Smartwatches and other wearables Archive

Are we to expect laptops to be mobile phones?

Article

Dell XPS 13 8th Generation Ultrabook at QT Melbourne rooftop bar

Ultraportables soon to serve the same role as smartphones

Cellular voice could be the next step in merging phones and PCs | Windows Central

My Comments

An increasing trend we are seeing with regular desktop and laptop computers is that they are being used for voice and video telephony. Thu is being driven by messaging apps of the Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber kind being ported to desktop operating systems; along with softphone applications that provide telephony functionality being made available for these operating systems. The softphone applications, along with Skype are even legitimising this usage case with laptops in the business environment turning them in to secondary or replacement phone extensions.

Headsets like the JBL E45BT Bluetooth headset are used with laptops to make voice calls with messaging apps and soon this will happen for mobile telephony

With these setups, you can talk with the caller using the computer’s integrated or attached microphone and speakers. Or, should you want the same level of privacy associated with holding a handset up to your ear, you can talk to the caller using a wired or Bluetooth headset, of which I have reviewed many on HomeNetworking01.info.

Microsoft and others in the “open-frame” computing world are pushing along with the Always Connected PC which runs ARM RISC microarchitecture rather than the traditional Intel-based CISC kind. These ultraportable computers will also be equipped with a wireless broadband modem that is authenticated using eSIM technology.

The idea is to eventually have these computers become like a smartphone with them linked to the cellular mobile network. It is also alongside the fact that today’s smartphones are effectively pocket computers running a mobile operating system.

It could be easy to say that the Always Connected PC concept is irrelevant because one can “tether” a computer to a smartphone to have access to the mobile broadband service, whether through a USB connection or a Wi-Fi-based “hotspot” function that mobile operating systems support. Or we can simply connect our computers and phones to Wi-Fi networks including publicly-accessible networks like hotspots. For that matter, computers can also be connected to other network types like Ethernet or HomePlug AV networks.

Android main interactive lock screen

Smartphones now are pocket computers

Let’s not forget that the GSM Association and the Wi-Fi Alliance are looking at Wi-Fi networks as a way of providing data-offload functionality. This is through mobile carriers like BT and Telstra offering FON-style community Wi-Fi networks and the Wi-Fi Alliance using Passpoint / Hotspot 2.0 as a way to provide hands-off login to public-access networks.

The Wi-Fi functionality is also being taken further in the context of smartphone-based voice telephony with the use of VoWLAN as another call-transport option for these devices. Some mobile telcos like Telstra even use this as a way to provide voice telephony continuity to their customers if they can’t reach the cellular network but can use Wi-Fi-based Internet.

The focus now is towards the concept of always-connected portable computing with a secure and consistent connectivity experience. This is being brought on through the use of 5G mobile-broadband technology and the interest in edge computing which provides support for localised data processing and storage in a cloud environment.

The eSIM is being pitched as a way to provision mobile service in an online manner, especially to vary the service to suit one’s needs or switch to a competing mobile telco. It also is placing pressure upon mobile telcos to adopt a “service-focused” approach with the idea of having multiple devices on the same mobile account and plan, ringing to the same mobile number and using the same data allowance. The goal with mobile telephony will then be to make or take a voice or video call or send and receive messages on the device that you currently are using rather than changing to a different device for that task.

Connected cars even to be another logical device for one’s mobile service account.

This concept has been driven by the Apple Watch and will be pushed on with smartwatches that have built-in mobile broadband modems. But it will be extended through other devices like smartphones, Always Connected PCs and connected vehicles. There is also the idea of implement the equivalent of a local area network across devices tied to the same service and this will be driven by the trend towards ubiquitous ambient computing.

A question that will come about is the ability to maintain multiple different services on the same physical device whether from the same telco or different telcos. This will be about maintaining separate services for business and private use. Or it could be about travellers who want to maintain a local service while at their destination along with their “home” service. This is a feature that is of relevance in countries where cross-border commuting is the norm thanks to land borders or short affordable ferry rides.

