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ASUS ZenWatch Available at Best Buy on November 9th for $199

By |November 10th, 2014|Companion |NFC, Consumer Wearables, News, Smart Watches, SMARTWATCHES|

Press Release for 2014/11/07
ASUS ZenWatch Manager, Remote Camera, and Wellness smartphone apps available now on the Google Play store

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Fremont, CA (November 7, 2014) – ASUS today announced that ASUS ZenWatch, its first wearable device powered by Android Wear and produced in partnership with Google, will be available at Best Buy on November 9th for $199, and is coming soon on Google Play. ASUS ZenWatch is an exquisitely-crafted watch that pairs seamlessly with an Android™ 4.3+ smartphone to provide relevant and useful information when it is needed most, and serve as a personal wellness manager.

ASUS ZenWatch follows the tradition of fine watch craftsmanship with its stylish, detail-focused design and use of high quality materials. Its curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 display and case that follows the contour of the wrist, combined with a premium, stitched-leather strap with unique clasp, results in a design that is both comfortable and elegant. With a standard 22mm changeable strap and a selection of instantly-changeable watch faces, ASUS ZenWatch is easy to customize to fit anyone’s personality or sense of style.

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As a smart companion for Android phones, ASUS ZenWatch provides timely information at a glance and lets wearers get things done with a simple touch or voice command. ASUS ZenWatch brings some of the great features of ASUS ZenUI to an Android wearable for the first time. Users of ASUS smartphones can enjoy seamless integration with ASUS ZenUI on their phones, and experience exclusive ASUS ZenUI apps like What’s Next and Do It Later in ways that are more convenient and powerful than ever. Other apps add additional functionality to ASUS ZenWatch, including Remote Camera, which displays the smartphone viewfinder on the watch, letting wearers easily take selfies and other creative photos.

Combining sophisticated sensors with all-day comfort, ASUS ZenWatch is also a personal wellness manager that tracks a variety of wellness statistics, such as heart rate, step counts, and relaxation levels to help wearers keep their lives in balance and achieve personal fitness goals.

Fine watch craftsmanship
Employing the attention to detail and level of craftsmanship found in luxury watches, ASUS ZenWatch brings the tradition of fine watchmaking to Android wearables. The durable stainless-steel case features an attractive layered design composed of a striking rose-gold-colored band inset between two steel layers. The case is curved for increased comfort and a stylish look, and the watch face is covered with a layer of curved glass that increases usability by providing a smooth surface for easy and responsive swiping gestures.

ASUS ZenWatch has a universal fit that comfortably accommodates a wide range of wrist shapes and sizes. Its soft, genuine stitched-leather strap provides all-day comfort and features a unique clasp design that makes ASUS ZenWatch easy to put on and remove. The standard 22mm strap is easily changeable, letting wearers create a unique look for their watch by choosing a strap in their preference of color, style, and material.

Complementing its physical design, ASUS ZenWatch comes with a selection of instantly-changeable watch faces to fit any style, mood, or occasion. Wearers can use ASUS ZenWatch Manager on their smartphone to pick a watch face and customize its color and the information it displays, and change the watch face directly from ASUS ZenWatch. ASUS ZenWatch offers over 100 watch face combinations that, together with its changeable strap, provide endless personalization options.

Smart companion
ASUS ZenWatch is compatible with all smartphones running Android 4.3 or higher, and provides wearers with a convenient window to view incoming calls, messages, notifications, and other important information, as well as get straight answers to spoken questions, without having to remove their phone from their pocket or bag. All Android smartphone apps will show updates on ASUS ZenWatch, and many apps are creating new experiences to take full advantage of Android Wear.

When paired with the ASUS ZenWatch Manager smartphone app, ASUS ZenWatch provides enhanced smartphone integration, the ability to configure watch faces directly from the phone, and advanced features including ASUS ZenUI integration, Watch Unlock, Cover to Mute, and Find My Phone. Two additional features, Remote Camera and Presentation Control are available by using ASUS ZenWatch with the ASUS Remote Camera and ASUS Remote Link smartphone apps.

