With the shrapnel from IFA 2017 still flying around the wearable tech space, it's been another busy week here at Wareable.
We spoke to Fitbit's head of design Jonah Becker about the challenges in creating the brand's first smartwatch, sat down with TomTom boss Walter Hermsen to discuss the company's future and gave our verdict on the Michael Kors Access Grayson — one of the many Fossil watches set to hit our wrists before the year is over and done.
But what else has been going on this week? Read on to find out.
Microsoft patent hints at smartwatch
Though Apple, Samsung and many other big guns have been involved with the smartwatch market for years, Microsoft has taken a back seat and instead focused on enterprise through its HoloLens platform and some fun through the Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
However, with Patently Apple recently uncovering a filing from the Redmond giant, it appears a route back into wrist-based tech is at least on its radar. And not just that, but the patent also suggests it's exploring the possibility of modularity. Unlike the Tag Heuer Connected Modular, which offers modularity primarily as a customisation tool, a prospective Microsoft smartwatch would allow users to add functionality to the device through specific modules on the band.
We haven't seen the Big M really discuss wearables since it unceremoniously dropped the Band 2 back in October 2016, and although patents are far from a clear source of evidence about a company's intentions, we hope to see something like the above design come to fruition eventually.
Pebble founder makes a comeback
Hey, remember Pebble? Well, though the company's devices still remain popular with its faithful band of followers, its influence is now strictly limited to the wares of Fitbit after being bought out.
But Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky is heading back to Kickstarter, where it all began, in order to find potential backers for a new device. Instead of a smartwatch, though, he's bringing with him the PodCase, a device which simultaneously charges Apple's iPhone and AirPods.
According to the campaign, the device's 2500mAh battery holds enough power for a full iPhone charge, or up to 40 AirPod charges. Seeing as though the AirPods have a charging case of their own, and plenty of other companies have already swamped the charging smartphone case market, this isn't exactly the most innovative idea, but we imagine some out there will want to invest in it.
Siri and Alexa are prime to be hacked
Both Apple's and Amazon's voice assistants, as well as those from Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Huawei, are vulnerable to hacks, according to Chinese researchers.
Any device running the software can allegedly be compromised through a technique called the DolphinAttack, which translates commands into ultrasonic frequencies that are too high for the human ear to hear while remaining decipherable by the devices.
None of companies affected have yet commented on the tests, though we suspect this opens up another round of debate regarding voice assistants and privacy.
Alexa can now get you airport-ready
On the lighter side of Alexa news, United Airlines has announced that its customers can now link the likes of Amazon's Echo to their United accounts to check the status of their flight, check in, or even find out if their seat has a power outlet.
Fliers simply have to utter the phrase "Alexa, ask United..." to get started on the device. It's not the smart assistant's most groundbreaking skill by any stretch, but every little helps on its quest to dominate all aspects of our lives.
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