This could be addressed through support for multiple services including the ability to provision a cluster of multiple devices with the one service simultaneously. This same issue can also address the ability for us to use the conventional Internet service based around a hardwired broadband service with a Wi-Fi and / or Ethernet local network in the premises.

What I see out of this new trend is that if your computing device has mobile broadband or connection to the Internet via a local-area network, along with a speaker and microphone, it will become the one-stop computing and communications device. It doesn’t matter what shape or size it is in, being a smartphone, laptop or whatever. As well, the right-sized computing device will serve your computing and communications needs as you see fit.

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What is the eSIM all about for mobile broadband

Articles

SIM card

These SIM cards will be embedded in subsequent generations of mobile devices including Always Connected PCs

It’s time to embrace the eSIM | Engadget

What Is an eSIM, and How Is It Different From a SIM Card? | How-To Geek

‘Telstra One Number’ Is Telstra’s New eSIM Tech | Gizmodo

eSIM feature to arrive with Windows 10 Version 1803 for always connected PCs | WinCentral

My Comments

A trend that will have an impact on devices that use cellular-based wireless broadband technology is for them to implement eSIM authentication.

What is the eSIM technology?

It is effectively an embedded SIM which is a hardwired equivalent of the SIM card that authenticates you to a mobile-telephony / wireless-broadband service as a customer.

One of the key advantages to this approach over the traditional user-replaceable SIM card is that there isn’t a need to design a large user-accessible space in a mobile device to accommodate one of these cards. Instead, the customer’s wireless-broadband service is provisioned to their device “over the air” rather than having to encode a SIM card to hand over to the customer to be installed in the device. It is similar to the online provisioning and service activation process implemented for some prepaid mobile-telephony / wireless-broadband services sold through ordinary retailers in some markets.

What devices will this appeal to?

This approach appeals to the wearables market where size does certainly matter but is also appealing towards the connected car where there isn’t a desire to create a cavity for a SIM to be installed. Just lately, the eSIM technology is also appealing to the “always-connected” ultraportable laptops thanks to the next major functionality iteration of Windows 10 having software support for this functionality baked in.

Let’s not forget that newer smartphones, USB modems and MiFi routers including multiple-WAN routers will become equipped with eSIM support, especially where multiple-service functionality is to be part of the feature set. It could allow one to design, for example,  an Android smartphone with a classic SIM slot and an eSIM along with a microSD card slot. Here, a user could then benefit from the advantages of multiple services while using a microSD card to provide “infinite” storage for music, photos and videos.

The main disadvantage that the eSIM will offer to some people will be that they can’t switch SIM cards around quickly, which may be of concern with people using a “decoy” number associated with a prepaid service or people who are troubleshooting mobile devices.

What does this allow?

It was brought on board in 2013 but recent improvements to the eSIM standard allowed for a customer to maintain multiple eSIM services from the same or different carriers in the one device. It is similar to how users are switching SIM cards around to maintain multiple service accounts, such as to maintain separate “business” and “private” services, to sign up with “destination-local” mobile-telephony services with a “destination-local” number and payment options, amongst other reasons.

This provides simplification for these users by providing “over-the-air” provisioning for additional services including varying these services or re-instigating dormant services. The user-experience that may be offered is to choose the network that provides the service you want to use then enter an activation code of some sort to “turn on” that particular service. Typically this would be something you receive in an email if you are enrolling online or receive from a staff member at a “bricks-and-mortar” store.

Some carriers and service providers are exploiting eSIM by offering a “one number one account multiple devices” option for their mobile services such as Telstra’s “One Number” service. But there are other ways that mobile-telephony service providers can exploit the emerging eSIM setup. But the carriers can look at exploiting the eSIM further such as tying it in with BYOD business setups, mobile services that can be “parked” when not needed amongst other things.

In some business environments, it could allow a single shared device to be associated with multiple service accounts with the accounts in operation dependent on who is logging in to the device. This could tie in with the “portable desktop” approach towards business telecommunications where one’s computing and telecommunications setup is moved amongst multiple devices but your boss or clients call you at the same extension number.

