Category Archives: smart watch

FDA Warns Against Using Smartphones And Smart Rings To Measure Blood Sugar



The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Wednesday about the risks of using smartwatches and smart rings that claim to measure blood glucose levels without piercing the skin, CNN reported.

According to CNN, the FDA notes that it has not authorized or approved any smartwatch or smart ring that is intended to measure blood glucose levels on its own. The use of these devices can lead to inaccurate measurements of blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, and errors in diabetes management that can be life-threatening, the agency warned.

These unauthorized devices are different from smartwatch apps that display data from FDA-approved continuous glucose monitoring devices that pierce the skin.

The FDA did not name specific brands but said the sellers of these unauthorized smartwatches and smart rings advertise using “non-invasive techniques” to measure blood glucose without requiring people to prick their fingers or pierce their skin. However, these devices do not directly test blood glucose levels, the agency said, urging consumers to avoid buying them for that purpose.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted the following warning:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers, patients, caregivers, and health care providers of risks related to using smartwatches or smart rings that claim to measure blood glucose levels (blood sugar) without piercing the skin. These devices are different from smartwatch applications that display data from FDA-authorized blood glucose measuring devices that pierce the skin, like continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGMs). The FDA has not authorized, cleared, or approved any smartwatch or smart ring that is intended to measure or estimate blood glucose values on its own.

For people with diabetes, inaccurate blood glucose measurements can lead to errors in diabetes management, including taking the wrong dose of insulin, sulfonylureas, or other medications that can rapidly lower blood glucose. Taking too much of these medications can quickly lead to dangerously low glucose, leading to mental confusion, coma, or death within hours of the error…

The Verge reported if you see a smartwatch or smart ring for sale that claims to non-invasively measure your blood glucose levels, don’t believe it.

According to The Verge, to be crystal clear, no major wearable maker has a smartwatch or smart ring that’s currently capable of this. The most any Apple Watch, Fitbit, Samsung watch, or Oura Ring can do is support integrations with an FDA-authorized continuous glucose monitor (CCM), which are wearable devices that use needles to read blood sugar levels. These integrations allow users to monitor data gathered from connected CGMs that have companion smartphone apps.

Instead of those well-known wearables, the FDA’s warning seems to target scammy devices making unsubstantiated claims.

In my opinion, I think that the FDA stepping in to make it abundantly clear that smartwatches and smart rings can provide inaccurate information is a good way to protect people from harm. Those who have diabetes need to know this before they purchase one of the inaccurate, no-needle-stick, versions.


OnePlus Watch 2 Launches Next Week at MWC



OnePlus LogoOnePlus is returning to wrists with the OnePlus Watch 2, three years after their first model came out in Spring 2021. The details on the new model are fairly scarce with only a few pictures, a promised 100 hour battery life and a quote from the  COO and President of OnePlus, Kinder Liu.

After a three-year hiatus and a reflective pause following the OnePlus Watch 1, the Watch 2 re-emerged, and we are more confident than ever about this product. This confidence is not unfounded, it’s built on a foundation of substantial advancements in our technological ecosystem and capabilities. Watch 2 indicates our determination to transform from “Flagship Killer” to “Ecosystem builder”. It will provide you with experience that’s not just improved, but transformed.”

In addition, a 100 hour battery life has been claimed while in Smart Mode – that’s 4 and a bit days, if you are trying to do the maths and failing. That comfortably exceeds the duration of competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch series which tops out at 80 hours for the 5 Pro.

The Watch 2 will follow the design aesthetics of the new 12 and 12R smartphones, and will come in two versions, Black Steel and Radiant Steel.

There’s no news on the OS but the smart money is on a WearOS device rather than the proprietary OS of the Watch 1. OnePlus seems to be all-in with Google as OnePlus rounds out the ecosystem but it’s not without pitfalls While the Pixel Watch 2 looks great, it’s battery life is poor and Google’s approach to Fitbit hasn’t exactly endeared itself to fans of the original brand. There’s definitely an opportunity here if OnePlus executes well.

Price hasn’t been revealed though there are some discount offers over at OnePlus for early interest.

The OnePlus Watch 2 will be fully launched at MWC in Barcelona on Monday 26th February. More news then.


