Electronista, MacNN staff discuss the new announcements from the fall event
A great deal of conversation between the MacNN and Electronista staff happens behind the scenes, especially when something like keynotes are ongoing. This week's annual Apple mobile announcement is no different. Writers Mike and Jordan, along with editor Charles, tackle some of the issues surrounding the mass-media Apple reveal that Tim Cook helmed today, showing the iPhone 6 family, and the Apple Watch.
Swatch Sistem 51 is a very smart traditional watch
While the gadgets that we usually cover on the site are high-tech, occasionally a 'low-tech' gadget comes along that can be just as desirable. The new Swatch Sistem 51shows that there is still plenty of innovation taking place in the traditional watch market, despite all the attention shifting towards smartwatches. Recently launched in the U.S., the Swatch Sistem 51 is the Swiss company's first automatic watch and was made to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Like the original Swatch quartz watch released in 1983, which was comprised of 51 components, the namesake Sistem 51's minimal 51 part count making it the least complex automatic watch ever made - which, ironically, took substantial engineering efforts to bring it to market given most automatic watches contain over 100 parts.
Plain dial of Withings Activite hides activity tracking, sleep monitoring hardware
Withings has unveiled a fitness tracker embedded in a traditional-looking watch. The Withings ActivitÃ© combines the typical functions of a fitness tracker, such as the Pulse, but hides the majority of its functionality behind a plain watchface, with the only clues to the device's capabilities being the logo and a secondary dial showing the percentage of progress made towards a fitness goal.
Digital watch adds touchscreen, applications in uncomfortable platform
Watches have been around far longer than any Internet denizen has been alive. First appearing in the 15th century, they have been important to functionality and timeliness of people for hundreds of years. However, watches haven't changed much -- outside of the invention of the crystal-based digital watches dating back relatively recently. Now, smart watches from companies like Samsung and (allegedly) Apple are looking to change watches again. But is there still room for advancements in standard of watches that people will widely adopt? Phosphor aims to find out with the Touch Time.
GPS running watch can track heart rate, synchronizes with online service
Garmin has introduced what the company claims to be its lowest-priced GPS-enabled running watch. The Forerunner 15 is a step down from the more-recent Forerunner and Fenix releases, in that it keeps track of standard running-related statistics and activity tracking functions, but without adding enhanced features nor smart watch-style smartphone connectivity.
Watches connect to app, able to predict race completion times
GPS producer Garmin has added to its sports watch line with two new thin devices. The Forerunner 620 and Forerunner 220 have one-inch Chroma color displays that can alert the user to their fastest mile or other important milestones, with the Forerunner 620 also adding the ability to monitor the wearer during the run itself.
Smartwatch being prototyped by Surface team, using translucent aluminum
The team behind the Microsoft Surface are working on a smartwatch for the company, according to reports. The wrist-based device, surfacing in rumors back in April, is apparently being prototyped by the team, which could end up adding Microsoft to an ever-increasing list of companies that are manufacturing smartwatches.
Sony SmartWatch 2 can pair with smartphone using one-touch NFC
Sony has revealed it is making a second wearable computing device, something the company teased at the end of last week. The Sony SmartWatch 2 offers a larger 1.6-inch, 220x176-resolution touchscreen display compared to an earlier version of the watch, and this time adds a casing that's declared to be both dust and water resistant to an IP57 rating.
Pebble smartwatch firmware update adds multiple notifications, watchface
The Pebble smartwatch has received a firmware update, introducing more changes to the user interface. Notifications have been updated to allow for multiple items to be viewed, the UI for setting the time has been reworked, and the wearer's current speed in the RunKeeper app can now be viewed from the Pebble display. The minimalist Simplicity watchface has been added as an option instead of the Fuzzy Time watchface, which has now been transitioned to the watchapp library, according to the version 1.11 firmware release notes.
Factory creating 15,000 Pebble watches per week
The Pebble smart watch will be shipping to backers on January 23rd. Company CEO Eric Migicovsky made the announcement at CES, adding that the e-paper timepiece will be shipping in batches, and is good news to Kickstarter backers that have waited for the wrist-based gadget, including through a number of production delays.
Simplified smartwatch boasts two-year battery, shockproofing
Casio has started shipping a wristwatch with built-in Bluetooth connectivity to the US. The G-Shock GB6900, shown off late last year and faced delays coming to market caused by flooding in Thailand, is capable of connecting to Bluetooth 4.0 smartphones such as the iPhone 4S, and showing various updates on the watch face.
