Welcome to this week's instalment of And finally, your one-stop-shop for all the wearable tech news from the week.
On the site this week, there was a huge leak, as Samsung revealed its new family of wearables. Sony has also got back into the smartwatch game, with its Wena smart straps able to turn a 'dumb' watch into a smarter one. And if you've been after a decent Apple Watch deal, there's a pretty good Watch Series 3 offer on that might convince you to make that purchase.
Read this: The big VR and AR news of the week
We've saved up a few lighter stories for you to tuck into, as well as provided a quick recap of all the biggest stories from the week. Enjoy.
Hot smartwatch deals
Google's Pixel Watch is coming
That's according to Nikkei Asian Review, with its sources revealing Google is planning to launch a whole bunch of new hardware in 2019. Along with new smart speakers and smart security cameras, we'll finally get that Pixel Watch (or whatever Google decides to call its first smartwatch).
We initially thought the watch would land in 2018, but it was missing in action. We've seen the evidence mount that maybe 2019 will be the year it lands on our wrists, though. Codenames for two non-Pixel phone devices have surfaced, with members of Google's Wear OS team attached to projects dropping the details.
We've also seen job listings indicating that Google is on the lookout for hardware people to join its Wear team. Add in its deal to buy secret smartwatch tech from Fossil, and it feels like Google is working on something it no doubt hopes can challenges Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and the rest of the big smartwatch-makers.
AirPods 2 to intro new design
New Apple AirPods are coming, and the folks at MySmartPrice believe they have the lowdown on the features we can expect the second-gen Pods to be packing.
From a design point of view, the AirPods 2 will apparently look very similar to the current version, with possible changes to the coating to help improve grip in the ears. This time, they will apparently be available in black and white colour options, too.
On the features front, Apple will be looking to improve the bass response performance and will stick with the same battery as the first AirPods. Pricing is tipped to be closer to $200, which would make them pricier than the current Pods.
When we'll see the new AirPods is not really clear. Initial speculation suggested an early 2019 release, but it could well turn out to be later in the year.
Polar Vantage V gets a big update
Polar has rolled out a pretty substantial update for its new Vantage watches, bringing some big extra features that were promised at launch.
The 3.0 update brings a dedicated sleep tracking watch face, a do not disturb mode, route guidance, back to the start mode and phone notification support to the Vantage V. For the Vantage M, the 3.0 update adds the very same features, apart from the route guidance for downloaded routes.
These are some big new features for two watches we had a decent experience with when we put them to the test. Hopefully Polar will keep the additions coming to improve the skills of the Vantage duo.
Casio's feature boost from ViewRanger
Some of the best things about Casio's Pro Trek smartwatch are the software additions that make it a better fit for your outdoor pursuits. ViewRanger has worked together with Casio since the first outdoor Wear watch and now the GPS app is adding more functionality to the smartwatch.
The two have teamed up to improve the Wear app, adding the ability to find routes near your GPS location and the ability to select and save more than 20 offline map styles. Standalone tracks and stats are coming, too, landing for the app in March. The app works as a standalone and will also work when paired with iPhones.
The new features are now live in the Google Play Store and are compatible with WSD-F20, WSD-F20A, and WSD-F30 Pro Trek models.
New Fossil hybrids coming in 2019
Fossil Group revealed its Q4 2018 earnings to investors this week, and along with talking about those all important figures, it also discussed what it has in store for us on the wearable front.
A transcript of that earnings call said the following:
"In wearables, our objective remains to bring fashion, branding and style to this business with new products tailored to each of our brand's unique point of view. This past year we added heart rate, enhanced fitness and Google Pay to our smartwatch offerings. We have great technology partners in Google, Qualcomm and Citizen, and an outstanding platform of brands to continue to create excitement and growth in our connected business.
"As a result of these partnerships and our efforts, we will continue to innovate in the connected watch space, and we'll introduce enhanced display and hybrid products in 2019 and in the years ahead, the product will continue to get better and better."
So, it seems like we can look forward to more proper smartwatches (Gen 5?) and more interestingly, new hybrids. It feels like we haven't seen new hybrids from the Fossil Group for a while now, so its ranges are definitely due a refresh. Hopefully the changes will be with smarts, as well the designs.
Big fan of Fossil's smartwatches? Check out our handy guide to the best Fossil smartwatch to buy right now.
In case you missed it
We get it, you're a busy person. And while you'd love to keep up with all the latest happenings in the world of wearables, sometimes it's just not possible.
We've already mentioned the big Samsung news up top, that sweet Apple Watch deal and Sony's new smart straps. So what else has been going on? Casio's new G-Shock hybrids for women have been unveiled, while the Huawei Watch GT is getting a US release.
There was also some sad news ‚Äď Kronaby's hybrid dream hangs in the balance, as its parent company files for bankruptcy. Here's hoping it can find the investment to keep those stylish hybrids rolling out.