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Google building two Android Wear Smartwatches integrating Google Assistant

By |July 7th, 2016|PRODUCT RUMORS, Smart Watches, SMARTWATCHES|

Speaking to Android Police, a reliable source has told us that Google is currently building two Android Wear devices – possibly Nexus-branded – for release some time after the latest Nexus phones are announced. One watch will be larger, sportier, and more fully-featured (LTE, GPS, heart rate), the other will be smaller and lack the aforementioned mobile data and GPS.

This rumor a confidence level of 9 out of 10;We are extremely confident Google is in the process of prototyping these in-house Wear devices, and have confirmation of their existence from multiple sources. We are subtracting a point from our confidence because of the ongoing development occurring for these devices, and the possibility that they may change or that one or both may be cancelled (or delayed), as well as the fact that we are unable to share our primary source information for this post.

There also remains some ambiguity about the codenames I will use for these watches, and whether or not these names are currently being used, so consider them nothing more than easy ways to refer back to either device at this point.

The evidence

As I said, we are unable to share any direct evidence of the existence of these devices at this time. However, because of the quality of our source, we feel confident in publishing information about these devices, including descriptions of their respective appearances. To ensure we are clear on one thing before we start: the hero image of this post is 100% a fabrication [hopefully obviously, because my talentless ass made it] and has no resemblance to either watch. So, let’s get started.

Both watches have full circular displays. We do not believe either will have “flat tires.” Let’s start with the larger watch, which we believe to be codenamed Angelfish.

Angelfish bears some resemblance to the current Moto 360 and LG’s Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, but is distinct from both. The design has visible lugs, with a smooth housing shape that curves where the watch band meets the body. It does not have the stark circular “puck” shape of Motorola’s 360, nor the rather angular lugs or multi-piece design of the Urbane LTE. This gives the watch a subdued but sporty look. Angelfish has three buttons. Looking at the watch face, one large circular crown button is centered along the right side of the body, with two smaller and shorter circular buttons above and below it. It is unclear what these secondary buttons are for at this time, though you are free to imagine the possibilities.

Angelfish is quite thick, at over 14mm in cross-section (around the same as the Urbane LTE), likely owing to a larger battery necessitated by its LTE-ready chipset. The watch’s diameter is allegedly 43.5mm, making it substantially smaller than the “large” 46mm Moto 360, but still a bit bigger than the standard 42mm edition. We believe it will come in a matte dark gray finish that may be called “titanium,” but it’s unclear if other colors will be available. Angelfish will have GPS, LTE, and a heart-rate monitor, giving it the ability to be a true “standalone” Android Wear device. Remember,Google announced standalone Wear apps at I/O with with Wear 2.0.

The second, smaller watch is codenamedSwordfish. Speaking generally, Swordfish is reminiscent in basic shape to the Pebble Time Round, of course lacking the Round’s obviously massive screen bezel, and also using a different button arrangement. But the overall style of the body and especially the lug design are, in my opinion, quite similar. That said, because it doesn’t have the internal screen bezel, the portion of the body surrounding the watch face is larger, and the shape is more gentle and rounded than the Pebble.

Swordfish has a single button centered on the right-hand side of the body, with a more delicate and Apple Watch-like design. The center of the button cap appears to be polished metal, with the bezel of the crown being ridged. Aside from appearing more “raised” out of the body because of the watch’s circular shape, the button really is quite similar to the Apple Watch’s crown. Swordfish is smaller and thinner than Angelfish, with a body diameter of 42mm and a thickness of just 10.6mm – 0.8mm thinner than the current Moto 360. Granted, it still doesn’t have anything on the 7.5mm Pebble Time Round in this regard. Swordfish will allegedly be made available in three colors: silver, titanium, and rose gold. Swordfish lacks LTE or GPS, and it’s unclear if it has a heart rate monitor (we are leaning “no”).

It appears that, oddly, the larger Angelfish device will not support Google’s interchangeable MODE watch bands, because the design of the lugs and band won’t allow for it. Swordfish, on the other hand, will definitely be compatible with MODE bands.

Both watches will offer Google Assistant integration with contextual alerts. Exactly what that integration entails, we aren’t certain, but given Sundar Pichai’s comments about Nexus devices receiving more exclusive software features, we’re left wondering if these watches will get functionality other Android Wear devices won’t.

