Yes, it’s true—Microsoft is about to get into the smartwatch game, and I got the opportunity to play with it. As we'd previously reported, Microsoft has filed a patent that details a smartwatch. However, often these patent filings aren’t exactly what we see companies end up releasing. So, let’s separate the cruft and get to the meat of the matter. A number of months ago I took a trip to New York where I came across someone who was testing the upcoming Microsoft wearable device. I saw it on their wrist and asked about it. They tried to explain that it was a random fitness wristband ordered from China at first, but eventually (with some prodding) gave me the scoop. Here is your exclusive first look at what Microsoft is planning for its first wearable smart device, what we are referring to as the Surface Watch:
- As far as looks, the image above is a parody, but not far off. It has an elongated form factor, but isn't as comically large as what's in the image. It is much more akin to something like the Fitbit One or Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit in shape rather than taking on the shape of a traditional watch, like Pebble did, or like what Google showed off with Android Wear. What we saw had a flat display, while the inner portion that would rest against your skin was curved.
- The icons are the flat style that Microsoft has been using on its other devices like Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox One. That's what tipped me off in the first place.
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy is how it interacts with the rest of the world
- The flat glass display, and was definitely not high resolution. We hope that both of these change in the final product--a high-resolution curved display already exists on the Samsung Gear Fit, and the Microsoft device just didn't look as good.
- The watch is packed with sensors. It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and most interestingly, a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The galvanic skin response sensor is built into the watch band, while everything else is built into the unit itself.
With the smartphone being a huge success, companies like Samsung and Sony got the idea to make it smaller and wrist mounted, creating the Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch lines respectively. Now Microsoft has decided to muscle into the game, registering its patents with the U.S. Government this week.
The application filed with the patent office describes the wearable as a music player, phone, message device, and fitness measuring device. The watchface would be detachable from the wristband so that it can be connected to a charging port.
The features described are still speculation, and no date has been stated for release. Microsoft is up against competition from Samsung, who released their product last year, Motorola, which plans to release the Moto 360 in July, and Pebble, which has already sold over 400,000 units.
The Fitbit Force is, in my opinion, the best FitBit to date. All the power of the Fitbit One, but strapped to your wrist with a nice OLED display (unlike the Fitbit Flex.) The Fitbit One is a great fitness tracker, but it's small enough to lose easily. Having the Fitbit Force on your wrist is just super convenient. The battery lasts over a week as well. We give you a look at the package and what's included with the Fitbit Force in this episode.
You can pick up the Fitbit Force now.
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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
Okay, if you don't know, I used to be a pro wrestler. That's right, I'd put my tights on every week, step through the curtain, and enter a 20 x 20 wrestling ring to entertain a crowd of people, and I loved it. That was a long time ago, and now I bring you the hottest news in the consumer electronics world, as you know.
However, now that I am a Ford #FiestaMovement agent, you should expect to see something a bit more unique here on my channel each month. I'll be doing some pretty unique missions as part of the Fiesta Movement, using the Fiesta ST that was given to me for the duration of the Movement to bring you some cool stuff. This month? I'm bringing you into the world of professional wrestling as part of the June #Fitness theme.
Why pro wrestling? Well, I didn't want another agent to grab this mission and turn it into a comedy act! I saw this as an opportunity to educate the masses about this truly unique artform. I head to the Buddy Wayne pro wrestling training facility to chat about what it takes to become a professional wrestler. Buddy should know. After all, at just 5' 6", he has made a career in the land of the giants, having wrestling for both WWE (formerly WWF or the World Wrestling Federation) and WCW (World Championship Wrestling.) In wrestling, you only look as good as your opponent allows you to look, and Buddy was able to make his opponents look great for 12 years.
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Nike+ for iOS received an update that makes it even more social with group challenges and chat. Aside from leader boards with other runners, the new challenge feature allows users the ability to competitively challenge their friends with distance and speed goals. Those who are using the challenge mode have access to a group chating feature to either trash talk to your opponents or, at the very least, be the nice person and encourage runners in real time. The update is also expected for Android soon.
What's New in Version 4.3
INTRODUCING NIKE+ CHALLENGES
Ready to take on your friends? With Nike+ Challenges, you'll compete with your friends and motivate each other to go farther and faster than ever before. Track your progress, top the leaderboard, and snag a medal. Every run counts.
- Choose a distance and invite your Nike+ friends.
- Keep track of who's in the lead and stay motivated through group chats.
- Finish a Challenge before your friends and take home a medal. We'll leave the bragging rights to you.
Read More | iTunes
LUMOback started as a Kickstarter project aimed to helping people maintain proper posture throughout the day. The pitch was successful, and now LUMOback is a reality. We open up the LUMOback posture sensor and give you a look at what it does and how it works. It connects to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad over Bluetooth 4.0, and alerts you when your posture is bad throughout the day, so that you can improve it over time, resulting in less aches and pains, and more energy!
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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:
The Nike+ FuelBand is one of the most popular fitness gadgets out there (although the verdict is still out on if fitness gadgets actually improve our health,) but there's been a complaint from Android users since it's release regarding the lack of an app for Android-powered smartphones. Despite waiting patiently for about a year, it turns out, a FuelBand app isn't even on the radar for Nike.
@mkoyerp Right now, we're focused on iOS and web. We're not working on an Android App.— Nike Support (@NikeSupport) February 10, 2013
To deliver the best experience for all Nike+ FuelBand users, we are focusing on the FuelBand experience across iOS and nikeplus.com, where you can sync your activity, set new goals, and connect with friends. At this time, we are not working on an Android version of the mobile app.
In other words, the company is committed to having the FuelBand work perfectly within the iOS ecosystem, and doesn't have time right now to worry about the fragmented Android mess. Of course, the FuelBand doesn't require a smartphone at all, so Android users (and anyone else) can use it, they just need to sync over USB to their computer rather than over Bluetooth like you can do with an iPhone.
Read More | Giz
Wearing a device to track your steps is nothing new, but the Fitbit Zip looks to be the budget solution that brings users into the connected fitness data world. The verdict is still out as far as if wearing fitness gadgets will make you more fit, but it's hard to argue that it doesn't at least make you more aware. The Zip is the least expensive way to start tracking and syncing your steps, calories burned, distance, and other stats, linking easily to your smartphone to give you a pretty look at all the data. The question is, does the Fitbit Zip do enough to take attention away from the more feature-rich Fitbit One, Nike FuelBand, and other competing devices? Join us for our full Fitbit Zip review as we find the answer.