Wareable 50 six months on: Checking in with 2016's gamechangers

A mid year look at how our predictions are faring
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At the end of last year, we published our second annual Wareable 50 list of gamechangers for the 12 months ahead. Rather than wait until the end of this year to see how accurate our predictions were, if we're honest we felt like clapping ourselves on the back a whole lot sooner. Specifically, now.

So here's our six month check in with the most influential people, products and trends in wearable tech.

Changing that game

VR for all (1)

Wareable 50 six months on: Checking in with 2016's gamechangers

Virtual reality is most certainly dominating the conversation and two high end headsets - the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive - have now shipped. That's an achievement plus the Gear VR is still flying - one million people used one in April.

In the second half of 2016 we'll get the cheaper, PS4-friendly PlayStation VR and the first wave of Daydream mobile VR headsets. Plus we're still waiting for more games, more experiences and more movies coming later this year and early in 2017.

Xiaomi (2)

Xiaomi hasn't caught up with Fitbit in terms of worldwide sales but it's sticking firm at No.2. In the first quarter of 2016, it sold 3.7 million wearables, to Fitbit's 4.8 million, that's still way ahead of Apple, Garmin and the rest. And it's a big reason why we have so many great low cost fitness trackers now from Misfit, Jawbone and more.

The new (less than ) Mi Band 2 looks very promising indeed - watch out for a review soon - and it's confirmed that we will see a Xiaomi smartwatch by the end of the year.

Women's wearables (4)

Wareable 50 six months on: Checking in with 2016's gamechangers

Some wearables and editions aimed at women work better than others but so far we've seen so many that we're calling it a win. As well as Samsung and Huawei's efforts to girlify smartwatches, we've been impressed by Ringly's new smart bracelet, Aries, the emotion sensing, biometric band Zenta, Topshop's second bPay collection and the Michael Kors Access.

Fitbit (6)

Fitbit has had its share of woes in 2016 but it's still selling and selling and selling. Both the Blaze and Alta have been hits since launch plus James Park has pointed to new wearables with advanced sensors, and thanks to a clever acquisition, wearable payments.

Smart home platforms (10)

Since the start of the year not only has Paul's diary proved that you can build your ultimate smart home but we've seen gadget launches and app news that will make it easier to smarten up your own abode. That means Alexa improving on the original Amazon Echo, the new Dot and third party devices to Google Home and Apple's dedicated Home app in iOS 9 (coming in September).

Nearly... but not quite

Under Armour (3)

Wareable 50 six months on: Checking in with 2016's gamechangers

We're really buying into Under Armour's vision for connected health for its gazillions of users. That said, HealthBox has lots of room for improvement so we're looking forward to what UA does in the second half of 2016.

Stress detection (5)

A big focus for new wearables in the first six months of the year but we're yet to see what works. On the agenda: Zenta, WellBe, Feel and the upcoming Breathe app for the Apple Watch as well as seeing what the bigger industry names are up to.

Magic Leap (8)

Wareable 50 six months on: Checking in with 2016's gamechangers

Magic Leap is an absolute master of hype - its Star Wars concept video to announce its partnership with Lucasfilm is a great case in point. The AR/MR platform should get an actual launch by the end of the year or CES at the latest.

Apple Watch 2 (9)

Well not at all. We haven't seen an Apple Watch 2 yet, the current bets are being placed on a September reveal. Still, watchOS 3 looks like it's enough of an update to make us use our Apple smartwatches a whole lot more.

Wearable payments (7)

It's all bubbling away - Visa & MasterCard plans, Apple Pay, Android Pay hitting the UK etc. But Android Pay on Wear watches and Samsung Pay on the Gear S2 are still missing. Topshop and bPay are filling the gaps for now.


How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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