Swiss watch producer chief dismisses Apple Watch, fears privacy loss
The Apple Watch has been dismissed as an "interesting toy" by the CEO of watch manufacturer Swatch, as it continues to fight against Apple. Outlining the future of the company's smartwatch plans, Nick Hayek Jr. spoke against the currently-available smartwatches on the market, claiming them to be power-hungry devices that erodes the user's privacy by uploading data to the cloud, and in the Apple Watch's case, calling it "not a revolution."
Pebble accepts reservations of Pebble Time Steel for non-Kickstarter customers
Pebble has started to accept reservations for the Pebble Time Steel from non-Kickstarter backers. Priced at $250 each, with a choice of three finishes and an Italian leather band, TechnoBuffalo reports that new customers will have to wait until Pebble Time Steel production catches up with existing backers, which could be before the end of next month. Shipments of the Steel version of the smartwatch to Kickstarter backers is starting this week, though the free matching steel band will be shipping later this year.
Outlook, Wunderlist, Yammer gain Apple Watch support
Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled a collection of new apps and upgraded versions it has developed for the Apple Watch. The new smartwatch apps are all productivity focused, featuring Outlook for Apple Watch as well as a new Microsoft Translator app that lets users communicate with other people in 50 different languages, though it also outlined updated apps for existing services already available on wearable devices.
Up to 300 Best Buy stores will sell Apple Watch by holidays
The Apple Watch is going to be easier to acquire in the United States, with major electronics chain Best Buy set to sell the smartwatches to customers from next month. An announcement from the retailer advises that it will be the first national retailer where the Apple Watch can be acquired, aside from Apple's own store network, with the first locations to put the wearable device on sale doing so from August 7.
Pebble Time firmware update includes new settings for vibration, brightness
A firmware update for the Pebble Time is available to install, with version 3.2 adding more settings and fixes to the device. Among the additions are intensity and time-out duration options for the backlight, adjustable font sizes for certain areas of the operating system, adjustable vibration strength for various alert-related functions, and a Dismiss All action for notifications. The smartwatch can be updated via the Pebble Time app's support menu.
Strategy Analytics estimates first-quarter shipments of four million units
One day after Apple CEO Tim Cook debunked reports that sales of the Apple Watch were slipping by saying in a conference call with analysts that in fact, June sales had outperformed both May and April -- including the original rush of pre-orders, new data from Strategy Analytics claims that not only has Apple handily stolen the crown of top smartwatch seller from Samsung in just its first full quarter, the company has outsold all rivals combined year-to-date.
Pebble Time smartwatch on sale at Best Buy, Target sales in August
The Pebble Time is now available to buy in-store by non-Kickstarter backers. The second-generation of smartwatch can now be acquired in Best Buy stores in red, white, and black color options, reports CNET, priced at $199. Target will also be selling the smartwatch through its retail and online stores, starting from August 17. A retail release date for the Pebble Time Steel has yet to be confirmed.
Probendi sues Apple to over alleged trademark infringement
Apple is being sued in Europe over the use of the term "iWatch" in advertising, despite its smartwatch being called simply the Watch. Irish developer Probendi has filed a complaint in a court in Milan, alleging that Apple is using the iWatch term in searches and advertisements on Google in order to direct potential customers to its device, infringing the trademark Probendi owns.
Pebble Time Steel production begins, shipments to backers starting this month
Pebble has revealed it is beginning production of the Pebble Time Steel smartwatch this week, with the first devices expected to start shipping to backers in the last week of this month, two months after the standard Pebble Time went through the same process. Steel version backers are supposed to receive a leather band and a matching metal version, but due to limited initial supply, Pebble will be including both bands where possible, with some backers getting their steel bands at a later time than the watch itself.
