We're still recovering from last week's Wareable Tech Awards, but selfishly the world of wearables refuses to take a breath, so here we are, another chockablock week of news to pore over and discuss.
If you've been following along this week you may have seen a few pieces explaining why our Wareable Award winners bagged the top prizes they did. We've also taken a look at the interesting challenges of skin science, checked out Vinci's standalone AI sports hearable, tested our Jedi skills with the Lenovo Mirage and talked to the startups chasing the smart motorcycle helmet dream.
Read this: The week in VR & AR
Oh yeah, we also tested out Google's Pixel Buds, and came away a bit disappointed. Here's what else was up this week.
Garmin Pay is go
Wrist payments are one of the obvious use cases for wearables, and this week Garmin rolled out its own payment service on the Vivoactive 3. In 2017 Garmin has continued to blaze a trail with its running watches, and the Vivoactive 3 was the closest thing to a "smartwatch" that the company has made to date. So Garmin Pay feels like a natural fit for the watch; the question is whether we'll see this on other Garmin devices, like the next generation of Fenix watches, down the road. Garmin has a good track record of rolling out new feature to other products, although sadly Pay requires an NFC chip, so the Fenix 5 line will remain bereft. Garmin's supporting a wide range of US banks from the off, but international support is more limited. Expect that to change as more banks get on board, says Garmin.
It's interesting timing too as Fitbit has just rolled out its own answer, Fitbit Pay (noticing a theme with these names yet?). They join Apple, Samsung and Android Pay too. It feels like contactless payments have finally hit their stride in 2017, and we expect this trend to keep increasing as smartwatches become more capable of standing along from the smartphone.
HTC's Vive Daydream is over, but it's OK
File this away as the big surprise of the week. At the Vive Developer Conference, HTC finally unveiled the standalone Vive headset it's been teasing since Google I/O. Great. Fantastic. Looks snazzy. Just one problem: This one's only for the Chinese market. And oh yeah, the Daydream one we were promised is dead.
Just moments after the headset was revealed, both HTC and Google confirmed that the planned Daydream version, which would run on Google's VR platform, was no longer happening. Clay Bavor, Google's VP of virtual reality, says Google and HTC remain "great partners" despite the cancelation, and said the Lenovo standalone headset is still in the works.
So sad for us - but good for China. HTC cancelled the Daydream version, it says, to focus on the Chinese market, which has become fragmented, but is also shaping up to be a hotbed of innovation. That's why HTC also made Vive Wave, a platform to standardize development and, hopefully, bring a bit more stability.
We're on board. It's a shame to see the Vive Daydream dashed, but we're not going to be short of standalone headsets. Meanwhile if HTC can solve problems in the Chinese market, it should ultimately lead to good things for everyone.
The ingestibles are coming and the kids' smartwatches are going
For the first time in the US, the FDA has approved a pill with an ingestible sensor. The tablet, once swallowed, can alert a wearable smart patch worn over the rib cage that it's been ingested. The patch will be able to monitor information like sleep patterns, heart rate and activity too.
Its primary target is going to be patients with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar, where some patients need to be monitored to ensure they're taking their medication. But there's plenty of scope beyond this to other conditions too.
On the other hand, there are valid concerns regarding patient privacy, which will need to be addressed. In fact privacy has been a hot topic this week, with a regulator banning the sale of children's smartwatches in Germany. Check out the full story here.