Team Wareable has officially vacated Berlin, leaving behind another busy IFA show. IFA always promises to bring the goods, but this year it felt like there was less of the wearable tat and more devices worthy of our attention.
Of course, Berlin couldn't have all the fun. There was a pretty significant leak of the Apple Watch Series 4 - our first glimpse at it in full - while Google announced a Wear OS redesign and Garmin unveiled its latest fitness tracker. This one is worth taking a look at.
Ok, here's what you need to know.
Big launches at IFA
Where to start? Probably with the Fossil Group, which hit the Berlin Messe to show off the latest watch from sub-brand Skagen, the Falster 2. This thing is packed to the gills with features: GPS, NFC, a heart rate sensor and a waterproof design. All while retaining the elegant look that made us fall in love with the first. Cor.
Hands on: Skagen Falster 2 review
Then there was the Diesel On Full Guard 2.5, a behemoth of a smartwatch in design - 56mm wide - and name, which throws in GPS, NFC, heart rate and 3 ATM waterproofing. The watch comes in four colors and Diesel promises improved charging to boot (still 1-2 days of power though, sadly).
Not to be missed out, Sony showed up with the FES Watch U, its e-paper smartwatch that's finally breaking out of Japan. It's expensive, limited in features - and really cool to use. And let's not forget Casio, which was at IFA with the third installment of its Wear smartwatch, the Pro Trek WSD-F30. It's slimmer, offers more battery life, and once again marries a waterproof design and GPS to set the bar in rugged Wear OS smartwatches.
Finally, Garmin announced its new Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker, which adds a pulse ox sensor to track your blood oxygen levels through the day and during sleep. We're currently putting it through testing, so look out for a full review in the coming days.
Google gives Wear OS a new look
Just in time for the new crop of Wear OS watches, Google announced it's giving its smartwatch software an overhaul. We went to Google HQ to learn about the next big Wear OS update, which adds what Google is calling a "proactive assistant". Translation: It's making Google Assistant a bit better at suggesting things to you, rather than waiting for you to ask it stuff. This makes a lot more sense on the wrist, where (post-update) you'll see a new dashboard filled with useful info relevant to your day
Google's also overhauling the notifications tray so you see more with one glance. This is all part of Google's plan to get you looking at your watch less, not more. You can read more about the incoming update here.
Apple Watch Series 4 leaks out
Invites went out this week for Apple's 12 September event, but the company unwittingly stole more of the IFA limelight than intended an image of the Apple Watch Series 4 leaked online. The picture, dug up by 9to5Mac, reveals a smartwatch that, at first glance, looks much like the Series 3. But look a little closer: That display looks bigger, there's a new mic, and the crown's red dot has been replaced with a ring.
There's a new watch face absolutely crammed with widgets and complications, most likely to demonstrate the added screen real estate, something that's been rumored for a while now. And is that a new 'taptic' side button too? All will be revealed on 12 September, but we like what we see so far.
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