Wearable Trends at IFA 2017IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany and the biggest tech show in Europe. This year’s IFA hosted 1,805 exhibitors, who occupied over 1.7M square feet of the sold-out show floor. From ground-breaking innovations to highly anticipated product launches, IFA’s visitors had the opportunity to get a glimpse into the near future of digital lifestyle products in one place, and tech companies were able to demonstrate which trends they see as important.
“Fitness wearables have become the norm in the shortest space of time, providing a perfect example of how quickly technologies can transform our lives,” said Alexander Zeeh, Samsung’s director of home appliances. “This is exactly what our motto for this year’s IFA expresses: ‘the new normal’ … Samsung has been actively working to shape this trend for five years now with new innovations such as our Samsung Gear smartwatches.”
Judging by the large number of product launches of wearable devices at IFA 2017, Samsung isn’t the only company that sees things this way. In fact, the wearables market is predicted to be worth $25 Billion by 2019 by the industry analyst firm CCS Insight. As we go over the most important wearable devices that were launched at IFA 2017, notice that all of them fit into the lifestyle product category, with a clear orientation toward sports and health.
Of course, Samsung didn’t forget about terrestrial athletes when designing the Gear Fit Pro 2. The built-in GPS sensor provides accurate location tracking, and the heart rate monitor on the back of the band offers continuous heart rate monitoring throughout the day and when exercising or playing sports.
The Gear Fit Pro 2 has a speedy dual-core CPU clocked at 1 GHz, 512 MB of memory, and 4 GB of storage space. It runs on Samsung’s open source operating system based on the Linux kernel, Tizen, and supports Spotify offline playlists. The 200 mAh battery lasts several days in standby mode and one or two days when used moderately often.
The Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2 band is now available for pre-order for $200.
The Gear Sport helps users make the most out of every opportunity to exercise and reach various fitness goals. “When you’re on an airplane, Gear Sport adjusts accordingly, suggesting stretches that you can do from your seat. When you’re driving, it’s also smart enough to know that you’re focused on the road, not just inactive, so won’t ask you to stretch your muscles,” Samsung explains on its website. Like any good personal trainer, the Gear Sport lets users choose from dozens of workouts, measuring progress with the built-in heart rate sensor.
The Gear Sport also features NFC-based Samsung Pay compatibility for contactless credit and debit card payments. Additional functionality is available in the form of third-party apps, such as Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, and MapMyRun.
The Samsung Gear Sport smartwatch is expected to arrive in October, but its price has yet to be announced. $23 million last year, everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before Fitbit released a spiritual successor to Pebble smartwatches. That smartwatch is now here and its name is Fitbit Ionic.
The Ionic has a built-in GPS and a heart rate sensor, is water resistant, supports contactless payments, and has plenty of storage space for offline music. The smartwatch features a slightly curved touchscreen display with up to 1000 nits of brightness and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.
Clearly, The Ionic is a premium product, and the steep price of $299.95 makes it the most expensive Fitbit device yet. What’s more, it also makes it more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 1, which could turn out to be a huge problem for Fitbit, a company with a great reputation for its relatively simple activity trackers that start at less than $100.
What sets the Roadie apart from other compact GPS tracking devices is its ability to combine GPS technology with local wireless networks for maximum precision. This comes in handy, for example, when the Roadie is used to track a piece of luggage as it travels from airport to airport. The Roadie can be easily configured through the official mobile app, supporting location-based notification updates as well as real-time tracking.
The Beoplay E8 are controlled by touch, allowing users to change tracks or take phone calls with a simple tap on the earbud. The aluminum construction should offer excellent durability, and the provided leather charging case is just one of many ways how Bang & Olufsen hope to justify the $299 price tag.
The Gear IconX have a layer of P2i nano coating for extra water resistance, and they ship with a compact charging case with a 315 mAh battery.
The Sony WF-1000X earbuds show that wearable devices don’t have to come with revolutionary features to be attractive. Miniaturization of existing technologies can give us wearables that solve already solve problems in a better and more elegant way.
ConclusionIt seems that wearable devices and the fitness world are a match made in heaven. The smartphone is perhaps the main reason why we don’t see more products aimed at people who don’t wear neon running shoes, hi-viz jackets, and yoga pants. If you have large pockets for a smartphone, why would you spend hundreds of dollars on a device that offers only a handful of useful extra features?
Still, smartphones leave plenty of room for single-purpose, low-cost wearables like the Invoxia Roadie Tracker. We just have to wait for the technology to become more affordable, which may take a few more years. For the time being, we will likely continue to see similar products being launched as those at IFA 2017.
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