Conclusion

The eSIM approach for authenticating mobile-telephony and broadband service can open up a wide range of approaches both for device design and for service delivery.

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Mixing audio and Bluetooth Low Energy–what is happening

Article

Sony SBH-52 Bluetooth Headphone Audio Adaptor

Audio over Bluetooth Low Energy could make these devices last for a long time on a single battery charge

Apple Used Bluetooth Low Energy Audio for Cochlear Implant iPhone Accessory | MacRumors

My Comments

Any of you who have used Bluetooth headsets with your smartphones may have come across situations where the headset ceases to function or sounds the “low battery” signal when you use these devices a lot. This can happen more so if you are listening to music then make or take a long phone call using the headset and is something I had experienced many times with the Sony SBH-52 audio adaptor. But the audio protocol is being worked on to avoiding consuming too much battery runtime.

Plantronics BackBeat Pro Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones

.. as it could with Bluetooth headsets

Apple and Cochlear, who are behind the Australian-invented Cochlear Implant hearing-assistance technology, have developed Bluetooth Low Energy Audio to provide a high-quality audio link between mobile devices and headsets but make very little demands on the battery. As well, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group are working on a similar protocol to achieve these same gains, with the goal to have it part of Bluetooth 5.0. But this has to be supported in a vendor-independent manner in the same context as the current Bluetooth audio technologies that are in circulation.

But why is there an imperative to develop a low-energy audio profile for Bluetooth?

One key usage class is to integrate Bluetooth audio functionality in to hearing aids and similar hearing-assistance devices that are expected to run for a very long time. Here, we are also talking about very small intra-aural devices that may sit in or on your ear or be integrated in a set of eyeglasses. The goal is to allow not just for audio access to your smartphone during calls or multimedia activity but even to have an audio pathway from the phone’s microphone to the hearing-assistance device as well as the phone being a control surface for that device.

Similarly, there is a usage goal to improve battery runtime for Bluetooth headsets and audio adaptors such as to avoid the situation I have described above. It can also cater towards improved intra-aural Bluetooth headset designs or lightweight designs that can, again, run for a long time.

Let’s not forget the fact that smartwatches are being given audio abilities, typically to allow for use with a voice-activated personal assistant. But devices of this ilk could be set up to serve full time as a Bluetooth headphone audio adaptor with the full hands-free operation. The expectation here as well could even be to have the display on the wearable active while in use, whether to show the time, steps taken or metadata about the call in progress or whatever you are listening to.

Once audio over Bluetooth Low Energy technology is standardised, it could be a major improvement path for Bluetooth-based audio applications.

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A call-for-help program has been developed for Microsoft Band

Article

Microsoft Band App Provides Discreet Reporting For Domestic Violence  | SuperSite For Windows

Previous coverage on this topic

Doncare has launched a mobile-phone app to help people in domestic-violence situations

From the horse’s mouth

Band Aid

Home Page

My Comments

Previously, I had given some space to an iOS mobile-platform app written in conjunction with Doncare Community Services in Doncaster to provide domestic-violence survivors access to the necessary information. This app provide the one-stop information shop functionality but could be quickly deleted from a mobile device if the user is in danger of ending up in trouble for seeking help, which can happen in an abusive relationship.

For those of you who are based in the UK, this has recently become a cause celebre thanks to it being woven in to BBC’s “The Archers” radio serial which highlighted an abusive relationship that was taking place in to one of its storylines.

But another project has been finished where a wearable is used as a tool for summoning help in these situations.  This is in the form of “Band Aid” which is an app that works with the Microsoft Band to detect when the wearer is under undue stress and invite them to have the paired smartphone call the national emergency-services number or a user-determined help number like a trusted friend or domestic-violence helpline. The user can override the software to bypass stress-sensing during exercise or similar situations.

There is further development taking place with this software such as working alongside support and refuge centres for domestic and relationship violence sufferers. There is also some work taking place with “social listening” and machine-learning to identify the behaviour of one who is under threat.