ASUS ZenWatch also integrates seamlessly with ASUS ZenUI on ASUS smartphones and comes with wearable-optimized versions of exclusive ASUS ZenUI app such as What’s Next and Do It Later. What’s Next is an intelligent schedule manager that displays the next important task or event such as appointments — including time and location changes, as well as cancellations — weather updates, and birthday and anniversary reminders for important contacts. Do It Later reminds wearers of items on their to-do list at just the right time. New email, text message, and missed call notifications are all seamlessly integrated with Do It Later, so wearers can create reminders to read and reply to messages, and return calls right from ASUS ZenWatch.

Watch Unlock turns ASUS ZenWatch into a universal key that lets wearers quickly unlock their phone or tablet simply by touching the watch face. Watch Unlock provides a balance between security and convenience by helping wearers protect their personal information, without always having to type a password or PIN into their device.

Remote Camera opens up new photographic opportunities for wearers by displaying their smartphone’s camera viewfinder remotely on ASUS ZenWatch. This is useful for group photos, letting the photographer compose the photo, release the shutter, and check the final result while being included in the shot. Remote Camera also frees wearers to take photos from creative angles where the viewfinder would be difficult to see, such as when holding the phone overhead at a concert or other crowded event.

Cover to Mute lets wearers easily mute an incoming call by placing their hand over the face of ASUS ZenWatch, helping them avoid situations where a ringtone would disturb others. Cover to Mute can also be used to silence alarms. Find My Phone helps wearers find their phone when it is misplaced by ringing it remotely. Alternatively, ASUS ZenWatch Manager on the smartphone can be used to find a misplaced ASUS ZenWatch by making it vibrate and flash.

Presentation Control enables ASUS ZenWatch to be used as a remote control and time manager when giving a business presentation or lecture. Wearers can move between slides, keep track of their progress, and keep an eye on the elapsed time all from ASUS ZenWatch, helping them to give polished, effective presentations.

Wellness manager
Comfortable to wear everywhere and built with sophisticated sensors, ASUS ZenWatch is a full-featured wellness manager that helps wearers maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Using the built-in biosensor, ASUS ZenWatch measures relaxation levels, and then provides wearers with an easy-to-understand relaxation score based on the results. Depending on the score, ASUS ZenWatch provides useful short tips on how to increase relaxation and reduce stress to improve wellness. Relaxation scores are recorded in the ASUS ZenUI Wellness app, so wearers can track their relaxation levels over time.

While wearers use ASUS ZenWatch throughout the day, the Wellness app tracks and displays a variety of health-related stats, including steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, activity duration, exercise intensity and relaxation level. The stats are presented as an informative timeline and weekly summary view that lets wearers know at a glance how active their lifestyle is.

Wearers can set activity goals — such as a target number of steps to take in a day — and then monitor these goals on ASUS ZenWatch as well as in the Wellness app. The summaries include attractive graphs that are easy to interpret and analyze, and can be used to progress towards future fitness goals.

ASUS has also partnered with Jawbone to bring its revolutionary UP system to ASUS ZenWatch. UP is an activity tracker and smart coach that helps wearers be more active. UP counts steps taken during the day and lets wearers log their diet and sleep. With this information UP presents wearers with simple lifestyle adjustments they can make to improve their health and fitness.

Availability & Pricing
ASUS ZenWatch will be available at Best Buy and BestBuy.com on November 9th for $199, and is coming soon on Google Play. ASUS ZenWatch Manager, Remote Camera, and Wellness are available now on the Google Play store.

