1. January: Garmin goes big
  2. February: Peloton enters the fray
  3. March: Trouble for Fitbit
  4. April: Polar steps out
  5. May: Gucci gang
  6. June: Apple Watch Series 3 - RIP
  7. July: Qualcomm chips in
  8. August: Samsung goes Pro
  9. September: Apple Watch gets a makeover
  10. October: Pixel not-so-perfect
  11. November: Google plans kids' smartwatch
  12. December: Delays for Apple's headset?

The year in wearables 2022: We look back at the key moments

It's been a busy year - let's recap the highlights
Wareable wearable year in review
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High-profile product launches, whacky concepts, and a sprinkle of controversy - 2022 gave us non-stop talking points in the world of wearable technology.

And, as the year draws to a close, it's our opportunity to recap the year that was. 

We've already had the opportunity to hand out awards for what our panel of judges believed to be the top wearable achievements of 2022, but this represents more of a reflection on the good and bad from the last 12 months. 

In general, we've seen a bumper year of product launches, with Apple, Google, and Samsung all debuting new product lines of some description.

Alongside various fashion collaborations and health tech innovations, 2022 saw the industry shake off the last remnants of the pandemic hangover and get back to business.

Let's revisit the story of wearable tech in 2022.

January: Garmin goes big

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As it always does, the year kicked off with CES chaos in Las Vegas. And even though we weren't treated to the glory days of launches from days gone by, there was still plenty to chew over from the world's biggest tech expo.

Movano showed off a very stylish smart ring (that we're still waiting for), Fossil debuted some flashy new Gen 6 smartwatches and Garmin pulled back the curtain on the Venu 2 Plus and Vivomove Sport

Before we could catch our collective breath, Garmin struck again in January, this time delivering changes to the top of its smartwatch and sports watch portfolio.

We were given three editions of the latest Fenix series - the Fenix 7, Fenix 7X, and Fenix 7S - as well as the rebirth of a very old line in the form of the Garmin Epix (Gen 2). With its AMOLED touchscreen, the Epix impressed most of all, becoming one of our favorite wearables of 2022.

And not to let Garmin have all the early year glory, Suunto also released the 5 Peak, while Apple published early details of its Heart and Movement Study and Rockley Photonics publicized the details of its wearable blood pressure sensor trials.

February: Peloton enters the fray

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If January kicked the year off with a bang, February saw things come back down to earth.

There was still time for Garmin to produce its seventh(!) new watch of 2022, of course, coming in the form of the Instinct 2 Solar. Elsewhere, though, product launches were a little more spread out. 

Tag Heuer did give us the Connected Calibre E4, representing a real revamp to the previous smartwatches released by the Swiss watchmaker.

The 42mm and 45mm duo were even announced to be able to update to the latest version of Google's operating system, Wear OS 3 - a question present with each new Wear launch.

Peloton gave us its first ever wearable, too, in the form of the forearm-based Heart Rate Band designed to work with its Bike, Tread, and home workout platform.

March: Trouble for Fitbit

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Fitbit had given us a quiet start to the year over the first couple of months, but that changed in March - mostly for the wrong reasons.

The brand issued an official recall of 1.7 million Fitbit Ionic smartwatches, following over 100 reports US Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding device burns. Those who returned their 2017 device were given a $299 refund.

In better news for the company, it was at least able to submit its proposal for passive heart rate rhythm monitoring to the FDA, while its Stress Score rolled out to all its wearable devices.

And not content to stay out of the spotlight for long, March also saw Garmin provide watches #8 and #9 of 2022, the Garmin Descent G1 Solar and the Garmin D2 Mach Aviator.

April: Polar steps out

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Heading into spring, rumors kicked into gear regarding the next generation of smartwatches.

It's when we heard the first reliable indications of Apple's ambition to include temperature tracking in the Series 8, a Pro version of the next Galaxy Watch, and a barrel of rumors relating to the Pixel Watch - all of which turned out to be bang on the money. 

We did manage to witness a couple of exciting new products, as well, with the Polar Pacer and Polar Pacer Pro being the headlines. 

There was nothing this month from Garmin, sadly. 

Just joking - the relentless conveyor belt kicked out the Vivosmart 5 and Quatix 7.

May: Gucci gang

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Though the rumor mill continued into May, with details routinely leaking regarding most of the big-name smartwatches prime for launch in the second half of 2022, May was dominated by Google I/O and Oura. 

Instead of the full-blown Pixel Watch launch many were expecting, the company instead used its annual developer conference to provide a teaser of its debut smartwatch. It wouldn't launch until later in the year. 

Elsewhere, we saw smart ring supremos Oura team up with Gucci for a special edition of its Gen 3 model, while the company also announced it was suing rival startup Circular regarding patent infringements

There was even time for Huawei to get in on the action, announcing at a press event in Milan that the GT 3 Pro, Band 7, and Watch Fit 2 were all coming to Europe, and Amazfit to release another iteration of the best-named watch in the industry - the Amazfit T-Rex 2.