The “Band Aid” project has been developed as part of the “HackForHer” hackathon which is a programming challenge for software solutions that can help and enable women. Here, these kind of hackathons can flesh out ways that technology can help particular user groups in particular situations.

Personally, I would like to see this program be “taken further” to facilitate help in other situations like independent ageing (fall detection), living with chronic illnesses with a high fall risk like diabetes or epilepsy, or living with mental illnesses. The sensors in wearables like the Microsoft Band, the Apple Watch and the Android Wear smartwatches are able to monitor body signs along with the wearable’s gyroscope sensor being able to detect falls and similar situations while machine learning that is part of the software can identify what is normal compared to what is abnormal.

Here, it could detect if one is about to have a diabetic coma or epileptic seizure, or needs help because they as an old person fell. Having this kind of software work with the “Internet Of Everything” can work well for identifying risk-taking behaviour such as a person who is living alone not entering the kitchen to feed themselves or making sure that a person has taken medicines that they have to take.

What is happening is that it is the first time devices in the platform wearables or Internet-Of-Things class, along with the concept of machine learning, are being exploited as a personal-welfare device rather than as a wellness or “keep-fit” device. Here, this avoids the need to wear extra clutter to achieve a goal of ideal personal safety or health.

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TAG Heuer’s Android smartwatch proves itself

Article

TAG Heuer’s Android smartwatch is (relatively) popular | Engadget

My Comments

TAG Heuer have launched their Connected Android Wear smartwatch and have seen their efforts in designing and promoting it pay off.

This is in the face of the Apple Watch which is seen as being part of the Apple brand which has a similar “status symbol” appearance to the likes of Nike footwear; and in the face of LG’s Watch Urbane which is LG’s dress-watch effort. Rather, the TAG Heuer will keep itself in the premium “Rolls Royce” or “Lamborghini” end of the market while premium watches offered by Apple, LG and others will keep themselves with the popular “BMW” or “Audi” end of the market.

There were some Initial doubts whether a luxury smartwatch, especially one based on the Android Wear platform would become successful . But TAG Heuer have ramped up the production of their Connected smartwatches from 1200 timepieces per week to 2000.  They also intend to run the Connected Android Wear smartwatch as the basis of a series of smartwatches that have different varieties, materials and finishes.

What I see of this is TAG Heuer achieving the combination of a true smartwatch running a common smartwatch platform emanating from one of the names associated with Swiss luxury dress watches. This is compared to some other attempts in the traditional luxury-watch sector to have a “connected watch” which is a traditional watch with a baseline remote-indication ability for your smartphone.

Time to impress her at that fancy restaurant or impress them in that C-suite upstairs!

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Internationaler Funkaustellung 2015–Part 2–Wearables and the Home Network

IFA LogoPreviously, in Part 1 of my series about the Internationaler Funkaustellung 2015 in Berlin, I had covered the trends affecting regular computers, tablets and smartphones especially with Intel just releasing the Skylake processor silicon which yields better performance for the same amount of power used. This has caused manufacturers to effectively refresh their desktop and portable computer lineups. As well, nearly every computer manufacturer is offering a lineup of desktop or portable computers that shine on gaming-grade performance to appeal to the core gamer and e-sports communities.

Wearables

ASUS ZenWatch 2 press picture courtesy of ASUS

ASUS ZenWatch 2

The smartwatch scene is slowly maturing with manufacturers offering more of these watches in their product lineups. The key trends here are about smartwatches that are designed to “look right” for the user and occasion. Here, we are seeing premium smartwatches that would look the part if you are to “dress to impress” on that date or in the corporate boardroom, but there are a few sports smartwatches with the rugged look along with a few “ladies’ watches” that look the part on her wrist.

Samsung had just launched the latest Tizen-based Gear S2 which has a traditional-looking round face and they have co-opted Alessandro Mendini, a well known Italian designer, to design accessory bands and watch faces for this watch.

ASUS has come along with the Zenwatch 2 Android Wear which uses an OLED display and Gorilla Glass protection and comes in 2 different sizes. It even has an add-on battery pack for if you want to get that more runtime out of the watch. Fossil has come up with another Android Wear watch as part of their range.

