While I wade through drones and smart dog collars
In mere hours, I will be checking into the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the annual big showcase for all things electronic and envelope-pushing.
And while the event promises to be among the most diverting (distracting?) I’ve ever experienced, my mission is clear: root out and test-drive the latest and greatest in wearable devices that jewelry retailers could potentially fold into their merchandise mix.
The event—which kicked off Jan. 6 and will wrap up Jan. 9 at various hotel locations around the city—is heavy on Best Buy–ready gadgetry such as Bluetooth headphones, mobile speakers, and so-called action cameras that hook onto bikes and snowboards. But a whopping 825 vendors touting some manner of wearable are also in attendance. Granted, most of those products were designed and manufactured not to be stylish but to provide solutions for health monitoring, home security, and the like.
But a handful of vendors are showing innovative jewelry- and watch-based devices. Here are five companies and products I’m particularly keen to check out:
Martian’s Kindred VIP women’s smartwatches
They’re tiny, discreet, and ladylike. Martian’s Kindred VIP watches are only 38 mm and come in ion-plated rose gold and black and polished stainless steel. There’s nothing “smart” looking about them, which I love. And users can create and customize their own “VIP groups” by programming in certain vibration patterns, in combination with seven unique consumer-assigned LED color notifications, all through the companion app. The company is also debuting a smart bracelet, which I have yet to glimpse. (Check this space next week for a total show wrap-up.)
Misfit’s Ray bracelet
Veteran wearable brand Misfit, which is now part of Fossil Group, has debuted Ray—a fitness and sleep monitor that can be worn on a sporty bracelet or as a super-pretty, cylindrical pendant necklace. It tracks activity and sleep with a “3-axis accelerometer and incorporates a vibration motor that allows for nuanced user feedback.” It’s also battery operated—so no charging hassles.
TAG Heuer’s Connected watch
The company will unveil its “newest custom dials” for its Connected smartwatch at a cocktail hour on Thursday night at the Venetian. From the invite image, I’m guessing they’re super sleek and mucho macho.
Casio’s first-ever smartwatch
When I was in college in New York City in the mid-1990s, the hot watch to wear was Casio’s G-Shock and the Baby-G—I had two that I alternated. So my excitement over Casio’s first-ever smartwatch, the WSD-F10, which looks like a G-Shock on steroids (and is clearly targeting outdoorsy dudes), may be outsized. The Android wear watch will track your activity and can also be switched into timepiece mode to magically morph into a plain old watch—with a charge that lasts about a month.
Whatever Fossil is showing
The watch and accessories brand, which acquired Misfit for $260 million last year, announced yesterday that it will be releasing more than 100 connected devices in 2016 under the Misfit and Fossil Q brands. In a statement, chief strategy officer Greg McKelvey said, “We are going big this year.”
(Photos, top to bottom, courtesy of Martian, Misfit, TAG Heuer, Casio, and Fossil)