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.
We were big fans of the original Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, but the new model introduced at CES 2014 is a vast improvement since it works wirelessly. No longer requiring to be tethered, the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure model works with the iPhone, as well as Android devices (the previous version only worked with older iOS device that used the 30-pin connector.) You launch the app after applying the cuff, and you get your blood pressure and heart rate, which can be archived so you can refer to the data later, and view trends. You'll be able to get it soon for $129.95.
Peep a video demo after the break.
Read More | Withings
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.
Over the past few years, a new category of gadget has emerged with the aim of quantifying our health. You know the ones--Fitbit. Nike FuelBand. JawBone Up. Withings Wi-Fi Scale (and Smart Activity Tracker!). Fitbit Aria Scale. The list goes on. There are trackers and scales from tons of companies that'll sync your details to their servers, share them with services of your choosing, giving you pretty graphs and hopeful motivation from friends and followers to do the right thing as it pertains to diet and exercise. After all, sitting is killing us. Are all of these gadgets actually moving the needle in terms of our fitness levels? Our friend, Dave Taylor, takes a closer look and chimes in with his toughts after the jump.
Withings has announced its contender in the wearable fitness tracker battle with its Smart Activity Tracker at CES 2013. As seen in the image, the Smart Activity Tracker is small, similar to a Fitbit, and it nicely packs in Bluetooth 4.0 for low battery consumption. Throw it in a pocket or wear it on your belt or arm, and it'll track steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, calories burned, sleep quality, and running strides. Even cooler, unlike other similar devices, this one can measure your pulse when you press your finger against its built-in heart rate monitor. A small OLED display is on front to provide all of your stats at a glance, and the battery lasts about two weeks per charge, and uses micro USB for recharging. No pricing info is available for the Smart Activity Tracker just yet, but we'll let you know as soon as we know.
Read More | Withings Smart Activity Tracker
Withings has announced the availability of its new WS-30 Wi-Fi scale in the US. The new scale can be set up using just your smartphone over Bluetooth, rather than requiring you to tether it to a PC or Mac whenever you want to make changes. As would be expected, the Wi-Fi scale can send your weight, BMI, and body fat % data to a ton of different services of your choosing, making it easy to keep on top of those metrics and have them tracked over time. The scale is great for the whole family, as it can recognize up to eight different users. You can order the Withings WS-30 now for $130.
Read More | Withings
Fitbit has just announced its new fitness trackers in the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip. Following up its popular Fitbit Ultra tracker, the Fitbit One takes its place at the top of the lineup, and brings some welcome changes. A new silent vibrating alarm is added to wake you in the morning as well as remind you when to move, and Bluetooth 4.0 connects to your iPhone to save your data automatically. It's also got a smaller profile and splash-resistant, while also continuing to do its main job of counting steps, calories burned, stairs climbed, sleep quality, etc. The Fitbit One ships in October and will cost $100.
Read More | Fitbit One