 

Moto 360 ladies smartwatches press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Motorola 360 smartwatches for her

Motorola have built out their Moto 360 range of Android Wear smartwatches with the Moto 360 Sport which is their smartwatch equivalent of the sports watch along with a slender “ladies’ watch” variant that will look good on her wrist. There are different finishes available such as a rose-gold look, a gold look, a silver look and a black-metal look with these watches up for preorder. This is also accompanied with a 1” TV commercial which they used to promote this watch.

LG Watch Urbane Luxe press picture courtesy of LG

LG Watch Urbane Luxe – fit for the boardroom

LG have also brought out the LG Watch Urbane Luxe which is a more premium variant of the LG Watch Urbane. This comes with an OLEP flexible display that works like the OLED displays and has a 24-carat gold finish. Huawei’s Android Wear watch can be had gold plated for US$800, gold with a leather band for US$649, black metal for US$449 and a stainless steel look for US$349.

The home network

The main trend affecting the home network is the availability of 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless-network technology which implements the MU-MIMO multi-path technology. This has led to some very powerful routers hitting the European market lately which have four MIMO streams and support the “multi-user” feature that effectively creates a Wi-Fi “switch” out of the access point.

ASUS RT-AC5300 router press picture courtesy of ASUS

ASUS RT-AC5300 router

ASUS has launched the RT-AC5300  which is considered the world’s fastest Wi-Fi router. This router, which uses spike-shaped antennas can run 1Gbps over the 2.4GHz band and 2.167Gbps over the 5GHz bands.

NETGEAR also fielded the 7800 Nighthawk X4S which is the first modem router to offer this kind of performance. This modem router has a DSL modem on the WAN (Internet) side that can work with ADSL2 or VDSL2 (fibre-copper) networks alongside a Gigabit Ethernet connection for fibre-to-the-premises, fibre-coaxial or Ethernet-based fibre-copper networks; and has on the LAN side, Wi-Fi capable to AC2600 4×4 MU-MIMO dual-band standards along with 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections. It is available in Europe and Australia for a recommended price of AUD$529, EUR€299 or GBP£269. The American press were moaning that they didn’t get this modem router first but they work on a service provisioning method very different to Europe and Australasia where self-install or BYO-modem provisioning of DSL based services is the norm.

D-Link have fielded some home-network hardware in the form of the DIR-885L router which supports 4×4 MU-MIMO AC3150 for its Wi-Fi functionality. They even fielded a USB Wi-Fi network adaptor which can allow any computer to work with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless network. This device’s best-case abilities is to work with Wi-Fi network segments up to 3×3 MIMO AC1900 standards.

AVM Fritz!Box 6820 LTE "Mi-Fi" press picture courtesy of AVM

AVM Fritz!Box 6820 LTE “Mi-Fi”

AVM has been very productive with its home-network hardware although this has been very much “in the comfort zone” with existing technology. They have launched the Fritz!Box 4020 which is a small Internet gateway with an N300 dual-stream single-band Wi-Fi access point along with the Fritz!Box 7430 VDSL Internet gateway that has an N450 three-stream single-band Wi-Fi access point. They also launched the Fritz!Box 6820 which is a “Mi-Fi” that can work with LTE mobile-broadband services and implements 802.11n Wi-Fi and a Gigabit Ethernet connection on the LAN side.

AVM Fritz!Powerline 1220 HomePlug AV2 adaptor press photo courtesy of AVM

AVM Fritz!Powerline 1220 – AVM enters the HomePlug AV2 fray

They have bought in to the HomePlug AV2 MIMO arena by offering the Fritz!Powerline 1240E HomePlug wireless access point along with the Fritz!Powerline 1220E HomePlug adaptor with pass-through AC outlet. This is in conjunction with the Fritz!WLANRepeater 1160 which is a dual-band Wi-Fi repeater.

