As I wrote earlier this week, smartwatches are dominating the wearable tech conversation right now and this week was no different. We saw the good, the bad and the fact there will always be casualties as companies get more competitive in this space.
It's no surprise to find out that we were once again talking about the Apple Watch Series 4, while making our wish list for the Huawei Watch 3 and comparing the two biggest rivals to Apple's watchOS in a Wear OS and Fitbit OS face-off.
If you need catching up on all that happened, we've picked out the big headlines that you may have missed, plus chosen some of the best reads on the site for when you've had your wearable tech news fix.
Samsung could ditch Tizen for Wear
Samsung went from Android Wear to Tizen a few years ago, but could it be going back? The reliable leaksters have been having their say on Samsung's next smartwatch and suggest that the Korean tech giant will opt for Google's operating system over its own in-house built smartwatch OS.
The story of a Samsung Wear watch started with the usually-accurate Samsung leakster Ice Universe who claimed that flagship watch from Google and Samsung would launch in the second half of 2018. Then another reliable leaker, Evan Blass backed up those claims suggesting Samsung Wear watches have already been spotted on the wrists of employees at the tech company.
Having Samsung on board once again would be a major coup for Google, but what does it say about the future of Tizen? While it has been slow going getting developer support behind the platform, its presence on the last few Gear smartwatches has been more positive. We are sure this won't be the last we hear about this story, that's for sure.
Apple Watch Series with LTE is dominating
The reports that the latest Apple Watch is kicking serious smartwatch ass are starting to build up. Apple never talks specifics about its smartwatch business, throwing it in with things like headphones that don't fall under the Wareable remit as proper wearables. But this week Canalys revealed that not only is Apple's smartwatch dominating smartwatches in general, it's also leading the pack of LTE smartwatches.
The Series 3 apparently had 59% of the cellular smartwatch market in Q1 2018 and more carriers are keen to pick it up. Apple's dominance may well have something to do with the fact that the competition is pretty low on numbers right now. The Wear-packing, US-only LG Watch Sport has LTE support as does the Huawei Watch 2 and the Samsung Gear S3. Fitbit has ignored LTE support entirely for its first two smartwatches, but CEO James Park has given his reasons why it didn't see it as a core part of its smartwatch plans.
Maybe though Fitbit as well as Google and others will look at Apple's apparent success at selling the standalone version of its smartwatch and make a bigger push over the next couple of years to give Apple something to think about.
This week's best reads
- Fossil Q Explorist reviewOne of Fossil's best looking Wear smartwatches yet
- Why big VR is taking spatial audio seriouslyHead of audio products Mirek Stiles on fusing visuals to our brain with 3D sound
- Smartwatches we are wearing this weekIt's a Wear OS love-in
- Looking at the future of hot ticket VR experiencesWe talk to pioneering Parisian studio DV about fooling all the senses
- Husain's VR diary: Learning a new languageComo se dice helpful?
Pour one out for Martian Watches
Yes, another smartwatch maker has bitten the dust. Martian Watches, which had been working on hybrid smartwatches since 2004 and collaborated with Guess for its first connected watches announced it's shutting down.
The US-based company was in the process of getting its Kickstarted-funded mVoice G3 hybrid out to backers, but having got a small number of watches out to some backers in April, it ran out of money to complete the production run for the rest of the backers. It failed to attract new investment or convince existing investors to help raise the funds it needed to keep things going and unfortunately had to call it a day. As for those who haven't received their watches, it's not clear whether they will get their money back. Martian plans to reveal what happens next in the next 30 days.
Martian may never have set the smartwatch world alight, but it clearly had its fans and managed to convince a big fashion name like Guess that it was doing good stuff. It was the first company to bring Alexa to the wrist and it's clear there are some supremely talented people who worked hard to give its fans what they wanted. Let's hope they find their way into the companies that are still making a good fist of smartwatches.
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