SPECIFICATIONS
Processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400 processor with 1.2GHz CPU
Operating System Android Wear
Memory & storage 512MB RAM
4GB EMMC
Display AMOLED 1.63-inch, 320 x 320, 278ppi touch display
Cover Lens 2.5D curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Sensors 9-axis sensor, Biosensor
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
USB Port Micro USB on charging cradle
Audio Built-in microphone
Battery Li-polymer 1.4Wh
Water Resistance IP55
Colors Silver and rose gold color layers
Brown leather strap
Size 2.04 x 1.57 x 0.29-0.37 inch
Weight Body: 1.76 oz
Strap: 0.88 oz

Specifications, content and product availability are all subject to change without notice and may differ from country to country. Actual performance may vary depending on applications, usage, environment and other factors.

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About ASUS
ASUS is a worldwide top-three consumer notebook vendor and maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning, motherboards. A leading enterprise in the new digital era, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home and office, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktop and all-in-one PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia devices, wireless solutions, networking devices, tablets and smartphones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 4,256 awards in 2013 and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with its Eee PC™. ASUS has more than 12,500 employees around the globe with a world-class R&D team of 3,800 engineers. Company revenue for 2012 was approximately US$14 billion.

PR Contacts for North American Market:
Tammy Lin
Public Relations
Tammy.t_Lin@asus.com

Christine Yin
Public Relations
Christine_yin@asus.com

BMW Shows Off How you Remote Control the BMW I3 with a Galaxy Gear 2 / S smartwatch

By |November 5th, 2014|Companion |NFC, Smart Watches|

BMW Show off how you remote control the BMW i3 electric car with your Tizen Gear 2 / S Smartwatch

 

The car is not simply something that you sit in to get from A to B. Now it is technically an extension of you and integrates with your wrist. Previously we have shown you OnStar remote controlling a Chevrolet car, well now at IFA 2014 it was BMW’s turn to show off their BMW i3 electric car, and also show what Samsung Gear 2 and Gear S users could do with their Tizen based Smartwatches.

Samsung Gear S BMW i Remote IFA 2014 3

All you need to do is download and install the application that is compatible with the Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear S and potentially the Galaxy Gear, now you can begin remote controlling your car, presuming the car also has a data connection. For the Gear 2 / Gear 2 Neo you obviously need the device to be paired with a Smartphone for data, but the Samsung Gear S can use the 3G data capability of the built in SIM card slot and communicate directly with the car, bringing a new level of autonomous tech freedom to your wrist.

Samsung Gear S BMW i Remote IFA 2014 2

The BMW App shows you the cars battery level so you can judge when you need to top up your electric car, and also has a set of icons that lets you remotely lock or unlock the doors, control the windows, switch on or off the lights and even open the trunk!

When navigating you can select a contact from your wrist and have their address details beamed to the cars built in navigation system, making address input a less daunting task. Also locations for charging stations and virtually all of the features that can be found in mobile app for Android and iOS can be found in the watch app.

Samsung Gear S BMW i Remote IFA 2014 1

App availability is not known at the moment, but it is hoped that is happens soon after the Gear S launch. Can you see yourself controlling your car from your wrist?

Apple Watch on: Charging Retail Box, Water Resistance, Calls, Offline | MacRumors

By |October 23rd, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, News, Smart Watches|

While Apple announced the Apple Watch today at its special event, it didn’t go over all of the new device’s features, noting that the company has a lot more to share in the future. Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue has found out some of the details Apple didn’t share on stage.

applewatch
The watch is water resistant, allowing users to not worry about the device when in the rain, or washing hands. However, the watch must be taken off before going for a swim or taking a shower. Additionally, the watch includes a microphone that can allow users to make calls directly from their Apple Watch.

Users will also be able to load apps onto the Apple Watch from their iPhone. To rearrange the apps, users will have to hold their finger on an app’s icon and move it around, similar to how one rearranges icons on an iPhone. There’s also a “Ping My iPhone” feature, which will allow users to play a sound on their iPhone so they can locate it in case they have misplaced it.

Finally, Pogue explains that the Apple Watch Edition, the most high end of the Apple Watches, comes with a special box.