Devolo haven’t been quiet lately. Here, they are pitching custoem HomePlug-based powerline solutions including HomePlug access points to ISPs and telcos so they can provision these devices to customers for optimum Wi-Fi coverage. They intend to sell these solutions more likely on an OEM basis. As well, they have launched the dLAN 550 WiFi which is a HomePlug AV500 wireless access point that can establish a single-band N300 Wi-Fi segment. They also used this show to exhibit their existing dLAN 1200 HomePlug AV2 hardware including the dLAN 1200+ WiFi AC which is a wireless access point that answers to the HomePlug AV2 MIMO and 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi.

Next I will be talking about the home-entertainment trends that are expected to cover Europe and Australasia such as the ultra-high-resolution TV and networked audio. Stay tuned!

Part 1 – Personal Computing Trends

Part 2 – Wearables and the Home Network

Part 3 – Home Entertainment

Part 4 – Home Automation and the Internet Of Things

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The connected wearable concept now embraces personal safety

Article

Can Wearable Tech Combat Sexual Assault? | FastCompany

From the horse’s mouth

Roar

Product Page

Video

Safelet

Product Page

Video

My Comments

The concept of connected wearables has primarily focused either on smartwatches that serve as an auxiliary control surface for your smartphone or fitness bands of the Jawbone or Fitbit ilk that measure how you are performing on your workout.

Now three companies have focused on personal safety as an application for the connected wearable. This is in the form of personal alarm or “panic-button” devices that interlink with your smartphone.

They are not your garden-variety attack alarm which was typically a white box which had a built-in battery-operated alarm with a loud piezo sounder that you activated by pressing a button or pulling a cord. Rather they communicate by Bluetooth with a special app on your iOS or Android smartphone to contact a predefined list of contacts if you press a panic button on the wearable. This is in addition to the ROAR Athena having their own alarm and flashing light.

These devices place emphasis on elegant style that underscores the value women place on aesthetics and designed to be pieces of jewellery that they can wear. The Safelet is styled to look like a silver bracelet while the ROAR Athena is styled like an attractive brooch that can be attached to one’s clothing.

The ROAR Athena also works with a Web-based intelligence database about those areas that are safe and those that aren’t. Here, people can identify and report areas that are potential troublespots as far as personal safety is concerned like streets that are poorly lit or known troublemaker hangouts.

It’s early days yet but I would like to see these device able to integrate with related applications like workplace personal-safety systems or home security so that they can “map” to these systems when one is in their scope.

What I see of this is the concept of wearable technology and platform-based computing encouraging innovation for the common good.

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Smooth looks arriving for personal electronics

Article

LG G4: hands on with the new leather-clad smartphone

LG Promotional Video

My Comments

Time to play some smooth-sounding yacht rock! Personal electronics devices are coming on the market that show a style that doesn’t look out of place in that hotel room at Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto or in that nice BMW or luxury yacht.

How is this coming about? Here, manufacturers are paying attention to how a device looks in order to make that premium device stand out. For example, Harman-Kardon had released the Esquire range of Bluetooth speakers that are finished with the leather trim on a beautiful metal finish.

Then Apple launched their Apple Watch which conveys the look of their personal-computing products and has the Edition premium variant that has that look of luxury with even a model in that variant having a gold finish. LG came up with their Watch Urbane which is the latest in a run of smartwatches offered by different vendors that have the look of a dress watch that you could wear when you want to dress to impress. This has been brought on by Swiss watchmakers like TAG Heuer considering connected watches as part of their luxury watch product lines.

Now LG has raised the bar for how a smartphone looks with their G4 Smartphone that has a lot of attention paid to its looks. One feature that has been added for some variants to have leather trim on the back of the device. Along with this, there is a carbon-fibre look on the front as part of maintaining that luscious look. Previously, one would look around for accessory cases that make a phone have that desireable look. Now this is an effort to make these devices special.

Who knows what will come about for other big-name smartphones, tablets and notebooks that will make them look the part in that C-suite office or premium hotel room. As well, it will be a chance for manufacturers to make sure that these personal-electronics products aren’t just drab and ordinary but are highly special.

