Wareable 50 One Year On: What have our 2015 gamechangers been up to?

We rate ourselves 7/10 for accuracy and 10/10 for effort in our 2015 predictions
Wareable 50: One Year On

Last December, we published our inaugural list of 50 wearable tech gamechangers. As we gear up to publish our second Wareable 50 list of the people, devices, trends and companies that will be big in 2016, we're taking a look at how the past 12 months have treated our 2015 cohort.

So how did our top ten do? Did they change the wearable tech game? Shift the game? Blame the game? Leave the game? Win the game? Lose the game?

Find out what we got right, what we got wrong and well, what we got spectacularly right.

The genuine gamechangers

Apple Watch (1)

How to use your Apple Watch

Top of our late 2015 predictions was the most obvious entry on the list: the Apple Watch. It's been the most talked about wearable of 2015 as well as the biggest selling smartwatch with sales estimates now around the 7 million mark – more than all its rivals combined.

So, yes, Apple's first smartwatch got people talking about wearable tech who had never heard of it before, it boosted Pebble sales, it inspired app developers. But the Apple Watch wasn't a design miracle and it didn't solve all of wearable tech's challenges.

Xiaomi (6)

Xiaomi Mi Band 1S now official

Who? Come on, you should have heard of Xiaomi by now. This Chinese tech company is behind the Xiaomi Mi Band, the ludicrously cheap $15 starter fitness tracker, over six million of which have already been sold in China, the US and Europe.

With heart rate tracking in its just announced $16 Mi Band 1S and a price cut for the original wearable, it's been a good year for Xiaomi even if we didn't get a budget smartwatch as we guessed. As Xiaomi moved out of Asia, we saw plenty of price cuts to rival fitness trackers. Coincidence? We think not.

Tag Heuer (8)

Tag Heuer Android Wear guide

It's too soon to tell what Tag's smartwatch sales look like but the launch of the Tag Heuer Connected earlier this month was a big hit. We had to remain patient all year but this beautifully built watch was worth the wait.

Our Editor-in-Chief even went so far as to say this is the blueprint all other smartwatch makers should be using - bringing watchmaking and fashion expertise into a close collaboration with the likes of Intel and Google.

Mobile payments (10)

Mastercard and Ringly combine for payments

2015 was a big, big year for mobile - and increasingly wearable tech - payments. Both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay rolled out plus we saw more devices and partnerships for Barclaycard's bPay range, MasterCard teaming up with Ringly and Nymi plus Visa experimenting with House of Holland NFC rings and CSM designs for future money management tech.

2015 success stories

Intel (2)


Intel didn't quite live up its promise that we would be inundated with Curie-powered wearables. Still, its wearable-friendly module did appear in high fashion dresses and smart sports bras. Intel made a nice move buying smart eyewear company Recon, kept Basis ticking over and it working on its new wearable tech reality TV series and $1m contest.

The end of 2015 has been particularly sweet for Intel and wearables - its chips powered not only Fossil's new Q Founder smartwatch but also the high profile Tag Heuer Connected.

Android Wear (5)

Android Wear's new gesture controls

It has been a mixed year for Android Wear as the Apple Watch stole all its thunder and smartwatch makers struggled with the lack of tinkering on offer with the OS, some of them, like Samsung, even abandoning it for the time being.

Still, we've seen some cracking new devices - the Huawei Watch, the second gen LG Watch Urbane and the Moto 360 2 - plus some genuinely great software updates in the form of interactive watch faces, improved navigation around the smartwatches, Wi-Fi, gestures and quick replies, emojis and scribbles. Android Wear hasn't stood still and that's a great thing.

Oculus Rift (4)

Should VR be social or solitary?

But the Oculus Rift isn't out yet, I hear you cry. Well, no, but Oculus itself has had a good year in terms of its platform being used by the Samsung Gear VR. The consumer edition is a real step up from the DK II and its Toybox demos, Story Studio shorts and third party games are all shaping up nicely. Not to mention that Oculus Touch controllers are heading in the right direction.

Technically a work in progress because the consumer version isn't out until 2016. And Oculus has a lot more serious rivals here at the end of 2015 than it did 12 months ago. Namely Sony's PlayStation VR and HTC and Valve's Vive.

Nearly...but not quite

Jawbone UP3 (3)

Jawbone tracks how the US moves

Phew, Jawbone just had a rollercoaster year. First, the UP3 delays. Then, no waterproofing. Then the initial disappointment when the hype around its much anticipated fitness tracker subsided. THEN the Fitbit court case.

But Jawbone is getting back on track with the affordable and easy-to-live-with UP2 effort, a fashion collaboration and a legal victory against its rival.

Blocks (7)

Blocks is getting AT&T and EE modules

It's still early days for Blocks with the $1.5m Kickstarter campaign closing this week. But the Imperial College London team really captured people's imaginations with its vision for a modular smartwatch that will, in theory, never be obsolete thanks to swappable modules.

In 2015, Blocks got some big partners on side too in the form of Qualcomm plus AT&T and EE are making SIM modules and fashion label Tateossian is creating removable fascias.

Smart clothing (9)

Gaze-tracking garment freaks out ogling men

One for next year and beyond? Smart clothing didn't exactly take off in 2015. What we got instead was the following: a handful of interesting Kickstarter projects, some wacky design concepts and promises of bigger things to come from the likes of Google's Project Jacquard and Levi's.

Who were the winners and losers of wearable tech in 2015? What did we get right and what did we get wrong. Let us know in the comments below or over at the Wareable Forum.

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