Huawei Honor 7 has 5.2-inch 1080p display, 20MP camera, metal body
Huawei has launched a pair of new devices in the last 24 hours, including a smartphone and a smartwatch that are both destined for sale in China in the near future. The Honor 7 is a smartphone equipped with a 20-megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus, held inside a metal alloy frame, while the Honor Band Zero has been teased as another round-faced smartwatch that the manufacturer is aiming to release this summer.
Six-sided batteries offer 25 percent capacity increase over rectangular counterparts
Smartwatches with higher-capacity batteries could soon be hitting the market, if manufacturers adopt a new battery from LG Chem. The battery, hexagonal in shape, is said to provide up to 25 percent more capacity compared to similar-sized rectangular batteries, which the company believes can provide up to four more hours of battery life, a significant addition to the amount of time current smartwatches are capable of lasting for between charges.
Pebble Time pre-orders commence through Best Buy, online store
The Pebble Time has become available for US-based non-backers to pre-order through Best Buy, with international orders able to be placed through the main Pebble store. The second version of the cross-platform smartwatch is listed on the retailer's website in a choice of red, black, and white colorings, priced at $200. While pre-orders for the Pebble Time have commenced, there is no sign of the Pebble Time Steel, the metal-clad version of the smartwatch launched during the same Kickstarter campaign.
BBM for Android gains Material Design, private chats
The latest beta for BBM for Android has been given a visual overhaul using Android Lollipop's Material Design. According to Crackberry, the same beta also brings with it private chats, where contact names are hidden, notifications are turned off, and the conversation is deleted upon ending the chat or after a short period of time. The option to edit a sent message, and the ability to publish status updates directly into the user's personal BBM feed have also been added. Since it is a beta, these features may change before reaching the main release, with no timescales for the additions advised by BlackBerry.
Second-generation ZenWatch still uses Android Wear, enhances Remote Camera function
Asus has launched its second smartwatch at Computex, following last year's ZenWatch. The ZenWatch 2 remains an Android Wear-powered device, but the design of the original has been altered to include a side crown, though more as a button than the Digital Crown of the Apple Watch, with it also replacing the previous dock with new magnetic charger to simplify the charging process, as well as improving the recharge time overall.
Switzerland and another major market will be first to get Swatch smartwatch
Designer watch manufacturer Swatch has reaffirmed its intention to produce a smartwatch, offering some more clues about its launch. Chief Executive Nick Hayek advised at an annual general meeting it will be going on sale in two countries sometime this summer, and while one of the countries will be Swatch's native Switzerland, the other was described only as a "big country," which some have taken to mean a possible launch in China or the United States is on the cards.
Magic View display on Lenovo smartwatch prototype projects second screen into user's eye
Lenovo used its TechWorld event to show two concept devices it has been working on. A smartphone with a built-in projector was revealed, complete with a mode that offered alternative ways to interact with the device, while a smartwatch was shown with a secondary "Magic View" display that provides an alternative and private viewpoint for personal data, along with other non-standard smartwatch functions.
Pebble Time backer shipments to begin from May 27
The Pebble Time smartwatch will start shipping to backers of its Kickstarter campaign from May 27, the company has revealed. In mass production since the start of this month, backers of the Pebble Time are being sent invitations to finalize their selections for backer rewards and their smartwatch, with tracking numbers expected to be provided to customers by mid-June. Shipments of the smartwatch will apparently continue on a "rolling basis" when the devices reach regional distribution centers. The company has also advised it is preparing to debut the new support apps called "Pebble Time Watch" for iOS and Android from next week
Developer kit provides some specifications, bezel-based functions for Samsung smartwatch
Samsung has revealed more details about its upcoming round-faced smartwatch, as part of its Gear software development kit. The SDK includes screenshots showing what to expect when using the smartwatch, as well as functionality being included in the device, and the fact that Samsung will be implementing a system similar to the Apple Watch's digital crown, by using a rotating bezel.
