Here’s the Latest in Wearable Tech

EditorsJan 12, 2017

Here’s the Latest in Wearable Tech

Google, Swarovski and Fossil are just a few of the brands introducing new models as the wearables category continues to expand.  

Fossil is extending its Fossil Q hybrid smartwatch line with Fossil Q Accomplice, featuring its slimmest case to date.

The wearable tech category seems to be one that just won’t quit.

Every time I hear about a new company launching a smartwatch or wearable of some sort, I wonder what it is about their product that stands out from the rest. The market is already so saturated that I can’t help but wonder when the bubble will pop.

Yet, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon, and in time for the International Consumer Electronics Show, a number of companies have announced new products or extensions.

Among them there’s a pretty big player getting ready to launch a smartwatch, and it’s one that’s known for doing a lot right when it comes to business: Google.

The tech company is set to launch two smartwatches early this year.

Though Google isn’t releasing many details yet, a company spokesperson did say that they would be the flagship Android Wear 2.0 devices and also will be the first to launch with the new platform. Android Wear is Google’s wearable platform that originally launched in 2014; the update has new features like standalone apps, Android Pay and more.

The products also will be sans Google branding, and will be branded instead by their yet-to-be-named manufacturers.

In an interview with The Verge, the company said the launch is part of its “larger effort to convince consumers that wearables--smartwatches specifically--are still in demand.”

No news yet on the price or where the watches will be sold.

Along the same lines, Swarovski is launching a smartwatch “for her” this year using the Android Wear platform.

This one will be the first Android Wear smartwatch to be targeted directly at women. It’s due for release at this year’s Baselworld show, and the company said it would release more details closer to the event.

Swarovski has dipped its toes into the wearables category before, teaming up with Samsung, Misfit, Polar and Huawei to create branded versions of those products.

Meanwhile, Fossil made the announcement during CES that it will double its wearables production to 300 new products this year and add new brands.

Just a few of these will be Armani Exchange with the introduction of Armani Exchange Connected, Fossil extending its Fossil Q hybrid smartwatch line, and Misfit’s unveiling of Vapor, a touchscreen smartwatch featuring heart rate, GPS and standalone music functionality.

This announcement builds upon an already huge product
line for the company, which launched more than 140 wearables across its Chaps, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Fossil, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Misfit and Skagen brands just in the last year.

The Doppel sends out a pulse designed to feel like a heartbeat to help regulate your mood.
To me, the most appealing products in the category aren’t the ones that give you updates of your phone or social media--I’d actually like to move in the opposite direction of that and disconnect more--but the ones that provide the health benefits.

So I was intrigued by a product called Doppel, which claims to be able to actively change your mood in real time.

Releasing this spring and priced around $179, the wearable sits on the inside of your wrist and emits a vibration that feels like a heartbeat. Users can then tap it to regulate the rhythm; faster makes you feel more alert while slower calms you down.

I think a product that can help moderate stress levels is something we all could probably use.

These are all just a sampling of the latest products to be hitting the market. Are there any other notable companies or interesting wearables you’d like to mention? Feel free to share in the comments.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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