CES 2017 is in full swing over in Las Vegas and wearable tech – in particular new smartwatches – has definitely been one of the main themes of the show.
We’ve seen not only Android Wear smartwatches from traditional watch companies and sports brands; but hard-core smart running watches too. There’s also been a completely new smartwatch platform unveiled and fashion-conscious hybrid analogue timepieces too.
Casio’s second crack at the Android Wear market includes the key ingredient missing from its rough-and-tumble-friendly original… GPS. The inclusion of a GPS radio means accurate run tracking, of course, but also means that Casio’s trekking apps will be a lot more useful. The F20 is waterproof to 50m and is military certified 810G for ruggedness. It’s certainly more G-Shock than LG G Watch.
The new Casio, like the original, boasts a dual layer display – one a monochrome LCD for basic time keeping and one a regular multi-colour one for regular Android Wear functions. With just the monochrome version selected, the battery life is a whopping 30 days – no other Android Wear smartwatch has this functionality.
The Casio WSD-F20 will on April 21st, priced at $500.
Misfit Vapor – unveiled at CES 2017 (Fossil Group)
Misfit, a veteran in the wearable tech game (and now owned by the Fossil Group), used CES 2017 to reveal its first touchscreen display smartwatch – the Vapor. The 1.39-inch circular OLED display, with a 326 ppi pixel density, doesn’t have that annoying black tyre at the bottom of the screen, which is common on Android Wear smartwatches; and is a good sign for future Fossil Group watches from brands such as Armani, Michael Kors and Diesel.
The Vapor isn’t a Wear device though – instead Misfit is using its own OS, with a bezel-based control system that lets you browse watch faces, apps and respond to notifications. There’s a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor running the show, so it should be snappy enough. Time will tell what – if any – apps are made available though.
The Vapor is set to cost $199, but isn’t launching until later in 2017.
Garmin Fenix 5 series
Garmin launched 3 new Fenix watches at CES 2017 (Garmin)
Garmin’s Fenix series has been around for years and is the go-to brand for serious athletes looking to test their tech as much as they test themselves. The Fenix 5 series consists of three designs: the 47mm Fenix 5 that offers 24 hours in GPS mode; the 42mm Fenix 5S that is aimed at female adventurers; and the top-of-the-range 51mm Fenix 5X that comes with pre-loaded maps, has a sapphire lens and boasts Wi-Fi.
The new trio are all waterproof to 100 metres and there’s a three-axis compass on board, as well as a gyroscope and barometric altimeter, while GPS and GLONASS connectivity means accurate tracking won’t be an issue.
All three will go on sale in early 2017, costing from $500.
New Balance RunIQ
New Balance finally revealed its Android Wear smartwatch (New Balance)
Casio isn’t the only brand with rugged Android Wear ambitions. Boston sports giant New Balance used CES 2016 to announce its new Digital Sport division, “dedicated exclusively to connecting consumers with the technology they desire to improve their athletic performance” and, a year later, the RunIQ Android Wear smartwatch, made in collaboration with Intel, was officially revealed.
The smartwatch packs a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, GPS, a heart rate monitor and a music player letting you pair Bluetooth buds directly to the watch. It’s also 5ATM water resistant so you can take it for a dip in the pool.
Costing $299, it’ll be on sale in February. You can pre-order directly from New Balance now.
The AX Connected (Wareable)
Another Fossil brand jumping on the wearable tech bandwagon at CES 2017 was Armani Exchange, who announced its first hybrid smartwatch – the AX Connected.
Hitting the shops in four colours: white, black, blue, and black and orange, the AX will count steps, track sleep and provide smartphone notifications. It also has features to take selfies and control music playback from its paired smartphone. The small dial provides a progress gauge for your daily activity goal.
The Armani Exchange Connected will be available from February, pricing is still TBC.
Published in Forbes