Tag Archives: smart watch

Fitbit Refreshes Flex 2 and Charge 2



Fitbit LogoFitbit has continued the refresh of its fitness tracker range with new iterations of the Flex and Charge HR models. The Flex 2 is a direct replacement for the original Flex and the Charge 2 takes over from the Charge HR. If you were wondering, the Alta took over from the standard Charge.

Fitbit Flex 2As with the original the Flex, the Flex 2 comprises a small capsule tracker fitted into a range of bands, bangles and pendants to suit the activity. The key point about the Flex range is that its swim-proof, making it the essential tracker for the swimmer. As with the first one, the Flex 2 uses the same LED dots to denote steps taken, albeit in a different orientation. The new tracker auto recognises exercise and notifies on calls or texts coming into your mobile phone.  As before, the Flex 2 shows steps taken, calories burned and records sleep. I’m slightly disappointed that the wristband (available in four colours for now) doesn’t have a standard buckle to avoid loss, but it does appear to have been re-designed. Pre-order in the UK for just under GB£80. Expected to ship in October.

Fitbit Charge 2The new Charge 2 falls into FitBit’s Active Fitness range and takes the fitness tracker to the next level, with multisport tracking, cardio fitness level and guided breathing sessions. Of course it measures paces, steps, calories, steps, sleep and heart rate as the original Charge HR  (although the HR moniker has been dropped) and it now has connected GPS, which means that the Charge 2 can use the paired phone’s GPS to track routes. The Charge 2’s screen is customisable and there’s a choice of clock faces.

Leather BandAn improvement on the original is that the wristbands can be switched out, with a tasty looking leather band available (at GB£59.99 mind you!) The screen’s bigger as well and can show calendar alerts in addition to calls and texts. If the Charge 2 appeals, it can be pre-ordered for GB£129.99 for delivery in 2-3 weeks.

I’m currently testing the Charge HR, courtesy of Fitbit, and I’ll be reporting on my impressions of that soon.


MainTool Smart Strap at Wearable Tech Show



Maintool logoUndoubtedly smart watches have their place but few watch aficionados are going to replace their Swiss timepiece with a mass-produced device of limited lifespan. MainTool have a potential answer for those who want both the horology and the smarts. Andrew finds out more from Asier.

The MainTool’s concept is simple. Instead of building the sensors into the watch, put the electronics into the leather strap. Brilliant! Like many activity trackers, the MainTool smart strap measures steps, heart rate, sleep and temperature. For smartphone owners, the strap provides alarms and call notifications passed from the phone via Bluetooth. Calls can be rejected from the MainTool strap too. As expected, there’s a complementary smartphone app.

On the practical side, the MainTool smart strap is waterproof and has around 2-3 weeks of battery life. The picture shows the naked electronics before it’s put inside the leather strap.

Aimed at the B2B market, expect to see this coming to market within the next few months.

Maintool Smart Strap


The Gator Watch Phone Tracker at Wearable Tech Show



Gator WatchThe Gator watch phone and tracker is for kids who need a little independence but are too young for a smartphone. Andrew interviews Colleen from Techsixtyfour to find out the benefits of this Tracy-esque watch.

The Gator watch looks like a stylish smart watch with both analogue and digital displays, but it’s also a wearable mobile phone that lets the child call two pre-defined numbers, e.g. mum and dad, whenever needed. The watch can only receive calls from registered numbers so while family and friends can call the child, there’s no danger of strangers or bullies calling. For further peace of mind, parents can track the location of the child on a map.

The SIM card inside works with multiple carriers to minimise the risk of being in a dead spot and the Gator can roam through most of the EU. Battery life is around 4 days.

The Gator will be shipping next month and can be pre-ordered for GB£89. The RRP will be £99 when on-sale. A mobile contract is needed too, costing £9 per month.

Gator Watch for Kids


Where Are The Smart Watches?



Michael KorsQueuing for rides at theme parks is a great opportunity for sizing up the fashions of fellow thrill seekers. Everyone docilely shuffles along and the folding line passes lots of people both in front and behind. As a watch fan, I enjoy checking out the timepieces around me and at Disneyland, Paris, there was plenty to see in the warm weather.

The wrists of Disney’s guests provided a good selection of horology from Rolexes and Omegas to Tissots and Casios. Michael Kors must be selling watches by the truckload: there were probably more of these fashion watches than anything else. What slightly surprised me was the dearth of smart watches. In five days at the House of Mouse and hundreds of people, I saw two Apple watches, one Sony smartwatch and a handful of Pebbles.

The Sony owner was next to me at one point and I engaged him in conversation about the watch. He confessed that it had been a gift and he didn’t use it very much. Interestingly, both the Apple watches were on women’s wrists. I’m not quite too sure what to take away from that…perhaps they were gifts too, or perhaps Apple has made the watches sufficiently fashionable and appealing that women will be the leaders here. Or perhaps it was pure coincidence.

