Xiaomi managed to impress everybody with its low-cost $30 Mi Band 4 that easily kept up with much costlier products from Fitbit, Garmin, and Co. (as long as you're not a swimmer, that is). Exactly a year after its introduction, the company has released a follow-up in the form of the Mi Band 5, packing a slightly bigger screen, a much-improved charger, more tracking capabilities, and a ton of new animated watchfaces.
Google Fit stands as one of Google's only flagship apps on Android Wear, and may be the only one of its apps that matters more on a watch than it does on a phone. There's a new version of the app available on the Play Store for both watches and phones, but this update is all about adding a big feature for Wear. There's a new mode for recording strength training and similar activities that involve counting reps.
This update is for Wear 2.0 only, so quite a few people will have to wait until the rollout is complete before testing this out, but it works on the last developer preview as well as any watch that already has the official 2.0 firmware.
Google Fit is something Google has been working diligently on since before its announcement at Google I/O. The service itself doesn't seem to be very well-rounded yet, but with a preview SDK available to developers for a few months and an app in the works, it seems like things are headed in the right direction.
We've seen only glimpses of the Fit app so far from leaked product reviews and comparison videos, but now that the whole app has been made available in a leaked Nexus 6 dump that's floating around (we're not going to distribute test-keys signed APKs), we can finally take a quick look at the app itself.
The Chromium Issue Tracker, a perennial source of accidental "leaks" and unreleased information, has delivered something interesting (the issue appears to have since been removed). Reddit user Doopl came across two screenshots of what look like Android's yet-unannounced L release.
The shots show a Google account login dialog that looks substantially different from the current implementation, and what appears to be a re-styled Chrome with design elements from Quantum. Additionally, the status bar shows a place holder "L" icon, and a bell icon that sources tell us is indicative of a new feature in L that will offer "limited interruptions," basically muting or partially muting notifications.
Here's a fun way to pass the time while you're catching up on CES news at home: take a drink of your favorite spirit every time you see the word "wearable." Now say goodbye to your liver. Korean manufacturer LG has decided to enter both the smartwatch and fitness tracker markets at once with the Lifeband Touch, a watch-style Bluetooth device with an OLED screen.
Both fitness tracking and remote notification bases are covered here. The Lifeband Touch will track your steps taken, distance, and calories burned, and use the OLED screen as a readout for said data. When you throw in a pair of LG's "Heart Beat" headphones, they'll use an integrated optical sensor to measure your heart rate as well.
Ever since Nike introduced its FuelBand wearable fitness tracker last year, there's been a rather loud and unsatisfied cry from users of the biggest mobile operating system on the planet: "Where the hell is the Android version?" Even while competitors like Fitbit Jawbone's UP have embraced Android, Nike FuelBand has remained an iOS exclusive, and Nike has made a point of explicitly stating that there's no Android version of the app in development. A new interview from Pocket-lint sheds some light on why.
Nike's VP of Digital Sport, Stefan Olander, blames the relative scarcity of Bluetooth Low-Energy (sometimes called BLE or Bluetooth Smart), a feature in the Bluetooth 4.0 spec, for the company's lack of Android support.
If you're intrigued by the idea of wearable technology, but don't see the Pebble's appeal, or don't have the patience to wait for Google Glass or any of the other rumored wearable goodies coming from Apple, Samsung, or Google (depending on who you ask), Motorola's MOTOACTV, the fitness-tracking smartwatch, may be a good starting point.
The MOTOACTV, which debuted in 2011, is a smartwatch that positions itself as mainly a fitness tool, tracking your runs and slapping some maps and music on top of it for a nice experience. The device also syncs to your smartphone to notify you of calls, SMS messages, and calendar events.
One of the neatest things that the mobile revolution has brought about is an increase in intelligent fitness apps and accessories. Everything from belt clips that can tell how far you've run to zombie-augmented 5K training. The Amiigo bracelet and shoe clip combo may be one of the coolest projects, though. The company behind it promises that, between the two pieces, the system can track any workout you do. If it performs as advertised, this could be amazing.
The software is where the magic really happens (as always). The accompanying app can track up to a hundred different workouts and cross that data with heart rate, blood oxygen levels, calories burned and a bunch of other fun information your body spits out.
You've gotta hand it to the folks in Mountain View. When NORAD decides to pass Google over for Santa tracking data, the company isn't one to sit on its hands and let someone else handle Christmas. This isn't the first year that the data giant has kept you up to date on the comings and goings of everyone's favorite fat bearded man in a red suit, but this Santa tracker may just be the best yet.
The desktop interface is alive and kicking, as it has been in Christmases past. This new iteration brings new and familiar features like Reindeer games for the kids to play, customized voice messages from Santa and, when the clock strikes 2AM PST on Christmas Eve, kids and parents alike will be able to follow His Jollyness around the world.
Endomondo, an extremely popular sports and exercise tracker got an update to version 8 today, bringing a handful of minor enhancements. Among these are improvements to routes, the option to like/dislike routes, and the addition and removal of favorite roots. More importantly though, version 8 brings a brand new UI, designed with Ice Cream Sandwich's legendary style guide in mind. Check out some screenshots:
What's great about Endomondo's new UI is not only that it enhances the UX greatly and makes the app as a whole "prettier," but that it brings the app's design more into line with the Ice Cream Sandwich style guide, without making the mistake of following the idea that holo is everything.