Optical heart rate monitoring system from Mio built into latest Garmin running watch
Garmin has unveiled another GPS-equipped sports watch in its Forerunner range, but this time it includes a heart rate monitor. While other fitness-monitoring devices the company produces can connect to a separate heart rate-measuring unit, the Forerunner 225 is the first from Garmin to have an optical heart rate sensor developed by Mio built in, lowering the amount of electronics the user needs to wear.
Tag Heuer smartwatch may have 40 hour battery life
Tag Heuer's high-end smartwatch will be shipping in October or November, according to a report. More details about the Swiss watchmaker's device received by Bloomberg points to a sale price of almost $1,400, and a battery life of around 40 hours from a single charge. Earlier reports point to it as using Android Wear and using Intel components, though it is believed it will be designed to appeal more tot typical buyers of premium smartwatches instead of technology enthusiasts.
Beyond the cool-gadget factor, can they really improve on the smartphone?
Anyone who's been listening to The MacNN Podcast knows there's been some discussion among the staff about wearing smartwatches, and if they think it would be beneficial to do so. Some of us are dubious it would be a useful addition to our workflow, some are skeptical but hopeful an application of value will arise, and some have already ordered theirs and are waiting patiently. Recently, a friend of ours scored several refurbished MetaWatch Frames from Meh.com for what we're going to call "a really good price." So we bought one, in an effort to see if there was any point to wearing a smartwatch.
GPS-equipped watch includes cellular communications option
Haier has revealed its own attempt at the smartwatch concept, but one which has a specific purpose in mind. Revealed earlier this week at the IFA Global Press Conference, the unnamed device will allow for the wearer to be tracked and communicated with by a smartphone user, with it aimed at helping keep children as well as older members of society safe.
Software development kit announcement includes round watch face imagery
The next smartwatch from Samsung is likely to have a round face, if a teaser image in a press release is to be believed. A release inviting developers to sign up for early access to a software development kit (SDK) for the manufacturer's "Next generation of the Gear device" has a supplementary image accompanying it, depicting a variety of round faces, strongly suggesting the watch will have one as well.
Upcoming Android Wear update lets smartwatches be used away from smartphones
The next update to Android Wear will extend the capabilities of wearable devices using the operating system, making them more useful as standalone devices. Just as previously rumored, the update will allow smartwatches with Wi-Fi connectivity to work over a local wireless network connection when outside of Bluetooth range, but it will require the user's smartphone to have some form of Internet connection in order to remotely access apps and notifications.
Android Wear companion app for iOS allegedly close to completion
Google may be preparing to fight the Apple Watch on its home turf, by working on getting Android Wear devices to work with iOS devices. A companion app for iOS is reportedly close to being completed by Google, which in theory would allow smartwatches running Android Wear to receive notifications and interact with other apps on Apple's mobile operating system.
Android developer uncovers mystery device with 320x320 display
Motorola may be working on another Android Wear device, according to a rumor. A device claimed to have the codename "Smelt" has allegedly been spotted by an app developer, located close to Motorola's main headquarters in Chicago, with initial suggestions being that it could be a follow-up to the manufacturer's Moto 360 smartwatch, released last year.
Second-generation Pebble smartwatch is most-funded Kickstarter project
Pebble has finished its second crowdfunding campaign for its second generation of smartwatch, with the Pebble Time bringing in more than $20.3 million in funding from over 78,000 backers on Kickstarter. The final total makes the Pebble Time the most-funded Kickstarter campaign ever, eclipsing the original device's $13.4 million haul from two years ago.
Standalone LTE smartwatch uses WebOS, has premium pricing
LG is going to be putting the LTE-equipped version of the Watch Urbane on sale in its native South Korea later this week. The stylish smartwatch, initially revealed by the manufacturer last month, is able to run as a standalone device thanks to its cellular connection, allowing it to make and receive calls and messages, and also receive app notifications, all without being connected to a smartphone.
