Fitbit, Fossil, Healbe Unveil New Wearables At CES 2016

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The International Consumer Electronics Show kicked off in Las Vegas this week, starting what will be the biggest electronics conference of the year. The event is expected to draw nearly 200,000 visitors and 4,000 companies from across the globe. CES is regularly used as a platform for new product releases, and 2016 has proven to be no exception. On its first day, Fitbit, Fossil, and wearable newcomer Healbe have unveiled new devices.

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Fitbit unveils the Blaze, its newest fitness tracker. The company has dominated market share in the fitness tracker market with such a significant competitive edge that competitor Jawbone has filed complaints against it for turning the industry into a monopoly. Analysts were lukewarm about the future of the fitness tracker market as recently as last year because consensus was that smartwatches from Apple, Samsung, and others would absorb the customer base. By most accounts, Fitbit is on track to avoid that outcome, but looks to be adding another layer of security with its newest tracker. The Blaze is, more or less, a Fitbit smartwatch. The Blaze introduces a new color screen with custom watch faces, and comes with several options for different watch bands. In addition to the standard activity tracking options, the Blaze syncs with a smartphone and supports call, text, GPS navigation, and calendar updates.

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Fossil has also introduced a new smartwatch, the Q54 Pilot. This is Fossil’s third smartwatch and continues with its theme of designing smartwatches that look like a traditional wristwatch. The device has no digital display, but syncs with a smartphone and delivers notifications to the user through a series of custom vibrations and LED alerts. Users can configure the watch so that different apps are set to trigger unique notifications.

Healbe is also back at CES this year, unveiling the second generation of its controversial calorie-counting tracker. The company launched after a successful Indiegogo campaign last year that raised more than $1 million. Healbe has claimed that its wearable, called Gobe, can passively calculate caloric intake, something a number of scientists and device engineers claim to be impossible. The company found itself the subject of a number of scathing reports from mainstream tech media claiming that its technology was fictional and that it was committing fraud with its claims. Still, Healbe completed its crowdfunding campaign, shipped the units it promised, and is now back at CES with a second-generation tracker that also boasts calorie-counting technology. Healbe’s first-generation tracker received largely negative reviews for its clunky design and buggy OS, but some independent testing seemed to suggest that its calorie-counting technology was more accurate than anyone expected it would be. The second generation Gobe brings a new, smaller and lighter design, a more accurate accelerometer, and a galvanic skin-response sensor.

The rest of the week will undoubtedly include more wearables unveils from the CES showroom.


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