Google may also be working on a brand-new style of watch faces for these devices that will allowmuch quicker access to notifications, information, or media controls for apps or functions that you commonly use. This will likely be via the new app watchface integration announced as part of Wear 2.0. These quick-access functions would sit below the watch dial, presenting things like your current playback location in a song, the number of unread messages in Gmail, Hangouts unread counts, time in another time zone, the amount of time until your next calendar appointment, your number of steps, and more.

ZTE Axon Watch does a pretty good Android Wear impression

By |May 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|

https://youtu.be/yWqKGiKD6NI

Omate Rise – World’s First Smartwatch 3.0

By |May 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|

The World’s 1st Standalone SmartWatch available to Consumers

The History of Omate

Since 2013, Omate has been designing innovative wearable technologies that have been shipped out all over the World, from the World’s first standalone Smartwatch 2.0 powered by Android™ to fashion companion smartwatches and refined smart jewelry.³

Firstly, the company was founded in Europe, Germany under the brand SIMValley. The founder and chief executive is Laurent Le Pen – (Video below: a Keynote by Laurent Le Pen):

…and co-founders….——.

The European SIM Valley smartwatch was the precursor to the TrueSmart; built off same molds, parts, software.  Aside other crowdfunded smartwatches kicking-off like The Pebble (on indiegogo), SIMValley re-branded as ‘Omate TrueSmart‘ on KickStarter and blew their goals sky high.

Omate launched a Kickstarter campaign on August 21, 2013, with an initial fundraising target of $100,000. Backers spending $199 would receive an Omate TrueSmart when they became available ($179 for the first 500 backers and $189 for the next 500 backers). The project had met the $100,000 goal in half a day.[6] Just before the end of the campaign, over $1 million was reached. [Wikipedia]

Omate #1 Leader in Standalone SmartWatches

Omate, since day one, has lead the market on Standalone, GSM, and SIM enabled Smartwatch Technologies since mid to late 2012.  The smart device race began in early 2013 with the introduction of crowdfunding along with Google’s Glass project, rumors.  A focus on Bluetooth campanion, smartphone tethered, fitness trackers (for example, The Pebble), left a money-devouring niche for the next 4 years: Data Independent Wearables.

 Our predictions, use cases, forecasts [Wearables Group] came to conclusion for mass adoption (ex; tablets), a practical wearable device with standalone GSM, Wifi, voice control, automation, faster nanotechnology,  smaller components, and finally – the key – seamlessly data driven capabilities; then would the “Smart Watch” reach its first mass consumerism benchmark.

Introducing the Omate Rise™Omate Banner

 

The Rise is a revolutionary Smartwatch 3.0: a merger of both Bluetooth® Low Energy Companion and 3G Standalone Smartwatch.

Leave your phone behind

As an unlocked standalone smartwatch, the Omate Rise is more than just a Bluetooth® accessory as it can also connect to the 3G network. With the Omate Rise, you can track fitness, call, receive text messages, emails, social media notifications and run apps and other Internet tasks without needing to pair with your smartphone or be connected to Wi-Fi.

Exquisite Circular form-factor

The Omate Rise features unmatched technologies with Android™ 5.1 Lollipop, 3G connectivity compatible with US (1900MHz) and EU (2100MHz) frequencies, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® Low Energy capable to connect both iPhone and Android smartphones via dedicated apps.

Design & Engineered always to perfection

  • 3G, Dual-core @ 1.2Ghz
  • ARM Cortex-A7 processor
  • ARM Mali-400 MP GPU.
  • Capacitive Touch Panel
  • 1.3”Innolux – full round display
  • Resolution of 360 X 360

Comparison chart to competitors

Omate Rise Comparison

The Omate Rise runs on full AndroidTM 5.1 Lollipop and Omate User Interface 4.0. Omate will release the Source Code of the Rise to developers via its XDA-Developers page alike the TrueSmart+ Source Code that is now available for the Developer Community.

The Omate User Interface 4.0 (OUI4.0)

About Omate: 

Omate® is a hardware and software company that designs wearable fashion tech products. Omate is a 500startups backed company that operates as a vertically integrated wearable tech design manufacturer based in Mountain View – California and Shenzhen – China.