Smartstrap efforts for enhancing Pebble Time functionality will gain extra backing
Projects to create a Pebble smartstrap, add-ons for the Pebble Time smartwatch introduced on Kickstarter late last month, will be getting a development boost from the company itself. Developers creating their own smartband for the wearable device will be eligible to apply for funds from Pebble to create their smartstrap, with the manufacturer pledging $1 million for the handouts.
Luxury market singled out by trio, first units expected end 2015
Tag Heuer, Google and Intel have announced a partnership to launch a Swiss smartwatch, powered by Intel technology and Android Wear. The trio of companies working on the new Android Wear device call the effort "a new era of collaboration between Swiss watchmakers and Silicon Valley, bringing together each company's respective expertise in luxury watchmaking, software and hardware."
Report claims scrolling via wrist flicks on the way for Android Wear devices
The next software update for Android Wear could introduce Wi-Fi support to supported smartwatches, according to a report. Smartwatches running the operating system may be able to work without relying on a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone in the future, along with gesture controls and some tweaks to the user interface to make navigation easier.
High-speed charging of rumored smartwatch undercuts current charging periods
Chinese smartphone producer Oppo may be joining the smartwatch market with its own device, with an interesting power system. The manufacturer is apparently going to counter the woeful day-long battery life that currently plagues smartwatches by making the recharging process as quick as possible, with claims that Oppo has managed to get this down to as short as five minutes.
Pebble Time Steel has metal body, similar specifications, larger battery
Pebble has given backers of its wildly-successful Pebble Time Kickstarter a difficult decision, by adding an alternative device to purchase. Similar to the Pebble Steel compared to the original, the Pebble Time Steel is a metal-clad version of the smartwatch, containing the majority of internal components as the updated wearable device, but with a few slight changes to match the more mature design.
The new Leap works with iOS, Android and Windows Phone
Acer has introduced an updated version of its fitness tracker, now known as the Liquid Leap+. The device offers all of the typical fitness features, in a water-resistant package that retails for less than $90. The company has upgraded the Leap Manager utility to work with all major smartphone platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Like other fitness trackers, the Leap+ allows users to monitor their daily activity, exercise routines and sleep cycles, or access basic notifications from their paired phones.
The B2 brings an upscale design and new features
Huawei has introduced a new fitness tracker, the TalkBand B2, that made its debut alongside the company's new smartwatch at Mobile World Congress. Serving as a successor to the TalkBand B1, the B2 edition again doubles as a fitness wristband and a Bluetooth earpiece.
The timepiece looks like a traditional wristwatch
Huawei has introduced its flagship Android Wear device, simply known as the Watch. The company has called on traditional timepiece designers to help with industrial design. The result resembles a typical wristwatch, until the display flips from a clock face to an app interface.
Effort pairs Silicon Valley with precision watch manufacturers
Precision watch manufacturers are combining forces to combat Silicon Valley's surge into the space. Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT) is a new Swiss joint venture formed by Fullpower Technologies of Silicon Valley and Union Horlogere Holdings. Its declared mission is to bring the MotionX Horological Smartwatch Open Platform to the Swiss watch industry.
Pebble releases preview of SDK 3.0 with color screen support
Pebble has released a new version of its smartwatch SDK, in preview. Version 3.0 is built with the Pebble Time in mind, including support for 64 colors in apps, a new animation framework, PNG and Animated PNG support, and automatic detection of which platforms the developer wants to build for when compiling. According to the company, developers looking to make apps for the new SDK will need to make relatively few changes to the application to get it to work.
Second LG Watch Urbane will make calls, measure heart rate
Not content with giving its Android Wear smartwatch range a facelift, LG is making a version of its recently-announced premium Watch Urbane that can be used as a standalone device. The Watch Urbane LTE has, as its name suggests, built in cellular connectivity that can let it be used to make and receive calls, all without attaching it to a smartphone.
