After the madness of Black Friday it's been nice to settle back into a normal cycle of wearable news. But that's not to say there hasn't been plenty going on.
This week on the site we took a look at the future of GoPro, caught up on the state of smart pills, picked our favorite new HTC Vive X startups, and got the lowdown on styling smart jewelry with the autumn/winter trends.
Oh yeah, we also chatted to AR glasses maker MAD Gaze (yes, that is its name) about how it fancies its chances in the current market, and argued that smart assistants should migrate from the wrist to the ears.
But what's been going down in the world of news? Here's the skinny
Deep health moves from Apple and KardiaBand
We've long been saying that we're on the edge of moving from basic health tracking (steps, calories etc) to something more meaningful, and this week proved that it's really happening. First, Apple has launched a study on the Apple Watch, via a new app, that will monitor users for irregular heart rhythms. The new app is available now, if you have a Series 1 or newer and are aged 22 or older.
While it's not FDA-approved, and therefore cannot make diagnosis, the app can tell users that they have abnormal rhythms, which could be a sign of a condition like atrial fibrillation. This is a big deal as Apple moves from delivering insights that help users get a bit more fit, to potentially saving lives. This week we also saw the first Apple Watch accessory to get FDA clearance, the KardiaBand, which can also detect AFib. We expect Apple will be trying to get FDA clearance itself before long, especially if it becomes part of the new fast-track system.
Biostrap and Aura Devices, too...
Company Aura Devices also caught our attention this week with the announcement of the Aura Band, which is aimed at delivering more contextual - and therefore, hopefully, more helpful - data. It will automatically track activities, mixing that data with things like heart rate and blood oxygen level and provide a real-time readout.
It's not a world away from Biostrap, which this week updated its fitness tracker with a remote monitoring feature, letting you track the progress of a band wearer. A doctor could remotely monitor a patient, for example, or a basketball coach monitor a player. Biostrap uses metrics like heart rate variability, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation, things you won't find in a lot of other trackers. Right now it's throwing a lot of this data at users without context, but CEO Sameer Sontakey tells us the plan is to make this data more understandable as time goes on.
A good time for Garmin to turn up the tunes
It was a good week for wearable sales predictions. Not only did VR sell 1 million headsets in a quarter for the first time, but IDC said that wearable sales were up 7.3% in the third quarter of 2017, while Forrester predicted that smartwatches will become 55% of the wearables market by 2022.
Which means it's a good time for Garmin to intro its first sports watch with music playback. With devices like the Vivoactive 3 we've seen Garmin inch further into smartwatch territory, and this new feature would be another step in the right direction. That's the expectation, as this week a new Garmin Forerunner 645 Music watch showed up on the company's own website. Whoops. It might have spoiled the surprised, but we're still thrilled to see Garmin doing this, gradually turning these sports watches into all-day smartwatches with a strong fitness element.
More from the week
- Ticwatch S reviewA new affordable smartwatch hero?
- This collar lets you feel what it's like to stutterStacha could promote empathy towards people with speech impediments
- The latest in VR and ARYour weekly roundup of all the VR & AR news, games and recommendations
- Nokia Steel HR reviewThere might be a new name on the face, but this is still a hybrid smartwatch great