The week in wearable tech: Fitbit on fire and Xiaomi trolling Apple

A look back at the week that was
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"I'll have a bash at writing The week in wearable tech," I said, before looking properly at the past seven days' news stream.

When I did have a look, there was not a single product launch that registered more than a "meh" on my inner-reaction-0-meter. Balls.

However, it wasn't all mediocre. Fitbit, the biggest name in wearable tech, was involved in not one, not two, not three - actually it was three - fascinating stories, involving murder (we shit you not), explosions (still no shitting) and, er, the NHS (no need for shitting; this one is borderline fascinating, we'll be honest).

Let's start with the best (only) tale of murder we've ever told on Wareable.

Connie Dabate, the victim in our sorry story, managed to get her connected self revenge from the grave simply by wearing her fitness tracker when she went spinning on the morning that police now believe her husband Richard Dabate shot her dead back in November 2015.

Richard's secret girlfriend was pregnant at the time and it's said he was planning to get divorced. His version of events involves an intruder breaking into the house and killing his wife.

However, the police pieced together what they state is the real story, aided by Fitbit data showing when Connie was active in the hour before she was killed, illuminating timeline discrepancies with Richard's version of events.

Amazing. Fitbit is so hot right now.

Maybe too hot in some cases. The San Francisco company is investigating the claims of a Milwaukee resident, who allegedly had a Fitbit Flex 2 that exploded while on her wrist, sending her to the hospital with second-degree burns.

Fitbit has told us that it is taking the claims "very seriously" but this is very much an isolated case and I doubt the company is all that concerned. It's not rashgate 2.

The final Fitbit titbit (its next tracker should be called the Fitbit Titbit, btw) is that it is in talks with the NHS about a fitness tracker scheme. But I'm bored of writing about Fitbit so you'll have to click the link if you want to know more.

Xiaomi couldn't care less about copying Cupertino

The week in wearable tech: Fitbit on fire and Xiaomi trolling Apple

Have you ever had a look at Xiaomi's website, or at one of its smartphones? If you have then you'll know that the Chinese tech giant isn't shy about taking inspiration from Apple. And when I say "taking inspiration" I actually mean "ripping off completely".

And that ethos has now reached the smartwatch genre via the Weloop Hey S3. Weloop is a Xiaomi brand and let's just say the Hey S3 isn't exactly an original looking smartwatch. It's unlikely to make it out of China, however, where it is available via crowdfunding.

HTC Vive keeps on getting better

The week in wearable tech: Fitbit on fire and Xiaomi trolling Apple

Last year the HTC Vive went wireless, courtesy of a $220 add-on from within its Vive X accelerator program. And now, the program has struck again, with real-time eye tracking set to land on the Vive.

7invensun's upgrade kit, known as aGlass, will bring real-time eye tracking to all existing Vives via insertable lenses that you fit into the headset. You won't just get real-time eye control interactions and therefore much more emotional nuance in social avatar apps - you'll also get foveated rendering – i.e it only renders the things you're actually looking at in high resolution. The kit will be available for limited pre-order starting next month for $219.

The week in wearable tech: Fitbit on fire and Xiaomi trolling Apple

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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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