Successor to Pebble smartwatch uses new timeline interface
Pebble has unveiled its second generation of smartwatch, the Pebble Time, as a wearable device featuring an upgraded color e-paper display. Repeating what the company did for the original Pebble smartwatch, the Pebble Time is being made available through Kickstarter, with the crowdfunding campaign exceeding its goal barely after it launched.
Pebble website counts down to possible hardware announcement
Pebble has updated its website with a countdown timer to an unknown event, with the timer set to run out on Tuesday morning. Expected to be another device announcement, sources of 9to5mac claim it will be a major update featuring a color e-paper display and a thinner case design, complete with a microphone for voice recognition and a backlight. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky has previously suggested there would be some changes to the smartwatch's software, with a new "interaction model," but the CEO kept quiet when asked about hardware changes.
Latest update focuses on Android Wear, responses
The latest set of updates for the Pebble smartwatch include a number of major updates useful to Android users, with relatively few iOS improvements also included. The biggest changes in firmware 2.9 and the Android app relate to Android Wear, allowing the smartwatch to display notifications for apps that take advantage of Google's operating system for wearable devices.
Nintendo pulls launch of TVii service in Europe over localization issues
Nintendo has scrapped its planned TVii service in Europe, over two years after the Wii U console's launch. The service, which is available in Japan and North America, will not be heading to the continent due to the "extremely complex nature of localizing multiple television services across a diverse range of countries with varied licensing systems," reports Eurogamer. An Anime channel for the Nintendo 3DS will still be available to view.
Stainless steel casing used in upmarket LG Watch Urbane
LG has revealed its latest Android Wear smartwatch, ahead of other expected launches at Mobile World Congress next month. The LG Watch Urbane has a round face similar to the G Watch R, though this time LG has taken inspiration from the design of higher-end watches and encased the watch in a stylish stainless steel body, with gold and polished silver color options.
Sling TV accepting new customer registrations without an invitation
Dish Network's Sling TV has been opened up to new registrations without requiring an invitation, following its soft launch. Spotted by GigaOM, the Internet TV service provides a trial week of usage before requiring users to pay for access. While the basic package includes live access to 15 channels for $20 per month, a collection of three add-on packages containing channels relating to news and information, kids and family, and sports can all be added at $5 per extra bundle.
Swatch smartwatch to never require charging, perform mobile payments.
Swatch will be revealing its first smartwatch within the next few months the company has revealed. Relatively late to market, the designer watch made a number of claims about the upcoming device, in that it will apparently not only provide some typical smartwatch functions, but in contrast to the low battery life of some recent releases, Swatch's watch will never need to be charged.
Apps to become less of a focus in new Pebble software framework
Pebble has managed to sell over 1 million smartwatches to customers since its Kickstarter launch in 2012, the head of the company has confirmed. More than doubling the 400,000-unit milestone revealed in March, possibly due to a price cut in September, CEO Eric Migicovsky has revealed in an interview that the smartwatch producer is not sitting still, with more releases expected to take place this year.
Majority of fitness trackers likely to escape FDA regulation
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking an interest in wearable devices, specifically those offering fitness tracking capabilities. Draft guidance published by the FDA concerning "Low Risk General Wellness Products" suggests the administration is looking into whether or not it needs to regulate new devices that aim to improve the health of the user.
HTC smartwatch said to share data with Under Armour fitness platform
HTC may join Samsung in launching a wearable at Mobile World Congress in March alongside a new flagship. Though lacking in detail, a report claims the smartwatch will take advantage of a partnership between HTC and Under Armour, with the wrist-based tracker connecting to the sports apparel brand's own fitness service for health and fitness tracking.
Samsung allegedly adding wireless charging to rumored smartwatch
Samsung may be preparing to launch a round-faced smartwatch in March, according to rumors. The alleged launch at Mobile World Congress may take place alongside the expected next installment in the Galaxy S flagship smartphone line, with the Galaxy S6 reportedly using glass on the rear as well as the front and a metal construction.