The Fitbit Force is a new fitness tracking wristband from the company that started this whole quantified self fitness gadget craze. About half a year ago, Fitbit launched its first fitness tracking wristband, the Flex, which was a little feature-barren when compared to its other offerings. The Force changes that, as it does everything that any other Fitbit can do, plus more. That means that it will keep track of your steps, distance traveled, how many minutes you were active, how many floors you've climbed, how well (and how long) you are sleeping, and even call notifications from your iPhone, as long as yo are running iOS 7 on an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, or iPhone 5s--that last feature will be introduced soon through a software update.
The Fitbit Force should last for about 7-10 days on a charge, thanks to its Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy profile and low-powered OLED display. You can order it now in one of two colors (black and slate blue) for $129.95.
Read More | Fitbit Force
Samsung is the first major company to release a smartwatch, revealing the Galaxy Gear during today's Unpacked event. The rumor mill was quite a ways off from what was presented today. The Gear sports a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 Super AMOLED display, with a 1.9-megapixel BSI auto-focus camera on the outside wrist strap (used to capture low-resolution images and 10-second video clips at 720p,) and a speaker on the inner wrist strap.
Galaxy Gear is also a platform unto itself, and it will have 70 apps on deck for launch, including familiar names like RunKeeper, Path, Evernote, TripIt, MyFitnessPal, eBay, and many others. That sounds great, but the device will ship with limited smartphone and tablet compatibility, working with only the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 at launch, although Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S III integration will be coming in October. With a compatible device, the Galaxy Gear will be your companion, allowing you access to Find My Device, S Voice, pedometer, call answering, and more.
The Pebble Smart Watch was a Kickstarter sensation that is still struggling to fulfill the orders of its initial backers, but that's not stopping the device from launching in Best Buy in just a few days. Initially you'll be able to get the e-ink display-powered Pebble in Jet Black at Best Buy while the company works to get the other colors into the hands of those who pre-ordered the device. Once those are fulfilled, you can expect to see other colors hit Best Buy as well. In fact, the Cherry Red model will hit store shelves in August.
Now is the time for the Pebble Smart Watch to try and get some attention on a larger stage, and Best Buy may be the place to do that. If you're unfamiliar, the Pebble connects to your iPhone or Android device and allows you to interact with it from your wrist. I have one, and it's convenient to see my messages, texts, and notifications pop-up on the Pebble without having to check my phone. I can also control apps like Music and Runkeeper right from my wrist as well. With Apple and Google expected to announce smart watches of their own sometime soon, some might argue that time is running out for Pebble to make an impact and fain traction. The Best Buy deal should help. You'll be able to order the Pebble from Best Buy for $149.95.
Read More | Pebble Best Buy Page
Google has pushed out a new update for Google Glass Explorers, the early testers and purchasers of the ambitious wearable tech. Most notable in the XE5 update is the addition of Google+ functionality in Glass, specifically allowing you to comment on, and +1 entries on Google's social network. You can also receive incoming Google Hangout invitations. Here's a full rundown of the changes:
- Change to sync policy: require power + WiFi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
As you can see, Google is steadily improving the Glass experience, even as it's just in the beta Explorer stage. With a year-or-so before it hits mass market, the company has a lot of time to refine the technology to get it ready for the meanstream. They'll need to, in order to quiet the jokes.
Nike is hard at work on the next iteration of its popular Nike+ FuelBand, and we've got the details on what to expect, thanks to getting to spend a few short minutes with the device during a recent business trip. From the look and sound of things, aside from a handful of new features and tracking metrics, Nike is also set to make the Nike+ API a bit more robust as well, allowing developers to tap into your tracking data. Now let's talk about the changes and improvements:
With this past weekends Saturday Night Live spoof, Google Glass has officially gone mainstream. As part of Weekend Update with Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen plays Tech Correspondent Randall Meeks, and tries to explain just how revolutionary Glass can be, all while trying to work within the constraints of poor speech recognition and awkward gestures. Yes, it's a spoof, and therefore, it is very exaggerated--but that's what makes it funny. We've embedded the Hulu clip below, after the break, for your enjoyment.
Despite Google Glass Explorer Edition units already being in the hands of developers, it appears that Google won't be ready to release Glass to the masses for another year or so. Originally the company had hopes to release it's wearable computing device by the end of 2013 for general consumers, but comments from Eric Schmidt in an interview on BBC Radio 4 says otherwise.
In response to a question asking when Glass will be available, Schmidt said, "there will be thousands of [Google Glass] in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback, we'll make some product changes, and it's probably a year-ish away."
Obviously, we are in mid-April, so it sounds like the earliest we'll see Glass hit the market will be Spring 2014. A disappointment to many, we're sure, but a device like Glass needs to be done just right, and we're glad to see Google taking the time to get it right before releasing it. You can listen to the interview here--fast forward to the 4-minute mark to hear the Glass discussion.
More on Google Glass:
Google is giving out a few dozen Google Glass Explorer Edition units each day, rolling them out to developers as they are being made, rather than waiting until all are done to get them out at the same time. The result? A bunch of excited devs getting their hands on Glass, and giving their opinions on the future tech. We're already seen images of the Google Glass box contents, and now Brandon Allgood gives a great first impression on his Google+ account. Here's a snippet:
I wore Glass all day today. It was light and didn't bother me to do so. The battery truly lasted all day. I didn't however take long videos or hangout for very long. I am also not very popular on G+ and most of my email goes to my business account so I didn't mind the "ding" when I got an email or G+ comment. Most of my co-workers were excited about seeing Glass. Some were a little uncomfortable about it. Overall the reaction has been positive and people aren't bothered by me wearing it in meetings and such. I do live in Silicon Valley, so your experience may differ. I found that my habits will nee to be modified. For example I just need to tint my head back (which turns on the display) and I can see the time. No more looking for a clock or pulling out my phone. I also don't need to check my email on my phone or computer. I found myself from time to time hearing the chime and then pulling my email up on my computer and not Glass. I am over that now.
Hit the link below to head on over to Brandon's Google+ post for the rest. It's a good read on what it's like when you first get Glass, and the process of getting used to using it, the expected, and the unexpected.
Read More | Brandon Allgood Google+
Google Glass units are starting to land in the hands of developers who've signed up for the early Explorer Edition of the device, and images and videos are making their way to the Internet with the quickness. For example, Brandon Allgood posted an image of Glass unboxed to his Google+ page, showing everything it comes with. If you're curious, along with Glass, Explorers also get two different visor lenses (clear and shaded,) a carrying bag with a hard plastic area, AC adapter, and a USB cable for charging all in a Nexus-like box. Hard to believe that Google Glass is finally here, but the units are making their way out into the wild. Google says that it hopes to release Glass to the masses before the end of the year.
Read More | Google+
Yesterday evening, Monster unveiled the newest color to its Monster DNA headphone line, White Tuxedo, at the MTV Movie Awards. Stars were seen backstage signing the headphones, a pair of which will be donated to Jewelry for a Cause, and Monster is pretty proud of its latest exclusive color. DNA is the end result of a collaboration between Monster and Viacom, so the MTV tie-in makes sense. Even if you don't find the new color to be as striking as the company does, you may be wondering how the Monster DNA headphone line performs in general. After all, there are a multitude of colors available, allowing you to express your personality, now that headphones are also a fashion piece. How do the headphones perform? Join us in our full Monster DNA review to find out.