The fanciest model, the gold Apple [Watch] Edition, comes in a gorgeous jewelry box — which doubles as a charger. The back of the box has a Lightning connector, and the inside of the box has the watch’s magnetic round charger pad, standing vertically. So as you retire each night, you can just lay your gold watch into its case and let it charge.

Additionally, Re/code’s Ina Fried says that the offline abilities of the Apple Watch include Apple Pay, music via Bluetooth, activity tracking and some apps.

The Apple Watch will launch in early 2015 with its lowest end model costing $350.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Top 5 Most Purchased SmartWatch by Asian Markets

By |October 20th, 2014|Companion |NFC, Fitness Bands|

China’s smartphone makers are quickly taking interest in launching wearable companion device to keep track of notifications and even health. Over the past year we have seen hundreds of wearables, but these 5 are current the most popular.

What is wearable tech?

As the name suggests, wearable technology is the type that is attached to the body in some way. In this case we are focusing on watch style wearable devices, but we can also see smart glasses, and even clip on smart accessories too.  Wearable technology can be as simple as a companion to your smartphone with simple notifications, to all singing and dancing smart devices with built in cameras, and full Android operating systems.

5 Pieces of popular wearable tech from China that outperform Most Worldwide Competitors
and sales of each have verified each devices success

The following 5 pieces of wearable tech from China are all watch based, We plan to revisit wearable technology more often though so keep your eyes peeled for other accessories.

 

‘Mi Band’ by Xiaomi

xiaomi mi band hands on 1 5 Pieces of popular wearable tech from China

The most affordable wearable is also probably the most popular wearable too!
The Xiaomi MiBand is nothing more than a simple rubber wrist band with a tiny removable capsule where the magic happens.

Xiaomi’s first wearable is very basic in look, design and even function.

The lightweight rubber design couldn’t be simpler and makes for a comfortable and lightweight device. At the heart of the product is a small alloy and plastic body which has nothing more than 3 LED lights and socket for a special USB cable to connect for charging.

The Mi Band is designed as a easy to use health monitor. All it does it counts your steps and works out how many calories you burn a day (through the Mi Band App). The product is so simple that it doesn’t even have a watch feature!

The Mi Band has an amazing battery life of 30 days and costs a very reasonable 79 Yuan in China.

International customers can pick a Mi Band up for around
$21.99 from online resellers.

‘InWatch Z’ by Yao Industries, USA

inwatch z 5 Pieces of popular wearable tech from China

You might remember the InWatch Pi as the minimalist device that was announced during the Meizu MX4 launch, well the InWatch Z is a totally different device with more features and a designer closer to Android Wear smartwatches.

Unlike the Pi and the Mi Band, the InWatch Z does not actually need you to connect it to a smartphone, and can actually take the place of your Android phone in many ways.

InWatch have managed to squeeze a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, under the 1.63-inch 240 x 240 resolution touch screen, along with 1GB RAM and 8GB memory. Memory can be used to save photos taken with the built in camera, store apps downloaded from Google Play or even save contacts who you can call or email over 2G networks!

InWatch ]

‘Omate X’ by OMATE (SimValley,GE)

omate 2 5 Pieces of popular wearable tech from China

Start-up Omate are back again with their second generation Android smartwatch, the Omate X. The original Omate Truesmart was one of the first Android smartwatches to really capture the attention of Android fans and developers with some great hard wear and features.

The Omate X takes those features and fuses them in to a really stunning body make from alloy and with a leather strap. Where as the Truesmart was a Casio the X Omate X is heading toward Omega territory!

Features of the Omate X include a 7 date battery, and a Mediatek processor,and as it is based on a standard Android OS most of your favourite apps will work on it without issue.

The Omate X is quite affordable to at only $129!

Omate ]

‘W007’ Atongm SmartWatch

galaxy gear knock off 5 Pieces of popular wearable tech from China

The Atongm W007 is a Samsung Galaxy Gear wannabe, and a device which neatly sits between the basic Mi Band and feature rich Omate X.