Where are the smart watches? They’re not at Disneyland, that’s for sure.


Motorola Spring Special Offers in UK



Motorola M LogoLooking for a new smartphone or smart watch in the UK and fancy a Moto X, Nexus 6 or Moto 360? Motorola is having a two day Spring sale starting at midnight tonight, Sunday, (00:01 18 May) and running through to midnight on Tuesday night.

For the Moto X smartphone, save £96 on 16 GB and 32 GB handsets, with prices starting from £299 and £339 respectively off contract.

Moto 360On the Nexus 6 smartphone, save £30 on Midnight Blue or Cloud White Nexus 6 32 GB and 64 GB handsets, with prices starting from £449 and £519 also off contract.

Finally, save £50 on a Moto 360 smart watch in Stone or Black leather with prices starting from £149.

I really liked the Moto X when I reviewed for GNC back in January and now that has been updated with Lollipop I’m sure it’s even better. With a 5.2″ screen, it might suit the smaller pocket rather than a 6″ screen, but if bigger is better, it’s hard to go wrong with the Nexus 6.

Watch for the UK special offers on this page.


The (Non?) Case For Wearables



It is often difficult to determine in advance which new products or services will catch on, versus which ones are just temporary flashes in the pan.

Some of the fog can be dispelled by determining if the new product or service actually serves a practical long term purpose in the real world.

The desktop computer caught on because it rolled a large number of existing useful functions such as document creation, accounting functions, etc. into a single, networkable device.

As laptop versions of computers became more powerful, laptop sales outpaced desktop sales. Laptops were more portable and just as capable for most uses.

Mobile devices have caught on because they take the most useful bits and bobs of computer networking functionality and put them into an easily pocketable form factor. The very best mobile apps actually perform specific tasks more quickly and conveniently than could be done using a full-blown computer. For example, a well-designed mobile banking app significantly decreases the time it takes to perform everyday banking tasks as contrasted to the time it would take the same person to log on to the bank’s website to accomplish the same tasks.

Do wearable computing devices make any existing networked computing tasks easier and/or more convenient? Using the mobile banking example, a mobile banking app on a wearable wrist computer would have to make it significantly faster to perform basic banking tasks than could be accomplished with the attached smartphone. Interacting with a one inch screen offers extremely limited functional opportunity or efficiency. Talking in to a wrist computer to accomplish banking tasks is not practical in the real world.

There are a number of uses for devices that contain differing types of sensors and recording capabilities. Many of these types of devices inevitably end up unused and forgotten once the novelty wears off, which could indicate the potential for fading fad popularity.

Wrist notifications are cited as a potential use. These notifications could be advantageous for certain people in certain types of circumstances. However, they could also prove to be dangerously distracting, say for example while driving. Interacting with mobile devices while driving is a very real traffic fatality problem, and a wrist notification for many people could prove to be an irresistible temptation.

The people who are constantly texting (the mobile equivalent of Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger from yesteryear) will not be typing on a one-inch screen – it is just too small. The alternative to use voice-to-text is not practical. If you think people yelling into cell phones in public is a problem, just imagine those same people yelling text messages into their wrist computing device!

Will it be possible for developers to take significant bits and bobs of existing networked computing functions and concentrate them into a wrist form that is faster and more efficient to interact with than the smart phone they are tethered to? If not, the future for wearable computing devices is in serious doubt.


GNC #963 – Guest Host Mike Dell



Todd is still out for one more show, enjoying his Vacation somewhere in the lower 48, I’m Mike Dell, from Podcast Help Desk, former Geek of the North and I will be your host for tonights show. Most of you don’t know me unless you have been around podcasting a long time. I used to do a show called Geek of the North which was a Tech Show. I have since Podfaded that show and I now do a relatively new show called Podcast Help Desk  at podcasthelpdesk.com where I talk about the geeky techie side of podcasting and help people get setup and going with their podcast.

It’s great to be back with the GNC listeners!  I last hosted this show on November 10th 2008 Show #415.   A LOT of water has gone under the bridge since then!

NO VIDEO Today.  I have a Face for Radio :) g

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Show Notes:

 

Smaller, better Google Glass?

Square Phones?  What are they thinking??

Android Screen Mirroring to chromecast is out now

Drone Operators Arrested in New York

Cockpit cameras – Good idea or bad?

Solar Sail craft to hitch ride with Spacex in 2016

Want a tour of the USAF Museum restoration hangers?

Smartwaches reviewed

Aereo uses Supreme court ruling to get back in business as a cable provider.

Company with $39 in assets now worth over $5billion!

Happy 6th Birthday Apple Appstore

The most common misconceptions about the big 8 tech companies

Applebees No Tech Tuesdays

5 to 8 times more battery on your tech toys!

10 highest paying Tech Companies to intern for