Xiaomi October Global Launch – Smartphones, Vacuums, Tablets and Earbuds



Xiaomi Logo - an orange squircle with stylised white MI lettersReturning to an in-person event, Xiaomi‘s global launch took place in Munich, Germany with Abi Go, Head of Product Marketing, kicking off the event. Looking at the company, Xiaomi are now #266 in the Fortune Global 500, primarily through 160% growth in the premium smartphone category. The phones are no longer cheap and cheerful, and the Xiaomi 12 received some good reviews, including from myself. Xiaomi isn’t only about phones too – they’re rapidly growing in autonomous driving and robotics as well – but as you’ll see from the launches, Xiaomi is getting well established in consumer electronics.

First up was the Xiaomi 12T series, with the 12T and the 12T Pro smartphones. Both very similar in design, with a large main lens dominating the camera array on the rear. To reinforce this, the Pro comes with a whopping 200 MP main sensor and the standard 12T is fitted out with a still-fairly-big 108 MP sensor. Every part of the imaging system has been optimised, from the lens (8P) to the sensor (1/1.22″) and the software (advanced imaging processing). The new ProCut software uses AI to crop and frame images to make any scene look its very best, and the In-sensor zoom allows 2x zoom at the sensor level for clear portraiture. Both phones have an 8MP ultrawide, a 2MP macro and 20MP selfie camera on the front.

Inside the 12T Pro is a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with a MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Ultra featuring in the 12T itself. Each chipset offers significant improvements in performance and power consumption over the previous generation. Both phones sport a 6.67″ 1220p resolution and 120 Hz CrystalRes AMOLED display covered by Gorilla Glass 5. The AdaptiveSync display will adjust the screen frequency for a fast and smooth refresh when needed and then revert to a lower power saving rate when not. Sound is by Harmon/Kardon and supports Dolby Atmos for a detailed and rich soundscape.

Keeping the power on is a 5,000 mAh battery with 120 W charging which will charge the battery from 0% to 100% in 19 minutes. With all the improvements to the CPU, the display and the battery, users can expect 13.5 hours of normal screen-on time and nearly 8 hours of gaming. That’s impressive.

Coming in three colours: blue, black and silver, the phones look, and I imagine, feel the part. The Xiaomi 12T Series will be available for sale starting on 20th October via Xiaomi official channels. The Xiaomi 12T Pro (8GB+128GB) will have an RRP of GB£699, and the Xiaomi 12T comes in two storage variants, 8GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB, with an RRP of £499 and £549 respectively.

Next up were vacuum cleaners, starting with the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum X10+ which offers great cleaning for carpets with mop pads that lift up out of the way when the robot encounters carpet. S-Cross AI uses a pile of extra sensors to navigate the home and avoid hazards. X10+ comes with an all-in-one docking station that charges the robot, empties the dirt bag, cleans the mop pads and adds water to the X10+’s reservoir. Of course, the X10+ can be controlled by an app too. The vacuum robot is priced at 899€.

The W10 Wet Dry vacuum series are a series of wet and dry battery powered vacuum cleaners with a variety of features from assisted power, heated water rollers and base stations. Prices start from 599€.

The third set was for TVs and Xiaomi’s second generation TV Q2 series with QLED screens will come in 50″, 55″ and 65″ sizes. All the TVs support Dolby Vision IQ and Google TV is built-in. Prices start from 599€

Xiaomi’s been producing smart bands for several years and this time it’s the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro. It’s a bit bigger than the previous bands but it’s much more stylish in a rectangular design that’s in keeping with current trends, i.e. it looks a fair bit like one of the market leading smart watches. The 1.64″ AMOLED screen is 84% bigger than the previous generation and the 7 Pro now has GNSS (GPS) built-in for route tracking so your smartphone doesn’t have to come along for the tracking. As before, the Band 7 Pro comes in a range of colours with two new vegan bands, pine green and moon grey, added to the selection. Battery life is around 12 days. All this doubles the cost and the Band 7 Pro will be priced at GB£84.99 / 99€.

