The biggest story in tech this week was the launch of a Samsung smartphone but I don’t really care about new phones (although, this one does look very nice). What I wanted to see was some new wearables from Samsung. Now I wasn’t expecting a new smartwatch or fitness tracker, but I thought maybe, maybe Samsung might have had a redesigned Gear VR to serve us up with. Sadly not. What we got was a new Gear VR that had been given a bit of a spit and a polish and a new lick of paint to match the Galaxy S8. Plus the controller we’d already seen a month ago. Move along people, nothing to see here.
Back when we were going through the judging process for last year’s Wareable Tech Awards, Samsung’s mobile VR headset was a big part of that debate, not just for VR Headset of the Year, but also for the main award. The company announced it had shifted 1 million headsets at this week’s event, which is pretty impressive numbers, but what would’ve have been more impressive was giving us an upgraded Gear VR 2 to play with.
Fave features and reviews of the week
What Samsung did have more time for was the smart home launching its new Connect platform that wants to bring all of your connected devices together into one big happy family. A special shout out to Bixby as well; Samsung’s new virtual assistant that is set to rival Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Samsung confirmed to us that it will land on future smartwatches and smart home tech as well. Also, it’s just a great name to shout out. Go on, try it.
Away from Samsung we turned detectives in the office this week and when we mean detective, we mean zooming into press images to discover that Adidas has got a new fitness tracker in the works. We actually first heard about the Adidas Chameleon last year and pegged it to launch in 2017. Now we have official news of an All Day app, a picture (above), some details (it will have a HR monitor) and it looks increasingly likely that Adidas is going to make return to the wearable game this summer.
Remember Baselworld last week? Well the show was still going this week but we had already departed the Swiss city. But it didn’t stop as thinking about smartwatches (spoiler, we always think about them). So much so that the entire team decided to weigh in on what makes the perfect smartwatch. Clearly we are not all in agreement on what it takes to build that ultimate smartphone companion. In some not so good smartwatch news, Google has run into problems with rolling out Android Wear 2.0 and people are not very happy. It’s managed to get it out for three devices, but that’s our lot so far. Come on Google, you’ve kept us waiting long enough already. Make it happen. Please.
There were some other stories that caught my eye this week that might not have been a big deal to everyone, but I thought they were pretty interesting. After my food tracking diary woes, it was great to hear about the food tracking tech that’s being developed in Japan that knows what you’re eating from arm movements.
As a big runner, I’m intrigued by the Shft IQ wearable that aims to improve running form and is being powered by Intel. Our reporter Conor spoke to the Shft CEO this week to find out a bit more about the running wearable story. Let’s not forget about Elon Musk who this week announced he is getting into the brain-AI interface game. Hands up who’s surprised by that news.
I’m going to sign off by talking about April Fools’ Day. A day where the attempts by most tech companies to prank us generally fail and end up being pretty crap. In wearable tech though, it’s becoming harder to tell whether things like smart flip flops that spam us are actually a real thing and not just some big joke. Guess what, smart flip flops are a real thing. Check out our pick of the wearables that could have been April Fools’ jokes. Enjoy your weekends folks!
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