Atongm have given their device a brushed metal body and simple LCD display which tougher give a nice minimalistic look and should give good battery life. The watch doesn’t use Android so you cannot load many apps on it, but it will sync to your phone to control music, act as a hands free kit for calls, track exercise and send you notifications when you get a message, or email.

There is also a built-in camera for those times you need to go undercover, and syncing is made easy with a specially designed Android .apk.

Pricing of the Atongm W007 is around $85.

‘TalkBand B1’ by Huawei

huawei talkband b1 1024x768 5 Pieces of popular wearable tech from China

Finally we have another sports band, this time from Huawei with a similar design to the Xiaomi Mi Band. Huawei actually unveiled the Talkband B1 at MWC, so quite sometime before the Mi Band launched, and although similar in design they are very different in the features they offer.

Again we are looking at the main heart of the product living inside a a comfortable rubber band. In there we have a 1.4 Inchi OLED display that can show notifications from your phone, incoming calls and fitness tracking.

What really sets the B1 apart is the fact that the screen can be pulled out of the band and plugged in to your ear as Bluetooth 4.1 earpiece for calls.

There is also NFC built in and the Huawei will work on both Android and iOS phones.

Pricing is around 99 Euros and you should be able to find the B1 in stores around Europe and Asia.

Microsoft SmartWatch Rumored to Launch in Weeks

By |October 19th, 2014|Companion |NFC, News, PRODUCT RUMORS|

A Samsung Gear S smart watch on display at a trade fair on September 5, 2014

(Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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Microsoft is gearing up to launch a wearable device within the next few weeks, Forbes has learned. The gadget is a smart watch that will passively track a wearer’s heart rate and work across different mobile platforms. It will also boast a battery life of more than two days of regular use, sources close to the project say.

That could put it ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch and Moto 360 which both need to be charged around once a day. The wearable will hit stores soon after launch in a bid to capture the lucrative holiday season, a timeline Apple was reportedly targeting before it delayed its own Watch to early 2015.

Forbes first reported in May that Microsoft was working on a smart watch that drew on optical engineering expertise from its Kinect division, and which would sync with iPhones, Android devices and Windows Phones. It is unclear what Microsoft will name the device, or what it will cost at retail.

A wearable would mark the company’s first foray into a new device category under CEO Satya Nadella. Wearable tech is still uncharted territory, despite offerings from Samsung and the forthcoming Apple Watch. It’s a market predicted to be worth $7.1 billion in 2015.

Going cross platform is also consistent with Nadella’s drive to make his company’s product offerings available “across all devices”. His launch of Microsoft Office for the iPad in March marked a move away from the company’s Windows-only vision under Steve Ballmer.

The latter strategy would probably be unwise today, now that Windows Phone has just 2.5% of the global smartphone market, according to IDC. On the upside, Microsoft can now target its wearable at more customers than the Apple Watch, which will only work with iOS devices.

With a battery that lasts more than two days, Microsoft could get a leg up on big-name competitors who have entered the wearables space. Battery life is frequently cited as one of most important factors that consumers consider when buying a smartphone, yet the topic was conspicuously glossed over at Apple’s Watch announcement last month. Apple CEO Tim Cook has since revealed the gadget will have to be charged every night, just like the Gear and Moto 360.

Motorola’s Moto 360 smart watch also has a continuous heart rate monitor and has been praised for its stylish design, but the battery tends to last for just 24 hours based on various reviews. Some wearables like the Pebble and Jawbone Up24 boast batteries that last for days or even weeks at a time, but that becomes impossible when a device features a color display like the Apple Watch or Gear.

When it comes to battery life, Microsoft may benefit from its historic expertise in software, allowing it to create sensor integrations that boost the device’s power train efficiency.