Timepiece could provide Glass system without headset
Google has patented a smart watch where the front turns into a flip-up transparent touchscreen. According to the patent, the wirelessly-connected timepiece would allow the user to see notifications and messages from other devices, like other smart watches, as well as providing some of the functionality of Project Glass when using it to look at nearby objects.
Scratch-resistant watch includes smartphone connectivity
Garmin is introducing another product in its watch-based GPS line. The Fenix Outdoor Watch, aimed at outdoor enthusiasts such as mountaineers and hikers, packs an assortment of instruments including optimized altimeter, barometer, and compass sensors alongside the satellite navigation system.
Our look at HTC's 2012 Android 4 flagship phone
For HTC, 2011 was sometimes considered a write-off: what looked to be a promising year with an early 4G lead saw the company overwhelmed by Apple and Samsung, and even by its own at times confusing lineup with problematic phones like the Thunderbolt. The One series for 2012 is the reboot, a return to basics with an emphasis on high-end design and even stripping back the custom Sense interface layer. We'll determine in our review of the HTC One X in 4G LTE trim, and to some extent the Evo 4G LTE, whether HTC is back to being a fierce competitor for the iPhone and Galaxy roster.
HTC stake in SyncTV signals video service plans
HTC on Monday bought a 20 percent stake in SyncTV for what could be a sign of larger content ambitions. The deal comes partly in return for patent licenses from SyncTV's parent Intertrust Technologies and gives it access to SyncTV's techniques for digital copy protection. The exact aims weren't mentioned other than a "broad strategic technology partnership" between the two sides.
HTC Raider arrives in Canada ahead of the US
Preempting the US event for the Rezound next week, HTC on Thursday planned to bring its international equivalent, the Raider, to North America first through Canada. Both Bell and Rogers are getting the LTE-based 4G version of the phone and can stream HD videos or otherwise get online faster still than either carrier's regular HSPA+ network. Accordingly, either version can tap into HTC's Watch movie store or use the 4G for a hotspot, although low LTE bandwidth caps may discourage using either feature often.
Amazon CEO says ecosystem key to tablets, more
Most of those who have failed at tablets and other home electronics were too focused on the hardware alone, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in an interview following the launch of the Kindle Fire tablet. He explained to TechCrunch that Amazon would do well with the Kindle Fire because it treated the Android slate as an "end-to-end service," not just an isolated design. It was the software and the content that defined a tablet, and those who didn't create a complete effect have struggled.
HTC dual-core Sensation 4G gets Bell release
Bell gained the distinction of being the first if not only Canadian carrier to get the HTC Sensation 4G. Its version will be much like the international version of the 1.2GHz, dual-core Android 2.3 phone but switch over to Bell's HSPA frequencies, also shared with most Canadian carriers and AT&T, and carry 14.4Mbps. The carrier is pushing its Mobile TV app for live streaming but also plans to carry HTC's Watch movie store.
Evo 3D gets 3D Blockbuster, HTC Watch, Gameloft
Sprint on Tuesday confirmed plans for the HTC Evo 3D to ship with 3D content both on and ready for the phone. The dual-core Android hardware will come with the recently hinted 3D version of Green Hornet and tap into 3D movie services as well. Both Blockbuster and HTC's own Watch will be onboard with 3D movies as an option to buy or rent from either store.
HTC Flyer up for Best Buy orders April 25
Best Buy wrapped up Friday by detailing more of its launch plans for the HTC Flyer with Wi-Fi. Pre-orders will start on April 25 and will see the 16GB tablet cost $499. The release date was kept vague and only promised a release in the spring.
New Garmin GPS systems
Garmin recently unveiled its Colorado series of handheld GPS units, and the Forerunner 405 wrist-worn GPS device, as well as the super-sized Nuvi 5000 for use in large vehicles. The Colorado 400t uses a 3-inch color screen to display three-dimensional topographic maps, and is pre-loaded with a complete map covering the US. Tracks, waypoints, and geocaches can be wirelessly transferred with other units, and the device’s “Rock n Roller” thumbwheel makes the device easy to navigate. Garmin will show the new lineup at CES 2008, and although a release date was not mentioned, the Colorado 400 series devices sell for $600.