Samsung Pay has been available for almost a year, but it's only worked on Samsung's phones. Now, the company is looking at expanding Pay to its line of Gear watches. Anyone in the US with a Samsung phone and a Gear S2 can give Samsung Pay a shot, but it's not as robust as the phone version.
Modular design is the coming thing in smartphones... at least it is according to LG and Motorola Lenovo. But what about smartwatches? At least one group seems intent on translating the idea to wearables. The BLOCKS design uses a conventional smartwatch body that houses the primary screen, battery, and SoC, but adds extra functionality via modules that snap into the body like links in a metal band. It's a lot like the Project Ara idea, but integrating the modules into a functional band makes for a surprisingly elegant product.
Samsung is whipping its accessory offerings into shape today with two new fitness-oriented products. The Gear Fit2 is about what you'd expect, a followup to the original Gear Fit smart sports band. The Gear IconX is something new from Samsung. It's a pair of completely wireless earbuds that include some standalone fitness tracking features. If this sounds familiar, that's because both products leaked in April.
Pebble's fortunes have soured somewhat as more powerful wearable devices have hit the market, but now it's teasing a big announcement. On May 24th (tomorrow) at 10AM EDT, we'll get the details. What ever could it be? Since we're talking about Pebble, it could really only be a new version of the watch.
There are many opinions about wearable technology, but most criticisms focus on the awkwardness – or just plain unattractiveness – of many products that have come thus far. One of the more interesting presentations from I/O 2015 came during the ATAP session, in which Project Jacquard was introduced. This is a touch-sensitive fabric that can be woven into regular clothing and used a bit like a trackpad. This technology is being put to real use, and in a partnership with Levi Strauss, the first product using Jacquard will be launching next Spring.
Levi's is calling it the Commuter Trucker Jacket, a denim jacket with Jacquard woven into the left sleeve.
Remember the Gear Fit? More than two years ago, everyone was excited to check it out because it was the first fitness tracker to feature a curved display that was supposed to hug your wrist and not look completely weird on it. The hype only lasted a couple of months as Samsung released wearable upon wearable dragging the Gear Fit into oblivion by sheer intra-brand competition. It seems that the concept wasn't completely abandoned though as Samsung is gearing up (oh snap!) to release a second generation of the product.
According to Evan Blass (aka Evleaks), the Gear Fit 2 should be more curved and thus more ergonomic to wear, and it'll also have a GPS chipset to allow for more data tracking while running or biking for example.
I’ve been a loyal Wearer (is that the right term?) since the launch of the 2014 Moto 360. I bought one as soon as I could, and I wore it every day. It didn’t exactly change the way I use my phone, but hey, I’m an early adopter. We get things before they’re great so we’re already there by the time they are. Well, I’m kind of still waiting.
Wear just hasn’t seen too many updates in terms of functionality and usability and it’s really starting to show. When you take a look at promo material for Wear, it’s painfully clear we’re still quite a bit off from having our wrists do most of the heavy lifting in our digital lives.
In case you missed the news, LG's Watch Urbane 2nd Edition has started popping up for pre-order after being abruptly cancelled late last year. That means Google can finally let the nearly year-old first-gen Watch Urbane die the death LG would probably prefer it died several months ago. Yes, the Urbane is no longer for sale on the Google Store.
Qualcomm did not have a great 2015 with the issues surrounding the 810, but it's looking to turn that around in 2016. The Snapdragon 820 might help, but the fancy high-end chips aren't everything. Qualcomm has announced several new mid-range ARM chips, as well as a new modem and a wearable-specific SoC.
Most smart watches and similar wearables use re-purposed phone processors like the Snapdragon 400. MediaTek is trying to offer a more focused alternative with the just-announced MT2523. It's a complete system-in-package (SiP) for wearables with GPS, dual-mode Bluetooth LE, support for high-resolution screens, and a highly efficient Cortex M4 CPU.