Omate offers a complete turnkey solution platform allowing fashion, watch and jewelry brands to design the wearable tech of the 21st century “Powered by Omate”.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Will Dominate The Smart Watch Market In 2015!

By |January 11th, 2015|Apple, Market Data|

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stunned the world once again on September 9 by launching its newest product, the Apple Watch.

This is the Cupertino-based giant’s newest addition to its product line-up since 2009, when the first Apple iPad was announced. As expected, the Apple Watch boasted some interesting features such as the digital crown and various health and fitness monitoring capabilities. The arrival of the Apple in the wearable device shipments category has re-ignited the fledgling smart-watch market, where shipments have already risen by 684% in the first half of 2014.

The Apple watch is all set to hit retail stores worldwide starting from 2015, and is already expected to dominate the market.

apple_tim-cook-one-more-thing

Market Research Analyst firm Canalys has predicted that Apple will effectively dominate the smart-watch market in 2015. However, it would be smart bands that would lead the wearable market, atleast for next two years. Shipments of wearable band will grow 129% Y-O-Y, to sell a total of 43.2 million units in 2015.

Of these, 28.2 million sold will be smart-bands, while 15 million units will be basic bands.
Currently, the leaders in this segment are Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. (KRX:005930) , Jawbone and a host of other players  such as Motorola, LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570) and Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE).

 

Why Would Customers Want  A Smart Band?

The new range of smart-watch devices have been greeted with much skepticism by consumers. Several vendors have offered no solid reason why a customer would ever need one.   Although wearable technology such as Google Glass, fitness bands, and health monitors already exist,  these are still early days for wearable technology as no one has figured out what they are truly meant for.

worldwide smart band shipments forecasts 2014 2015

Sensing the mood, Apple has tried to spark interest through health, fitness, navigation applications as well as workout, activity tracking and mobile payments. But the company is intelligently trying to satisfy two markets by loading features of a smart band and smart watch in one device, Apple Watch.

The other players in the market, meanwhile, such as Xiaomi have already unleashed a price war by launching basic bands such as the Mi band at a jaw dropping price of US $13.
Google too, has pitched Android Wear as a practical ecosystem to compete with Apple Watch.

The long term vision of all these device makers will be to extend the capabilities of smartphones, and offer clear value to customers who will be looking to prove the purchase of yet another connected product.

Apple Smart-Watch Expected To Dominate Market Next Year

Apple’s arrival in this field is extremely significant for good reasons. After pioneering the MP3 player, smartphone and tablet devices, there is immense pressure on the company to repeat the same with smart-watches. With a high price tag of US$349, the device will appeal to initial consumers with plenty of disposable income. Just as with smartphones and tablets, this will create an opening where cheaper and better products will soon enter the market, thus turning smart-watches into everyday mainstream products. Canalys analyst Daniel Matte explained the reason why is Apple’s smart-watch the clear winner among all other brands.

        ‘By creating a new user interface tailored to its tiny display, Apple has a produced a smart watch that mass-market consumers will actually want to wear. The sleek software, variety of designs and reasonable entry price make for a compelling new product.

Apple must still prove, however, that the product will deliver adequate battery life for consumers.”

Disruptions Will Affect Apple’s Performance Quickly

Apple may have the upper hand initially, but just as with smartphones and tablets the market is prone to several disruptions. As Apple is trying to satisfy two different breeds of hand-wearable device – Smart band and Smart Watch – Fitbit and Jawbone will have the advantage of low-priced products in the near-future, but competition is sure to escalate.

This will in turn push the prices of smart-bands even further down, and match the prices of basic bands.

With the market poised to grow to 373 million units by 2020, this is a segment with enormous opportunity. The current trends bear characteristics similar to the feature phone market, which was several disrupted when smartphones began to appear.

apple-watch

Apple still has plenty of opportunities ahead in the coming months with the release of the iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 plus.  Million of units of both devices are expected to be shipped worldwide and trigger Apple’s biggest iPhone upgrade cycle.

If the iPhone 6 Can Do It – So Can Apple Watch!

