds.

Originally meant for a Spring release, the smartwatch is set for a Q3 2017 launch. According to a Yahoo source, Fitbit plans to "get ahead of whenever Apple plans their normal fall announcement." Rumours also suggest the device was affected by hardware issues, including GPS signal and waterproofing, as well as a lack of app store due to SDK delays.

As seen in the photos the smartwatch is similar to other premium Fitbit products, such as the Blaze fitness watch. Codenamed "Higgs," it has a colour display with 1000 nits brightness, built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, touchless payments capability, music storage and playback (via streaming service Pandora) and battery life reaching up to 4 days on a single charge. Construction is in aluminium, and the watch bands are swappable.

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The First Windows 10-Powered Smartwatch

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The First Windows 10-Powered Smartwatch

German OEM TrekStor is the company working on the first Windows 10-powered smartwatch-- a yet unnamed wearable device based on Windows 10 IoT Core able to run Universal Windows applications.

Announced in a Windows Blog post, the TrekStor smartwatch is primarily aimed at industry use, with applications such as retail inventory management, building automation, industrial automation, healthcare, asset management and fleet management. As Microsoft puts it, the device "allows various functions to be reported to the right place without any communicative detours, and messages can be transmitted silently in real-time or verbally via voice messages."

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Alphabet's Health Study Smartwatch

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Alphabet's Health Study Smartwatch

Verily, the life sciences spinoff of Google umbrella company Alphabet, has a slick-looking smartwatch designed for use in observational and longitudinal health studies.

Dubbed the Study Watch, the device has a low-power ePaper-style display and carries "multiple physiological and environmental sensors, designed to measure relevant signals for studies spanning cardiovascular, movement disorders, and other areas.” Verily says the battery lasts up to a week on a single charge, and the smartwatch encrypts health data before upload and processing on the cloud.

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ZTE Presents Quartz Smartwatch

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ZTE Presents Quartz Smartwatch

ZTE announces a first smartwatch-- the Quartz, an Android Wear 2.0-powered number promising functionality on par with similar devices, only at a lower price range.

The Quartz features a unibody design with a round 1.4-inch Gorilla Glass 3-covered 400 x 400 touchscreen complete with Gorilla Glass shielding. Inside are an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, GPS and a heart rate sensor, together with a 1.1GHz quad-core Snapdragon Wear 2100 CPU, 768MB RAM and 4GB storage. A 500 mAh battery promises up to 36 hours of use on a single charge.

Interestingly, it also carries an own LTE radio as well as a microphone and speaker, meaning it can handle phone calls, SMS and data. Watch construction is water resistant, and the band is a 22mm number users can be easily swap out.

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Polar Presents M430 Running Watch

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Polar Presents M430 Running Watch

Polar presents an update on the flagship M400 running shop-- the M430, a wearable featuring wrist-based heart rate sensors within a slightly thinner and lighter design.

The M400 is very similar to its predecessor, consisting of a rounded-square module with 5 physical buttons and a soft-touch perforated silicone strap reminiscent of that included with the Nike Apple Watch Series 2. The module weighs 51g and carries 6 LED lights for optical heart rate sensing, built-in GPS, 240mAh battery and a monochrome display.

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