Finally, Xiaomi announced the Redmi Pad, an all-in-one pad for fun. The Redmi Pad comes as a slim and durable medal unibody and is available in mint green, graphite grey and moonlight silver. At 445g it’s roughly twice to three times the weight of a phone but it’s easily portable. The screen is 10.6″ with 2K resolution at 90 Hz and the viewing experience is enhanced by quad speakers supporting Dolby Atmos. Inside is the MediaTek Helio G99 CPU along with an 8000 mAh battery. The camera is sensitively placed along the long edge to make video calls a little bit more natural (cf Samsung Galaxy Tab series) and FocusFrame tracks the users faces to ensure they’re in the picture. MIUI has been enhanced for the Pad and prices start at GB£269 / 279€ for the 3GB+64MB variant. I like this…

Although not covered in the presentation, Xiaomi also announced the Redmi Buds 4 Pro and Redmi Buds 4. Both offer noise cancellation and charging cases. The Redmi Buds 4 Pro offer 9 hours of listening on a single charge with a total of 30 hours when the charging case is used. The Buds 4 will go 6 hours on a single charge but offer 36 hours total when recharged from the case. Redmi Buds 4 and Redmi Buds 4 Pro available from £49.99 and £84.99 respectively via Xiaomi’s official channels. Available in the UK from 4th October.

The livestream is available here.


Pre-Orders Open for OnePlus Watch



OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad has produced two very well-received devices in the shape of the 9 and 9 Pro smartphones. I’ve been using the OnePlus 9 for a couple of weeks now and it’s a lovely phone that takes great pictures…but we’re not here to talk about the phones but rather the new OnePlus Watch.

A Black Smart WatchThe OnePlus Watch is the company’s first global foray into wearables (ignoring the OnePlus Band which was only available in India) and pre-orders open on Wednesday 14th April for the two new smartwatches. Priced at GB£149/US$159/€159, it’s competitive against similar smartwatches from Fitbit, Samsung and Huawei. Deliveries are expected at the end of the month and the Watch goes on general sale on 30th April.

Two models are expected to up for pre-order, Moonlight Silver and Midnight Black, with the announced Cobalt Limited Edition coming later. With a 46 mm case, it might be a minimalist design but it’s a big watch that’s not going to be missed on anyone’s wrist. The Watch supports over 110 activities including swimming which is possible due to the IP68 water resistance rating. There’s built-in GPS so no need to carry your phone on a run.

The round display is a 1.39″ AMOLED display at 326 ppi and is protected by a sapphire glass crystal which provides good protection against scratches. Handily, the Watch takes standard watch straps so it’s easy to switch them out for something more personal.

Battery life is rated at over 2 weeks (yep, two weeks) and even the most active athlete will get over a week. The Watch uses Warp Charging and about 40 minutes will get it charged up from flat.

I’m looking forward to buying one for myself: I really need to lose a few pounds after lockdown but I think I’m going to wait for the Cobalt LE.

Pre-orders open Wednesday at OnePlus.com and Amazon.co.uk for £149.


OnePlus 9 Series Launches Tomorrow To No-one’s Surprise



OnePlus‘ spring event usually heralds the launch of the company’s products for the year, with a further hardware refresh in the autumn – the xT models. This past year’s been a bit different on two fronts, and not just because of a global pandemic. To start with, the Nord series of mid-range phones was announced at a summer event and secondly, the CEO of OnePlus, Pete Lau, seems to have given away all the surprises in advance of the main event. For sure, OnePlus always did drop a few heavy hints as part of the publicity run-up, but this time I think they’ve outdone themselves. Maybe there will be a “one more thing” but who knows?

Here’s what we do know already.

  • There will be three phones, the OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9R for India. Colours are “Morning Mist”, “Pine Green” for the 9 Pro and “Winter Mist” for the 9 but I imagine there will be others. The camera array has moved to the top left and appears to be coloured as the back of the phone.
  • The display is LTPO, QHD+, smart 120Hz refresh, native 10-bit color depth (1.07 billion colors), 1300 nits brightness, MEMC and HDR10+.
  • The phones will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chipset.
  • There will be a 4500 mAh battery with Wireless Warp Charge 50 giving 50 W of wireless charging that will go from 0% to 100% in 43 minutes. Using the cable will take 29 minutes.
  • There’s a strong partnership between OnePlus and Hasselblad to co-produce the imaging on the 9 series with a focus on Natural Colour Calibration. The cameras will use the Sony IMX789 and IMX766 sensors. The latter is used with the ultra-wide lens for 50 MP images. There will be a new tilt-shift feature for that miniature model world look.
    From the pictures, it appears that the 9 will have three lenses with four on the 9 Pro.
  • There might be some interesting cases.
  • A OnePlus Watch will be announced with 110 workout modes. It’s going to have a round dial.

So, if after all that, you still want to watch the launch event, you can follow along at www.oneplus.com/launch with the event kicking off on 23 March at 10:00 am EDT / 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET / 7:30 pm IST.


Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020



At today’s Galaxy Unpacked 2020 online event, the South Korean firm unveiled updates to Samsung Mobile’s tech product line. Broadcasting live from Korea, the event showcased new Samsung smartphones, tablets, earbuds and smartwatch devices.

The Galaxy Note devices have always been big and the new phones don’t disappoint. With 4G and 5G variants, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has a 6.7″ screen and the Note 20 Ultra has a whopping 6.9″ screen. Both have 120 Hz refresh screen and use the fastest processors in the Galaxy line-up. The S-Pen defines the Notes and the handwriting experience has been improved by reducing the latency between the pen moving and the line appearing on the screen to just 9 ms. The phones meet the usual expectations for high end devices in terms of cameras (12 MP ultrawide, 108 MP standard, 12 MP telephoto, 10 MP selfie) and charging – 50% in 30 mins. Pre-orders are open and prices begin at £849 for 4G and £949 for 5G.

Everything now matches in the Galaxy world and there’s three standard colours. Mystic Black, Mystic White and Mystic Bronze, which Samsung is clearly trying grab as “their” colour. The Note phones come in some extra colours too, Mystic Green and Mystic Grey.

Samsung’s tablets are some of the best Android tablets and the range has been updated with the new Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ tablets. The S7 has an 11″ LCD screen and the S7+ is a 12.4″ AMOLED screen with the same 120 Hz refresh rate of the Note 20. The S-Pen works on the tablets with similar low latency and the Tab S7s come with three apps that are designed to maximise use of the S Pen. The note taking app looks impressive and has some great features. It works with the Note smartphone too. Prices begin at GB£799 for the S7+ and GB£619 for the S7. That’s the same price as the current S6. I’m currently in the market for a new tablet….hmm.

Working with Microsoft, Samsung now synchronises with Office tools like OneNote, To Do and Teams. There’s integration between Windows 10 and the Galaxy devices so that you can use the Android apps on the PC. Samsung DeX now works wirelessly, so there’s not need for a dock, and the smartphone can still do phone things when in DeX mode. It all looks pretty slick. It’s not all about the office though as XBox Game Pass is coming to the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 from 21st August. This brings cloud gaming to the phones for gaming on the go.

The new Galaxy Buds Live are bean-shaped wireless earbuds intended for all day use. Resting lightly in the ear and come in the new standard colours of Mystic Bronze, White and Black to  match the phones and tablets. The Buds come with active noise cancellation. Battery life is 6 hours and the case can recharge the earbuds for a total of 21 hours listening time. GB£179.

The new Galaxy Watch 3 comes in two sizes (45 mm and 41 mm), and you guessed it, three colours. There’s a high-end titanium version too. The watch comes with health monitoring blood pressure, ECG and blood oxygen level once regulatory approvals have been gained in each country. As you’d expect, the Watch 3 provides activity tracking for walking, running and other sports. There are over 120 fitness programmes that work with the Watch 3 and Samsung smart TVs. Watch 3 prices begin at GB£399.

And finally….The Galaxy Z Fold2 opens up from clamshell to a tablet. Thinner that the Fold, it has a 6.2″ exterior screen but once opened up it’s 7.6″ inside. The hinge has been analysed and improved. Regrettably, it’s only available in Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. What no Mystic White…? Pre-orders begin on 1st September but price wasn’t announced.


Did Swatch Kill The iWatch?



iswatchIn news reported by the BBC, it seems that Swatch‘s opposition to Apple‘s application for an iWatch trademark in the UK resulted Apple’s smartwatch simply being branded “Apple Watch”.  Overall, the ruling from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office upheld Swatch’s complaint that iWatch was too similar to iSwatch and Swatch, and shouldn’t be used for watches. Although we can’t be privy to the internal thinking of Apple, one could infer that the inability to claim the iWatch trademark in key markets back in 2014 killed iWatch in favour of Apple Watch when announced in 2015.

The whole ruling is here, but aside from the trademark evidence, decision-making and ruling, there’s some interesting commentary on the use of shell company registrants, in this case BrightFlash USA LLC to hide the actions of Apple. If I read the judgement correctly (and I’m certainly not a lawyer), Swatch had tried to accuse Apple of “bad faith” by using BrightFlash to register the trademark, but the registrar dismisses the complaint and Swatch has to to pay Apple GB£2,767 on balance. You win some, you lose some.