If the Apple Watch can match the iPhone’s success, the company will have transformed the world once again.  For now, though, Apple’s Watch has been criticized for being overpriced and under-innovative, but it has undoubtedly re-ignited interest in a device that has long been considered obsolete.However, it would be also interesting to see how Apple could kill two birds with one stone!

 

READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE AND AUTHORS BY FOLLOWING THE LINK BELOW…


Apple Inc. (AAPL) Will Dominate The Smart Watch Market In 2015!

Apple Watch helps to Grow Demand for all SmartWatches [MarketWatch.com]

By |December 5th, 2014|Apple, Charts & Graphs, Consumer Wearables, Market Data, Outside Sources*, REPORTS & ANALYSIS, Sample Reports|

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) – For a product that so far has no price tag, no confirmed release date and is still awaiting federal authorization before it can go on sale, the Apple Watch is already considered by many to be redefining the nascent smartwatch market.

Apple Watch is already considered by many to be redefining the nascent Smartwatch market.

And Apple’s AAPL, -0.38% decision to get into the smartwatch sector is enough to make consumers consider buying a smartwatch of any kind, according to research from UBS analyst Steven Milunovich.

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On Monday, Milunovich said that a UBS study based on 4,000 respondents showed that 10% of those surveyed said they were “very likely” to buy a smartwatch over the next 12 months. Milunovich also said that about two-thirds of those who said they were likely to buy a smartwatch would be making the purchase in addition to, rather than in place of, a traditional watch.

The worldwide smartwatch market is relatively small, and generated $700 million on sales of just 3.1 million such timepieces in 2013, according to Milunovich, who included FitBands with displays as part of the sales figures.

The top-selling smartwatch last year was the Galaxy Gear from Samsung, with 800,000 units sold and a 34% market share.

Milunovich reiterated that he estimates Apple will sell 24 million Apple Watches during the first nine months that the devices are on sale, a figure that is based on the possibility that 10% of current iPhone owners will buy one of the new gadgets. Apple Watch owners will also need an iPhone 5 or later phone in order to access all of the Apple Watch’s capabilities.

“Apple can’t afford to have a poor consumer experience with version one of any product,” Milunovich said. “The question is whether the first version will be sufficient to create substantial [consumer] demand.”

Milunovich, who has a buy rating and $125-a-share price target on Apple’s stock, estimates that the average selling price of the Apple Watch will be about $420 per device, and that Apple could grow sales of the Apple Watch to almost 68 million units by 2018.

Apple shares were off by almost 3% at $115.38 in late trading Monday.

Sony's New e-Paper based Smartwatch is the FES WATCH

By |December 1st, 2014|Consumer Wearables, News, Smart Watches, SMARTWATCHES|

FEZ Fashion EntertainmentsTwo days ago, we heard of Sony’s plans to build a watch made entirely of e-paper — one where the band and the watch face would both change in response to the user’s wrist gestures. It sounded wild and provocatively different, but what we really wanted to know was what it looked like. As it turns out, that watch is already in the public eye, though Sony’s involvement had until now been kept clandestine so as to judge the product on its own merits.

Say hello to the FES Watch.

 

feswatch.0.0

 

 

FES Watch Hands-On

 

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Fashion Entertainments startup behind that crowdfunded watch is in fact a subdivision of Sony, tasked with designing and experimenting with products that can define the next evolution in personal electronic devices.

The watch is extremely thin and makes no pretense of being smart, relying on the chameleonic flexibility of its appearance and a clean minimalist shape to win over fans. Because it has no sophisticated electronics inside, it’s also said to last as long as 60 days on a single button battery.

 

Sony isn’t limiting the usage of e-paper to Smartwatches. The Japanese company is experimenting with bow ties, paper holders, and more (see videos below).

Coming back to the FES Watch, the gadget doesn’t have a definite release date as of yet.  However, the crowdfunded project, hosted on Japanese crowdfunding platform ‘Makuake‘, says that the watch will be available around May 2015.

What makes the perfect smartwatch?

By |November 29th, 2014|StartUps|

What makes the perfect smartwatch?

Cooking up the right smartwatch ingredients, with help from some industry bigwigs

What makes the perfect smartwatch?

