Happy New Wareable Year. It’s going to be a good one, and we’ve picked out 10 big developments to look forward to in wearable technology for 2015.
This isn’t about pie-in-the-sky products, semi-funded wannabes or fantastic ideas at the prototype stage. These are the trends and devices that are going to happen this year; the wearables that everyone’s going to want.
Well, we may as well start with the obvious one. It saves you the scrolling time, at least. The world had a very decent up-close-and-personal look at the Apple Watch in all its bands and colours back in September 2014 and it looks seriously sexy, if a little safe.
Essential reading: Hands on Apple Watch review
The Watch OS and digital crown combo is a fascination, the communication by vibration intriguing the will-it-work factor is simply unbearable. However it turns out, it’s undeniably the hot wearable release of the year
ETA - Spring, 2015
Sony FES e-paper watch
2015 is the the year of the smartwatch. They got good in 2014. This time they’ll make themselves essential. So, expect to see a few of them pop up in our preview of what to look out for.
Wareable verdict: Sony SmartWatch 3 review
The second on our list is the Sony e-paper watch. Everyone loves e-paper. It uses next to no power and it’s got the perfect classic looks to suit a smartwatch down to the ground. For Sony, that’s been a no-brainer and the company has pledged to deliver this swish little crowd-pleaser in the first half of the year to those that backed it at crowdfunding. It shouldn’t be much longer for the rest of us.
ETA - May 2015
Tradeshows: CES, MWC, IFA, Wearable Tech Show
Not one 2015 highlight, but a guaranteed minimum of four are the annual tradeshows. They’re certain to be packed with wearable technology this year and we’ve only a matter of days to wait until the first, and biggest of all, kicks off in Las Vegas.
Bookmark: Our dedicated CES 2015 hub
While CES and August’s IFA Berlin event are the larger to look out for, both MWC in February and the Wearable Technology Show in March will have even more specifically tailored to our fascinating corner of the gadget kingdom. Naturally, Wareable will be on the ground at each and every one to bring you the latest.
ETA - January, February, March & August 2015
Nixie was the grand final winner of Intel’s 2014 Make it Wearable competition. It’s your own personal, wearable camera drone and it’s designed, initially, for extreme sports enthusiasts to fling it away from their person so that it can circle about taking footage of themselves before coming back to land again.
Wareable picks: The best innovation of the year
While that's rather niche to begin with, the people behind it are aiming it as the next point and shoot camera for the selfie generation. There’s no specific launch date but with the $500,000 prize money behind it and plenty of exposure, here’s hoping we see it in the shops in time for next Christmas. Guaranteed GoPro will have a version of it if not.
ETA - October 2015
TAG Heuer smartwatch
Jean-Claude Biver, the big cheese at Swiss watchmaker TAG, confirmed that the luxury timepiece company is planning to go smart in 2015. We know it’s going to be powered by Intel but the people behind the software is so far a mystery.
What’s important about the move is that it’ll be the first big name watch designer to make the step and it’s going to open the floodgates for all of the others to get involved whether it turns out to be a sweeping success or not. Did we say that 2015 is going to be the year of the smartwatch? Are you beginning to believe us now?
ETA - unknown
The Nymi band looks pretty nasty, really. Granted, it’s only early models that we've seen so far but aesthetic design either looks like the last consideration on the list. In actual fact, it doesn’t really matter. What makes this wearable important is the security technology it showcases. If it works, much like optical heart rate monitors, we’ll start to see it everywhere.
Best in show: The top lifestyle trackers
Nymi itself measures the wearer's electrocardiogram heartbeat signature which is as individual as a fingerprint. It knows that you’re wearing it and then communicates your confirmed identity to any device with which you come into contact. So, no more remembering your computer password, your phone PIN, your security door credentials and even your car keys. Sounds good, doesn't it?
ETA - unknown
Garmin goes optical
Speaking of optical heart rate monitors, this piece of 2015 technology product launch is actually more of a prediction than anything else. So far, top sports watch maker Garmin has stuck to its chest strap guns and refused to make any device with a built-in sensor to measure your pulse. Doubtless this was originally down to accuracy concerns but these units are getting better and better and quickly becoming a key differentiating factor in consumer buying decisions.
We’d love to see Garmin cast off the need for trunk-worn accessory. We’ve a feeling that it's going to oblige before the year is out.
ETA - August 2015
Sure, you can sign up and buy the developer version and download a hard drive full of hotched together thrill demos but the real thing is set to launch in 2015, and with it all the proper games from proper designers - and the experience; well, that’s going to be proper too.
Essential reading: The best AR and VR headsets
Head tracking is going to be better, the resolution will be up to scratch, it’ll hopefully be wireless and, simply put, it’s going to change the way we do just about everything. Forever. If you want to understand what we’re talking about, then find someone who’s got one and take a stroll through the official Oculus demo. Whether you’re into films, live music, social networking or gaming; prepare to have your mind expanded and then blown out of your tiny skull.
ETA - December 2015
We’re seriously excited about Kairos. The Korean company has not one but three interesting products up for pre-order now and delivery in 2015. The initial two are a pair of mechanical smart watches - the first of their kind with transparent OLED displays set over traditional clockwork.
Watchlist: 50 wearable gamechangers for 2015
The third is the T-Band smart strap that’s part of the next generation of this Korean company’s plans. The idea is that you can turn any normal watch into a connected one by simply replacing the band. Your guess is as good as ours as to whether this stuff is going to be able to deliver but it’s certainly a fascinating prospect.
ETA - April 2015
Coaching, not just measuring
They’ve got us to wear these things, now the fitness, sports and sleep tracking companies need to convince us to keep them on. If we’re going to see one major change with how these platforms deal with our data in 2015, it’s with interpretation. We’re going to get brands teaming up with experts in their respective fields that’ll be able to convert our daily stats into words of wisdom.
Beyond step counting: Making the most of your wearable data
It will likely still take another six months or so for the next wave of skin, muscle and body movement sensors to bed in but, once in place, the coaching will begin its journey of quite rapid sophistication. Just watch as wearables grow up.
ETA - August 2015