Microsoft’s history of launching new hardware is a mixed bag. Its Zune music player wasn’t the success it could have been, and prospects for its Surface tablet still look hazy. But when Microsoft introduced the Kinect for the Xbox 360 in 2011, it became the fastest-selling consumer device on record.

Microsoft’s legacy in machine learning through Microsoft Research could also point to a future business model for a health-tracking device — that is, if it chooses to exploit its close ties with enterprise customers. The company could, for example, promote its wearable gadget and any accompanying cloud-based software as a service for helping to cut healthcare costs, by tracking and incentivizing healthy behavior among workers.

Such “wellness” services are already being shopped by a host of health tracking startups like Pact Health, StickK, WellBe and Jiff, but larger tech firms have yet to jump into the market

Available Early 2015, Apple Announces Apple Watch at $349

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, Consumer Wearables, News, Outside Sources*, Smart Watches, SMARTWATCHES|

Apple Announces Apple Watch, Available in Early 2015 From $349

Apple today announced its long-rumored wearable device, the Apple Watch, which actually uses the Apple Symbol (APPL) followed by “Watch” in its name. Apple’s Watch is designed to be both fashionable and functional, available in an array of different color and materials with six different types of watch straps that are easily interchangeable. Prices for the device, which will be available in early 2015, start at $349.

There are six different Watch face colors and materials:

  • Stainless Steel, Silver Aluminum, 18-Karat Yellow Gold,

  • Space Black Stainless Steel, Space Gray Aluminum, and 18-Karat Rose Gold.

There’s the Apple Watch collection, which has stainless steel or space black stainless steel cases combined with a range of metal and leather bands, the Watch Sport collection, which includes anodized aluminum cases in silver or space gray with colorful, durable bands, and the Apple Watch Edition, which includes 18-karat gold cases in yellow or rose with “exquisitely crafted” bands and closures.

3 Apple Watch Collections: Apple Watch ORIGINAL, Apple Watch SPORT, Apple Watch EDITION

applewatch1
All of Apple’s Watches can be customized with an array of different digital watch faces to suit different tastes. Each of the watches is available in two separate screen sizes for different sized wrists: 38mm and 42mm, and the watches have a flexible, durable sapphire display.

Apple’s Watch uses unique input methods, taking advantage of the traditional watch dial or crown, which Apple refers to as a “digital crown” on the device. This scroll-type wheel allows users to zoom and scroll through various user interface elements.

The device also takes advantage of new pressure-sensing technology and is able to determine the difference between a tap and a press, allowing for a new range of contextually specific controls. A second physical button next to the digital crown lets users tap to bring up a list of contacts and then communicate with friends by sending quick drawings, messages, and animated emoji. It’s also possible to send a heart beat, drawn from the watch’s sensors.

Inside the device, there’s a new Taptic Engine that allows users to hear and feel the design of the user interface. According to Apple, users will be able to feel and respond to notifications “easily and intuitively” through the Taptic Engine.

applewatch4
A new custom designed chip, the S1 processor, integrates many subsystems into one singular module. The back of the watch is constructed from zirconia with four sapphire lenses that can detect pulse rate. There is also a gyroscope and accelerometer, which helps the Apple Watch provide a comprehensive picture of daily activity.

Apple’s charging solution: MagSafe Inductive Charging

The back of the device is also the home of Apple’s charging solution, which uses a MagSafe with inductive charging. The user will not have to worry about exposed contacts or aligning the charger properly. Apple has declined to comment on battery life at this point.

charging_large

Because it is a watch, the device is designed to keep accurate time, continually checking its internal clock against the definitive global time standard with the “precision found in GPS satellites.” Apple’s Watch is designed to improve the health and fitness of its users, and thus it is able to keep track of a variety of health metrics, accurately tracking movement and a wide range of activities. An included Activity App gives users an overview of their daily fitness levels, with three “rings” representing calories burned, exercise done, and how often a break has been taken from sitting.