There have been many false dawns in the past but we should look back on 2014 as the year that the smartwatch turned up for good. That said, with the most popular smartwatch, the Pebble, selling somewhere around 300,000 units, this branch of wearable tech hasn’t exactly gone mass market….yet.

At Wareable, we’ve been wondering what it’s going to take for these devices to reach that critical mass, so we called in the experts for their opinions. We put it to traditional watchmakers, fashion designers and CEOs of wearable tech companies both big and small. In their words, the perfect smartwatch should be…

…independent (of your mobile)

best smartwatch 2015

“Current smartwatches and many other wearable devices represent an amazing step forward in innovation, yet still they do not achieve a unique level of value in most cases and often duplicate functions and capabilities that are already available via smartphone. Among several factors, they will need to provide the user with valuable information when not tethered to a smartphone; they will need to be smarter and more capable of providing the right information at the right time; and they will need to have new means of charging and staying charged as nobody wants to carry another charging cord. Ultimately, they will also need more unique innovations to differentiate their functionality from other devices and become an essential part of everyday life.”

Steven Holmes, Intel VP, specialist in wearables, key player in creation of Nike+ FuelBand

…made from authentic materials

“Things like aluminium, leather and glass; I think they just feel good. They have a tactile sense to them. They have a heritage that is meaningful and real. There are stories about these things which are much more interesting than cheap plastic. Your Cartier is probably not made of plastic. If you’re going to use plastic, then go all the way and have fun with it. Go with neon green or something. Just don’t try to be elegant and sleek with it. You can’t. For my perfect smartwatch, I would not want it to be plastic. I just don’t like plastic stuff.”

Sonny Vu, CEO and president of Misfit Wearables, creator of the Shine

…beautiful

Perfect smartwatch

“I haven’t identified a very compelling use for the existing functions of a smartwatch. If it wants to sell, it has to look absolutely gorgeous. That’s why there’s this exceptional interest in the Moto 360. I think it’s solely because of the way they’ve designed it. Until we see a really unique and compelling feature, I think, for now, aesthetics is what counts.”

Edward Tiong, co-founder of Ring Theory, creator of the Sesame Ring

“It should be a watch I could fall in love with and wear all the time – even if it wasn’t working.”

Sonny Vu

…a luxury

 

“A wrist should be reserved for a nice watch. Thegreat thing is that you can have a real luxury. It’s an acceptable form of jewellery for a man anywhere in the world. Take that away and a man is really restricting himself in showing who he is and what he is.

“It’s like putting on handmade shoes or a Savile Row suit. It distinguishes a person. Watchmaking, at this level, over many year, is very specialised and steeped in tradition. It’s not only about the styling and aesthetics but it’s about the mechanics of a watch. Personally, I think trying to add an app would just water that down.”

Roger W Smith, master watchmaker, creator of luxury watches

…kept simple

“Let’s not try to squeeze all this information onto a small space. Stop thinking about always redoing things. The iPhone has really a beautiful user-interface. It’s useless to squeeze it in and do it worse.”

Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings, creator of the Pulse and Activité

“All smart wearable devices have to be, in some sense, invisible. You should not be burdened by carrying an extra thing around with you and it should be very natural to how you already act as a human being. It should be able to make a human better at something they already do; an augmented human being.”

Olivia Seow, co-founder of Ring Theory, creator of the Sesame Ring

…more fashionable and more feminine

“Mostly, the problem is that they’re just not very fashionable. They don’t make them desirable enough with their moulded plastic models. That’s what’s happening. They sit round in focus groups and ask people, especially women, if they’d wear them. They might say ‘yes’ but the reality is that most women won’t. Smartwatches are just not a feminine product. At the moment, they’re more of product for a gentleman that’s on the geeky side and that’s not into fashion and wants to go to the gym to wear this.”

“There is a difference between something that you can only wear when you go to the gym and something that becomes part of your daily wardrobe and becomes a statement about who you are. Because, if you think in terms of fashion, every piece of clothing you wear is a statement about who you are as a person. It reflects your identity.”

