The world of wearable tech has started 2017 a little quieter than last year but there's still some exciting smartwatches, VR headsets and everything in between coming in the next six months and beyond. The list below is a mix of long-hyped products and overdue devices which we're still waiting for.
These are the biggest innovations that are yet to drop and we're looking forward to playing with over the next twelve months. It's also worth having a browse if you're about to buy an existing wearable, just to check it's not about to get an upgrade.
Let us know in the comments what you're waiting for and why.
(ETA: Fall 2017)
The Fitbit smartwatch takes the biscuit for internet leaks and rumours. According to anonymous sources, it's due to launch in fall 2017 after long delays around GPS and waterproofing.
If you're thinking of holding off a Fitbit or Apple Watch purchase, expect to see a square, colour screen, four days of battery life and watch-style notifications. Though it's too soon to tell if Fitbit will manage to have any third party apps ready, Pandora is the only name that we've heard bandied around in the rumours. Alongside its first 'proper' smartwatch, we've also seen leaked pics of a pair of Fitbit sports headphones, though we don't yet know if they will be smart or not.
(ETA: Summer 2017)
It's not official yet, unless you count Adidas sending out an image including the device, but it's launching a lifestyle tracker for women this summer. Codenamed Chameleon, the wrist-worn, bracelet-style tracker will work with the now official All Day activity app and include a LED matrix-style display, heart rate tracking and a range of styles and finishes.
We don't have the official name, price or a nailed on release date yet, but if you're a fan of the new app or looking for something that looks a bit different, it might be worth waiting to see what Adidas comes out with.
(ETA: Sept 2017)
We know Apple pretty much works like clockwork when it comes to annual updates. So with the Series 2 unveiling made in September, you can bet we'll see an upgraded Apple Watch Series 3 around the same time in 2017.
The rumour mill has already started with speculation it'll be packing a slimmer design, more storage and a camera for video calls. The headline feature, though, is tipped to be LTE (and a bigger battery) to make a truly standalone Apple Watch to match the latest Android Wear 2.0 watches. Expect to hear a whole lot more rumour mongering until we find out exactly what's up for Apple's smartwatch next September. Bonus: we may also see second gen Apple AirPods with more features than the popular first wireless earbuds.
(ETA: Late 2017)
Google's first item of Project Jacquaaaard smart clothing is finally arriving this year. We now know that the smart jacket, aimed at cyclists, will go on sale in late 2017 for $350 - expensive for a dumb Levi's jacket, not so expensive considering how new whole category is.
The Commuter Trucker jacket features a touchpad in the left sleeve which lets the wearer tap and swipe to do things like control music, cancel incoming calls and tell the time on the go. The rechargeable tag powering the whole thing will last a couple of days on one charge.
(ETA: Holiday 2017)
HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer are all gearing up to launch VR/mixed reality headsets that according to minimum PC requirements shouldn't require the kind of expensive computer setup needed to run the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. This will be affordable VR, certainly, though we haven't seen too much of the "mixed" bit in the demos we've tried so far.
Read this: Hands on with Acer's Mixed Reality headset
The headsets themselves will start at around $299, offer inside-out tracking and are connected to your PC with just one cable. Even more exciting, Microsoft has teased that an Xbox Mixed Reality headset is in development, though we reckon that's more likely for a Holiday 2018 launch.
(ETA: Sept 2017)
We'll see a steady stream of designer smartwatches from the Fossil Group this year including a few Android Wear 2.0 devices. The Emporio Armani Connected is the brand's first touchscreen watch and will arrive with micro-apps and watch faces, an AMOLED screen, superb build quality and a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. If that's too tech-y, we'll also see a series of Armani hybrids.
Joining the EA Connected are Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches like the Diesel On, Fossil Q Venture/Explorist and Michael Kors Sofie/Grayson, all of which offer similar tech and features with a range of sizes, styles and materials. These, though, are scheduled for a "Holiday 2017" release.
(ETA: Late 2017/2018)
By the end of this year, we'll have a lot more choices than simply Rift, Vive or PSVR. That will be mainly down to Windows Mixed Reality (above) but LG is building its first LG SteamVR headset too.
Our US editor Hugh Langley tried a prototype out and was pretty impressed. Here's what we know: the LG will serve up 1440 x 1280 per eye with a 110 degree field of view; it looks and feels a bit like the PlayStation VR and has two wand controllers similar to the Vive. That's because Valve's room-scale tracking is here too. Pricing will be around the Rift and Vive mark and that's it - stay tuned for more details when we have them.
(ETA: Sept 2017)
Originally part of Intel's Make It Wearable competition, Blocks had ambitious aims to make a modular wearable, enabling users to pick and choose the features they want. The idea is that users buy the main unit with a round screen and then add extra elements, such as a heart rate monitor, GPS radio, contactless payments sensor or even an extra battery, as they see fit.
Still, Blocks backers have been waiting for a long time. After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015, Blocks Wearables was scheduled to begin shipping in June 2016, then it got delayed to September, then December. According to the latest Kickstarter update, beta testers have been using devices for the past few months but the shipping date currently stands at Q3 2017. Here's hoping.
Not only did Magic Leap raise over $1.5 billion in funding but from the past 12 months of teaser videos, celebrity hype and leaks suggesting bulky prototypes and chaos in management, it's hard to know what to think.
We still don't know all that much about exactly what products it's planning, and some are beginning to believe that the startup has oversold what its tech is capable of. Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz has responded to the criticism and claims its first product equivalent device has been built and is soon to put its supply chain to test. We've no doubt that Magic Leap tech will be some sort of game changer but fingers crossed we get something to try out, even buy, sooner rather than later.
This futuristic mixed reality headset from Microsoft still doesn't actually have a firm release date yet - dev kits have now gone out - but that's not stopping us from getting excited about it. HoloLens tracks your head as well as hand gestures and overlays 'holograms' onto your field of vision, blending them into real environments with help from a depth camera.
Hands-on: Microsoft HoloLens review
These can be 'pinned' into place so you can walk around them and manipulated in your hands as though they are real 3D objects. Microsoft is now getting HoloLens into the hands of developers and creators to build apps and games for the headset and it's betting Minecraft, which it now owns, will be a big hit. We'd wager a consumer release won't be until 2018 now.
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