The week in wearable tech: Pebble might call Time

It’s all been kicking off
The week in wearable tech
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It's not often a quiet week in wearable tech, but perhaps this one is better described as "turbulent". There have been as many ups as down, and signs of things yet to come.

So good thing for you we're here to distill the last seven days down to the top stories. And be sure to check back tomorrow for And Finally, our roundup of the smaller headlines you might have missed this week.

Pebble might call Time

The week in wearable tech

The biggest story of this week was that Fitbit might be circling a purchase of Pebble. Negotiations are said to be advanced, and could see Fitbit buy the smartwatch maker in its entirety, bringing its staff and intellectual property on board. However it sounds like it could mark the end for the Pebble brand, which would be absorbed into Fitbit. It also raises some questions over what will happen with the still-unreleased Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core.

Meanwhile Features Editor Sophie Charara penned some thoughts on why Fitbit needs to take Pebble's ideas seriously.

Moto takes a break

The week in wearable tech

Pebble might not be the only smartwatch player stepping away - Motorola is taking a break, though it's not pulling out indefinitely. The company said this week that it would prefer to step back and see how the space develops.

"Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year," said Shakil Barkat, Moto's head of global product development. But added: "We believe the wrist still has value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today."

Ubisoft plays nice with VR

The week in wearable tech

This week Ubisoft announced that its VR title Eagle Flight will now offer cross-platform multiplayer across Oculus Rift, PS VR and, when it arrives on the headset 20 December, HTC Vive.

It also announced that Werewolves Within and Star Trek: Bridge Crew, two of its upcoming multiplayer VR games, will also let people play together no matter which system they own.

It's a great move for Ubisoft to make, and we hope it will encourage other developers to follow suit. VR needs to gain mainstream momentum, and moves like this will help.

Amazon Echo 2

The week in wearable tech

We may see the Amazon Echo 2 early next year, according to a new report, and it might be packing a screen. The new Alexa-powered device is said to have a 7-inch touchscreen and run an optimised version of Fire OS. The display will tilt upwards and let you access information like weather reports when you don't want to ask Alexa with your voice. Word is that we'll see the new Echo in the first quarter of 2017.

Preventative wearables

The week in wearable tech

This week we learned that the MD2K project earned $10.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to further develop wearables that can detect health issues before they happen. MD2K is made of 12 universities and is working on a device called MotionSense for monitoring arm movement and heart rate variability; another for measuring lung fluid volume; and a chest band for capturing ECG and respiration data.

The project is aimed at researchers and clinicians, but as the tools are open we could see them in consumer wearables in the future.


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