There’s also a Workout App, which shows real-time stats like time, distance, calories, and pace when working out. It’s designed to encourage users to meet and beat goals, and over time, the Watch is said to be able to act as a personal trainer, suggesting new fitness goals.

watchactivityapp
Apple’s Watch will support third-party apps, with support for both extended notifications from the iPhone and apps that run directly on the device. The Watch does rely heavily on the iPhone and does not function as a standalone device as it is designed to work with Apple’s new Continuity features, letting users shift tasks from one device to another with ease.

The Apple Watch does include support for NFC, and it will function with Apple’s new payment initiative, Apple Pay, which lets users make secure payments from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, and Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch will be available starting at $349, with users able to purchase the device in early 2015.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

via Apple Announces Apple Watch, Available in Early 2015 From $349 – Mac Rumors.

Smartwatch Wars: The Apple Watch versus Android Wear, in screenshots

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, News, Outside Sources*, Smart Watches|

No one has really figured out what a smartwatch should look like yet, but one thing is for sure: Google and Apple have taken vasty different routes to getting a computer on your wrist. To show just how different, we put together this gallery of similar screens from the Apple Watch and Android Wear.

They should be easy enough to tell apart: the Apple Watch is the square one, while the Android Wear screenshots are all from the Moto 360 and therefore (mostly) round.

Android Wear Vs. Apple Watch   a ScreenShots Showdown

While we know just about everything there is to know about the Moto 360, the Apple Watch isn’t actually a released product yet, so we’re going off our best educated guess for some of these. We had to swipe pictures from Apple’s promotional images (which sadly weren’t a super-high resolution), and it was up to us to crop them into a “screenshot.”

Display Specifications – What are they?

Apple hasn’t released specs for the screen, and where exactly the bezel stops and starts in many of Apple’s promotional shots is up to interpretation. By our calculations, though, and by using enlightening images like this, it looks like the Apple Watch has a 4:5 aspect ratio.

The Watche’s Operating Systems

The watch OS (we don’t know the operating system’s name yet) usually has a black background picture on a black bezel, so to maximize screen space, Apple often puts UI elements right against the edge of the screen, allowing the bezel to act as the “padding” that would traditionally be in a well-designed interface.

Enlarge / Density.  Apple/Ron Amadeo

 

Information Density, What is it?

Of course one is round and one is square, but the biggest difference between the two platforms is information density. Google seems content with only a few lines of text OR one button per screen, while Apple seems to want to pack as much into a single screen as it can. It’s almost the complete opposite of what you would expect from the two companies: Google built an airy, picture-heavy OS, while Apple built a more powerful, denser OS with an all-black motif.

Fitt’s Law in Full Effect

Fitt’s law is in full effect here. Google’s huge one-per-screen buttons will be easier to hit in a hurry, but getting to the one you want will require more scrolling. Apple doesn’t require as much scrolling, but tapping the smaller buttons will take more aim and care.

The APPLE WATCH OS

Apple’s watch OS is so dense it has added a side-mounted jog dial (a “digital crown” in Apple-speak), which will let you “tab” through screen options. This means targets don’t need to be large enough for touch, and allows users to interact with the screen without covering it. Ironically, smartphone Android supports touchscreens, d-pads, keyboards, mice, trackballs, video game controllers, and nearly every input method on Earth, but none of that made it to Android Wear, which only supports a touchscreen.

More App-Centric Approach

Apple is also taking a much more app-centric approach, putting apps on the main screen, just like on a smartphone. Google’s watch OS is primarily notification driven, with the “app drawer” buried several screens deep into the OS, or hidden behind a verbal “start [app name].”

Apple rarely demoed voice commands—all of its apps and features seem usable with tap or jog dial input—while Android Wear depends on voice input for many features.

Apple Collect Fee's from Banks for Each Purchase Made with Apple Pay

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, News, Outside Sources*|

 

Apple will collect a fee from banks every time consumers use the company’s new Apple Pay payments solution, reports Bloomberg. Citing three individuals close to the matter, the report notes that Apple struck individual deals with each bank it has partnered with. Those banks include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and more.