Francesca Rosella, creative director at CuteCircuit, the leading fashion designer of wearable tech clothing

…made with an analogue face

“I think the analogue face we’ve chosen is a very strong expectation. It’s still here for a reason. Having an analogue display, there are a lot of studies on it and it’s a very intriguing way to provide information. When you read time on an analogue face and hands, it does not use the same brain parts. It uses the intuitive parts. You do not have to quantify it. Your brain has already understood it and that’s what we wanted to leverage.”

Cédric Hutchings

…self-charging or no charging at all

“Certainly I would never want to charge it. I’ve never had to charge my watch before so that would definitely be a feature that’s a detriment; an anti-feature.”

Sonny Vu

“If possible, it should be self-charging without using a battery source; mechanical power or kinetic power; not something that takes up an extra 10 minutes at the end of the day – taking it off, plugging it into your computer, charging it up, checking notifications. It would be too much of a hassle.”

Olivia Seow

…8mm thick at the most

Perfect smartwatch

“I also would not want it to be really thick. Some people like thick watches. I like thin; nothing more than 10mm at most. Actually, that’s pretty thick; 8mm. That’s really hard though. Every millimetre you shave off is painful. It’s so hard.”

Sonny Vu

…not your smartphone on your wrist

“I think some of them are interesting and others are just like trying to duplicate your smartphone screen. I don’t think that model is successful. You need to have the ‘I have to go back home’ factor; if I leave it at home, I cannot survive today. I don’t think that the idea of going back for something with the same information I could get on my smartphone screen makes sense.”

Francesca Rosella

…an open platform

“The way I see wearable tech – and the way we’re going to be delivering our wearable tech – is to make it open source. A lot of things at the moment are very closed off. They’re very big data driven to try and get all your vital stats so they can build on it as a company and gain all that data control. We believe, slightly differently, that it’s actually the people that are going to lead this trend of wearable technology to a degree, and they’re going to want to. So, we should be opening these devices up to them and letting people build on the platform.

“Otherwise, it’s only as smart as your team is. At the end of the day, we’ve got 10 people working full time and we can’t think of everything. Whereas if you have 1,000 people round the world building software, using the product; you’ll get a lot further.”

Simon Weatherall, founder of Glowfaster smart clothing

…more than just a smartphone companion

Best smartwatch 2015

“I would love to be able to get rid of all my credit cards and just be able to swipe my watch. I would like it to be able to open my doors and control my temperature in my house because it knows how warm I am and the ambient temperature and it tells my Nest want to do. That’s already possible.”

Sonny Vu

…nothing to do with photography

“I think the pictures are a waste of time. It’s too clunky, and you can’t see what’s in the frame as easily on a watch.”

Simon Weatherall

…lots of different watches

“There is such a variety of watches that it would be hard to call the perfect watch. I don’t think they’ll be made in only one way. It would be very hard to make the perfect watch that would appeal to everybody.”

Cedric Hutchings

…first and foremost a watch

Perfect smartwatch

“There will be smartwatches but there will be watches that become smart. You will see a lot more classical approaches to watch design, and then they will make those smart, but they won’t look like what you see as smartwatches now. I don’t think smartwatches in the future will look like anything what we see now.

Sonny Vu

 

What makes the perfect smartwatch?.

Kickstarter uncovered: tech start-up mecca or wild west of hopeless dreams?

By |November 29th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Kickstarter uncovered: tech start-up mecca or wild west of hopeless dreams?.

Wearables and Kickstarter go hand in hand. Think of the world’s biggest crowdfunding website’s success stories and it’s the likes of the Mio Alpha heart rate monitor and Pebble smartwatch that spring to mind.

The former was one of the fastest ever to reach its target and Pebble still rates as the second largest completed Kickstarter project of all time, backed by a total of 68,929 enthusiasts to the tune of over $10 millon.

Head over to the site now and you’ll see over 100 wearable prototypes vying for your support. So, go for it. Be an early adopter. You have nothing to lose – except your money.

Hang on – nothing to lose?

Kickstarter presents a win-win situation for both the creators and backers. When you make a pledge, you’re not actually handing over your hard earned money. You’re just promising to do so if said concept reaches its target investment within the time allotted.

So, if the idea doesn’t capture the imaginations of enough punters, then you don’t lose out and nor does anybody else. The creator walks away disappointed but more realistic about the potential commercial success of their brainchild in time for them to have not given up their day job.