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Android Wear gains more functionality

Articles

Samsung Gear Live Black Android Wear smartwatch press image courtesy of Samsung

The next iteration of Android Wear adds Wi-Fi to the smartwatch platform

Android Wear gains Wi-Fi, wrist gestures, and always-on apps | SmarterWatching

Android Wear getting big update with Wi-Fi, always-on apps, and more  | Android Authority

From the horse’s mouth

Google Android

Android Wear: wear what you want, get what you need  (Blog Post)

My Comments

A new version of the Google Android Wear wearables pllatform is being rolled out in the coming weeks which will acquire some major functionality improvements. There is talk of having this version rolled out in the coming weeks for most Android Wear devices and an increased likelihood of it appearing in newer watches.

One will be the ability to support an always-on screen with always-on apps like a traditional watch. Here, the apps can show a high-contrast power-efficient display rather than going blank when the the smartwatch isn’t being interacted with so you are able to glance at them for data.

This also ties in with different ways to gain access to other information on your Android Wear smartwatch. Firstly, you can flick your wrist to switch between cards on the display rather than brushing the watch’s face to change app cards. Similarly you can touch the screen in certain ways to show the apps you have or your contacts on your smartwatch.

As we become more addicted to using emoticons and emoji, we can hand-draw the emoticons on the watch face to show up the ones we want in our messages.

But, as far as connectivity is concerned, the new version of Android Wear has support for Wi-FI wireless networking. This is implemented in a way where you don’t even need to have your phone or smartwatch on the same logical network as each other and you can even gain access to your somartphone from your watch even if it is on a mobile-broadband connection. This could encourage smartwatch manufacturers and silicon designers to design Wi-Fi chipsets that consume very little battery power in order to obtain this functionality.

The question I have about this feature is how it will cope with public-access wireless hotspots especially where most will implement the Web-based authentication and provisioning process. Personally, I would like to see “out-of-box” support for Wi-Fi Passpoint technology with this new version of Android Wear to facilitate seamless authentication on suitable networks.

Personally, I see the new version of Android Wear as a sign that Google is putting faith in the idea of integrating Wi-Fi in to smartwatches and other wearables along with simplifying the operation of these devices.

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TAG Heuer announces an Android Wear dress smartwatch

Articles

TAG Heuer and Intel announce Swiss Smartwatch for 2015 | Smarterwatching

Watch Out Apple Watch, There’s a Swiss-Made Android Wear Watch Coming | Gizmodo

From the horse’s mouth

Intel

Press Release

TAG Heuer

Press Release

Video Press Announcement

My Comments

Most smartwatches that were being released were pitched as “everyday wear” watches or sports watches which were something you wouldn’t really choose to wear if your goal was to impress someone special. That is unless they were someone who was impressed by the concept of the smartwatch and what it can do.

But when Apple put forward their Apple Watch, they put forward a few premium models that would go alongside or replace that Rolex Presidential as a status-symbol dress watch. Here, they set the cat amongst the pigeons when it came to providing a smartwatch of the calibre that you would wear in the Member’s Stand at Flemington during the Spring Racing Carnival (Melbourne Cup) or you, as the father of the bride, would have on your wrist as you walk the bride down the aisle at the start of the wedding.

TAG Heuer, along with Intel and Google, have worked on an Android Wear smartwatch that uses technology from the microelectronics name. Here, the idea is to create one of these watches that is pitched to the luxury-watch market rather than keeping Android Wear and the smartwatch scene for so-called “all-purpose” or “sports-class” wearables.

As well, TAG Heuer are even pushing to allow the qualification of a Swiss watch to expand to smartwatches that integrate electronics from other countries like Intel’s silicon but still have the watch assembled in Switzerland and have decorative and electromechanical parts coming from there. It can also be a good chance for Intel to investigate the idea of using Switzerland as a hub for activities associated with manufacturing, research and development for wearable technology.

What I see of this is the fact that companies are stepping forward to sell smartwatches fit for wearing at that exclusive club or in the boardroom of that Fortune 500 company in America. It also means that the smartwatch market can become like the traditional watch market with watches that suit different price ranges and different dress senses.

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