While that gives the tech company a share of the more than $40 billion that banks generate annually from so-called swipe fees, lenders expect to benefit as consumers spend more of their money via mobile phones and other digital devices, the person said.

The sources cited did not specify the exact size of the fee, noting that it could vary or be tied to the value of the purchases made by the consumer. During its announcement today, Apple stated that Apple Pay would be enabled at over 220,000 U.S. merchants including McDonalds, Macy’s, Walgreens, Nike, and more. Apple Pay will also be compatible with American Express, Mastercard, and Visa credit and debit cards.

Apple Pay utilizes the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a new “Secure Element” functionality, and the NFC antenna on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in conjunction with a credit card stored on iTunes to make payments. Apple Pay will also be compatible with the Apple Watch when it launches early next year.

Apple to Collect Fee From Banks for Every Purchase Made with Apple Pay – Mac Rumors.

Apple Pay Security using Skin Contact on Apple Watch

By |September 11th, 2014|Apple, Companion |NFC, Consumer Wearables, Fitness Bands, News, Outside Sources*|

When Apple announced that the Apple Watch would be able to use Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payment initiative, many wondered how secure the payments would be if the device lacked the security of Touch ID, which is used in the iPhone 6’s implementation. Now, several members of the press have confirmed how the system works.

Both Rene Ritchie of iMore and Cult of Mac report that when a user first puts on the Watch they must type in a PIN code to authorize Apple Pay. Once it’s on, the Watch uses constant skin contact, which it can sense using the four sapphire-covered lenses on the underside of the device, to authorize payments. However, once the device is removed from a user’s wrist, they must re-enter their PIN when putting the device back on their wrist.

Thanks to sensors on the Apple Watch’s back, the device can tell when it’s being worn and when it has been taken off. When you first put the watch on, you must enter a code. When the watch is removed from your wrist, the watch locks itself and can’t be used for payments unless the code is entered again.

MasterCard’s mobile payment executive Ed McLaughlin also told Re/code that the Watch would use the four sensors on the back of the device as a security measure, while Visa CEO Charlie Scharf said that Apple understood the risks of contactless payments and has a solution.

The Apple Watch is due to arrive in early 2015 and will start at $350.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

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Asustek confirms voice control, price band of Android Wear watch | Tech | FOCUS TAIWAN

By |August 28th, 2014|Companion |NFC, News, PRODUCT RUMORS, Smart Watches, SMARTWATCHES, WEARABLE DEVICES|

Asustek confirms voice control, price band of Android Wear watch

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2014/08/28 16:15:37

Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. confirmed Thursday that its upcoming ZenWatch — a smartwatch powered by Google Inc.’s Android Wear system — will come with a voice recognition feature and an under-US$199 price band.

Asustek CEO, Jerry Shen, told a media briefing that the ZenWatch, which is due for launch Sept. 3 in Germany ahead of the IFA electronics trade show, will initially pack English-enabled voice recognition when it goes on sale in October.

Chinese language support for the watch’s voice control is expected to be released by the end of this year, depending on Asustek’s third-party developer of the feature, Shen said.

The smartwatch will have only one size and will cost less than US$199 when it hits stores in the United States and other selected markets from October, he added.

The ZenWatch can be used alone or paired with Android phones, including Asustek’s low-cost ZenFone models, to enable more functions, Shen told reporters without elaborating.

In early August, Asustek claimed that its smartwatch had been “well-received” by Google, which selected Asustek as one of its hardware partners for the Android Wear initiative in March, as the new watch looks better than competitors’ products but comes with a relatively low price tag.

Android Wear is a version of Google’s popular Android operating system and is designed specifically for wearable devices. The U.S. search giant said it is working with several hardware manufacturers and chipmakers to build new devices based on Android Wear.

(By Jeffrey Wu)

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