The danger comes when a project actually makes it. At this point, Kickstarter offers backers no protection. If the project never delivers, despite the cash injection, then it’s tough luck. Fortunately, there are a few systems in place to prevent that happening right at the beginning of the funding campaign. It’s credit to Kickstarter that they’re in place and that they seem to be working pretty well too.

Potential pirates?

Any project involving a piece of hardware requires a physical prototype and a realistic manufacture schedule in order to get accepted. So, that makes it tricky for the dreamers, the jokers and the pragmatically inept to bleed you dry. Seekers are also required to describe the risks and challenges to help precipitate any problems before they occur.

Kickstarter checks each project before it goes live and responds to concerns from the community throughout the fund raising. The iFind item locator, for example, certainly looked like a good idea; the trouble was that there was no working prototype to back it up. It also relied on harvesting electromagenitc signals from the environment to keep it charged; a technology that’s wonderful in theory but just nowhere near energy efficient enough to power permanent wireless communication. iFind raised over $500,000 before it was suspended.

More importantly, Kickstarter also keeps an eye out for projects that appear to be fraudulent, i.e folk who have no intention of ever making or delivering their purported dream devices. The eye3 drone was pulled back in 2012 after the site found that the images used were, in fact, photoshopped versions of an already-available RC helicopter called the Xaircraft. The creators were trying to put together helicopter kit pieces from specialist website cnchelicopter.com and pass them off as something of their own. Further investigation also showed that eye3’s founders had already done a runner with the money from a different, non-Kickstarter project in the past.

There be danger on the crowdfunding seas

In both of these cases, because none of the suspicious projects ever made it past Kickstarter’s filters for long enough, the optimistic backers were never charged. In fact, according to a University of Pennsylvania study on Kickstarter, in 2012 only 14 out of 387 projects successfully funded up until that point had actually failed. That gave a 3.6% chance of losing your money if something you’ve backed meets its target. Even then, Kickstarter warns the creators that they might be sued by the backers in such a circumstance, although that’s yet to happen.

The story, however, is a rather different one the second biggest crowdfunding site on the internet. Indiegogo gives the creator a choice to keep all of whatever’s been raised regardless. What would you do?

Fortunately, there are projects doing the decent thing. Take Canonical, parent company of popular Linux OS Ubuntu. It held what’s know as a ‘fixed funding’ campaign to build a phone that could double as a desktop machine when docked. It was a decent idea but it only managed to gather about half of its $32 million funding before time ran out.

Cynically, one might argue that it would have been a PR disaster if a company that promotes free, open-source software had chosen to keep what it had amassed but, either, way Canonical gave all the pledges back. More likely, however, is what seems to be happening with the Healbe GoBe.

Healbe coming round the mountain at some point, hopefully

Healbe has been raising money as part of a ‘flexible funding’ campaign; one where the project rakes it in whether the target is met or not, minus Indiegogo’s 9% fee. The company claims that its GoBe device is the first and only wearable that can automatically measure your calorie intake and burn by simply looking at your skin.

Just as optical heart rate monitors work, Healbe FLOW technology is said to combine measurements of blood pressure and impedance to get readings of your metabolic rate. That makes a bracelet that knows exactly what you’ve eaten and how much of it you’ve worked off without you having to manually log so much as a glass of water. It’s the god particle of the fitness tracker universe piece in the fitness tracker puzzle. The only trouble is that it’s completely impossible.

All the same, that hasn’t stopped a rush to back this wearable and the Russian company from raising over $1m, 10 times more than it was looking for. Despite some excellent investigative work by website PandoDaily during the fundraising period, Indiegogo decided against killing the highly unlikely sounding technology project, stating its neutrality as a web service.

With the campaign now completed, the original August 2014 shipping date of the GoBe has predictably been delayed with 22 September the next promise. We’re not holding our breath.

Indiegogo claims to have a “comprehensive fraud-prevention system to protect our users” according to its terms of use. Sadly the subsequent statement that “all campaigns and contributions go through a fraud review, which allows us to catch any and all cases of fraud” was removed in the wake of complaints about Healbe. Go figure.