June: Apple Watch Series 3 - RIP

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Always a big month in the wearable calendar due to Apple's annual WWDC event, this year saw the Cupertino giant tease watchOS 9 and some of the latest and greatest features hitting the Apple Watch later in the year. 

It also represented the effective end of the Apple Watch Series 3, with the company announcing it wouldn't receive the latest software upgrade. Commiserations to anybody who purchased the device between June and its official discontinuation a few months later - we did tell you not to.

It wasn't all about Apple, though. Garmin - refreshed and ready for even more product launches after a whole month off - gave us the heavily-leaked Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 955

We loved both of these devices, giving the former our award for 'Sports Watch of the Year'.

July: Qualcomm chips in

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Past the halfway point in 2022, we'd already seen tons of innovations and launches - and this continued into July, with Qualcomm detailing all the details of its next-gen wearable Snapdragon W5+ chip.

Promising huge battery efficiency increases, the chip has yet to be included in any Wear OS watches, though the Oppo Watch 3 (launched in August) became the first to harness the new chip technology.  

Elsewhere, there were plenty of more affordable smartwatches and tracking flooding store shelves around the world in July. Xiaomi released the Mi Smart Band 7 and Mi Band 7 Pro in China, the Amazfit GTS 4 debuted in India, and, later, the Amazfit Band 7 was released in the US.

August: Samsung goes Pro

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Traditionally a very busy month in the calendar, August didn't disappoint in 2022 - there was a mountain of launches for Team Wareable to cover.

Samsung released a solid iteration to the Galaxy Watch series - the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro - and Fitbit debuted the Versa 4, Sense 2, and Inspire 3, which were a bit of a mixed bag.

IFA returned at the end of the month, as well, with Garmin using the Berlin tech expo to launch the Venu Sq 2 (joining the Enduro 2 released earlier in the month). 

We also got hands-on with the Huawei Watch D, as the blood pressure smartwatch finally received approval in Europe.

September: Apple Watch gets a makeover

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Synonymous with one company only, September gave us our annual dose of product launches from the biggest name in the industry, Apple. 

And unlike in previous years, the Cupertino event gave us an entirely new wearable to shout about. The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE 2 represented nice, iterative updates on their predecessors, but it was the Apple Watch Ultra that stole the headlines. 

Reframing the Apple smartwatch as a chunky outdoor beast with some personality, the Ultra was one of the great performers and surprises in 2022. As a result, it recently took home our Smartwatch of the Year award for the year, as well.

The company even found time to squeeze in the Apple AirPods Pro 2 - a no-brainer selection for our 'Hearable of the Year award following impressive testing.

Amid the Apple whirlwind, we also saw Oura release the Gen 3 Horizon, a special edition of the smart ring that took home our Wearable of the Year award.

October: Pixel not-so-perfect

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With most of the big-name brands taking a month out to let Apple have their moment in the spotlight, things continued at a regular pace in October. 

The big one was also a smartwatch we'd been waiting since May for -we've been waiting for around half a decade here at Wareable, but that's another story - the Google Pixel Watch

Promising full-fledged integration with Fitbit, a sleek design and the refreshed Wear OS 3.5 platform, we expected big things following the full reveal of the debut Pixel Watch. Unfortunately, it was an experience hampered largely by very poor battery life in testing - something we hope Google rectifies with the Pixel Watch 2

Then, it was the turn of more premium smartwatches. Garmin released the MARQ Gen 2 range, featuring improved battery life and the same AMOLED screen that wowed us on the Epix 2, while Hublot showed off the Big Bang E edition that referees would use during the FIFA World Cup in November and December. 

November: Google plans kids' smartwatch

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With most of the big launches out of the way for 2022, November saw a return to relative hibernation for most companies.

Sure, we got the release of a few new sports watches - the Polar Ignite 3, Coros Apex 2, and Coros Apex 2 Pro - but November was defined by humble software updates, special editions, and the rumor mill kicking back into gear ahead of 2023.

First reports emerged, for example, regarding Fitbit and Google's 'Project Eleven' kid's smartwatch, while Meta's smartwatch plans were reportedly torn up in the wake of mass layoffs.

December: Delays for Apple's headset?

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Carrying on the theme from November, the final weeks of 2022 saw plenty of rumors - the biggest of which suggested that Apple's mixed reality headset may be delayed until late 2023, as well as the customary watch launches. 

Apple was once again in the news, releasing the Oceanic+ app for the Apple Watch Ultra - a partnership with Huish Outdoors it featured heavily in the smartwatch's initial announcement - while also releasing plenty of new sports tracking features for Apple Watch users.

And to round off a memorable year, Huawei fittingly released the Watch Buds - a smartwatch with the ability to house wireless earbuds under the display. We're still getting our head around the idea, really, and it was certainly a worthy winner of our Innovation of the Year award.

TAGGED Wearables

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Conor Allison

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Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 


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