Meteor crash

Even when backers of crowdfunded projects do receive their goods, the story doesn’t always work out well. The much-anticipated Kreyos Meteor smartwatch has recently started arriving on people’s doorsteps after its $1.5m campaign came to a close just over a year ago.

The device promised full voice and gesture control as well as heart-monitoring and activity tracking all on iOS, Android and Windows Phone too. What turned up seems to be a shonky, cobbled together piece of plastic and circuitry with terrible battery issues, faulty firmware, semi-existent app support and none of the advertised waterproofing – and that’s if you’re lucky.

For others it’s been simply dead on arrival. The Kreyos Facebook page is plastered with an aggregate of negative review and vitriol from angry backers and none of this was helped with the publishing of photos on social media of Kreyos CEO Steve Tan pictured driving a Ferrari and crouched grinning ear to ear in a pile of designer bags after an apparent shopping spree in Italy.

To do Kreyos and Tan its dues, those images were snapped in 2010, two years before the company or campaign ever existed, and members of the team have been working hard to not only push out firmware updates but also reply to every single one of the those Facebook comments.

Still, on the surface there seems no excuse for shipping such a turkey when the funding brought in 10 times the amount request in the first place. The whole operation looks shoddily managed at best and is hardly an ideal advert for crowdfunding.

Victims of their own success

But then there is an obvious problem with some of these projects. They can become victims of their own success. If your initial target gets smashed by 50 times the amount you were expecting, then that could be the difference between creating a few hundred products and tens of thousands of them. Suddenly knocking gadgets out from your garden shed might not be realistic and so the cascade of logistical delays begins.

That’s one of the issues sited by Jerry O’Leary, the Chicago based Brit behind the world’s thinnest watch, the CST-01. The over-successful Kickstarter venture for this 6g, 0.9mm timepiece concluded with excess of 7,000 backers to supply. The estimated delivery time was originally marked down as March 2013. Sixteen months later and the watch has yet to materialise.

In many ways, it’s not really fair for the creators to be put in this position. They’re nailed down to a launch date by their crowdfunding service of choice even though it’s impossible to tell what the future holds in terms of budget, scale and production complications. It’s not surprising that creating a realistic schedule seems so hard to achieve.

It’s also important to remember that the imaginative minds behind these ideas are less likely to be experts in management and operations. And so there rolls in a classic dilemma for the honest project creator as the issues mount up. How long is it reasonable to make people wait?

The Meteor and CST-01 illustrate both ends of the spectrum nicely. One company has chosen to kick a half-backed device out of the door to appease the crowd while the other, hopefully, seems to want to make sure that the product is perfect first, even if that means missing one deadline after another.

According to UoP study of 2012, the majority of successfully funded Kickstarter projects are delayed with a mean added wait of 2.4 months. Bear in mind, though, that figure is smoothed out by those that raise somewhere near what they set out to. Projects over-funded by ten-fold are half as likely to deliver at the time given. The more impressive something is, the bigger its success and the far greater the chances that you’re in for a large amount of thumb-twiddling.

Worth the wait?

So, where does all of this leave the wearables enthusiast? The simple way to look at things is that, if you want you want to play it safe, then pledge on Kickstarter and Kickstarter only. The chances of you getting you money back or your product delivered are very, very high; even if you end up waiting for a while.

It’s key to remember that these are not retail sites with regular products. If a product looks technologically impossible, then it probably is.

If you’re willing to sail a little closer to the wind, then try some other crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo, but make sure you know the difference between fixed and flexible funding campaigns and use some due diligence to minimise your risks. If a product looks technologically impossible, then it probably is. Do an internet search on the company behind it and its executives, read around what other people are saying and then make up your own mind.

It’s also key to remember that these are not retail sites with regular products. They’re for providing funds to make things possible. What you’re really doing is something more akin to the ancient Roman system of patronage than it is a trip down to the shops.

Just because an Indiegogo idea never reaches its target, why not support it financially anyway? If it’s a project that you believe in, then let it keep your pledge to take that dream as far as it can. If we’re not prepared to take risks in the search of a better world, then we’ll never get there.

Just make sure that you have an idea of what those risks are and whether you expect to see your money, or the fruits of it, ever again.

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?