This Month in Wearables: April 2016

Major news and new releases in the world of wearables


Welcome to the latest installment of JCK’s This Month in Wearables—a monthly rundown of what’s hot and happening in the world of wearable devices and technology. 


Link smart band (photo courtesy of Link)

Link debuts a smartwatch band
Here’s a product that makes good sense: a start-up brand called Link is crowdfunding on IndieGoGo to manufacture a smartwatch band that features a display screen on the wearer’s wrist. So you can wear a cool analog on the top of your wrist and still get the benefits of a connected device with robust functionality. The device is a fitness tracker, NFC reader (for contactless payments), notifier (anchoring to tablets and smart phones), and includes a built-in digital microphone. The early-bird price is $249, but the company has a long way to go before it’s fully funded at $50,000.



A Fitbit Alta (photo courtesy of Fitbit)

Data from a Fitbit was used in a criminal case
This month, the Today Show reported that a woman “who claimed she was pulled out of bed and sexually assaulted is now on probation for making a false report after police said her Fitbit revealed that she was awake and walking around the entire time, showing that her account was made up.” The outlet reported that while you don’t have to hand your device over to police when asked, they can get a search warrant and use a device or a smartphone to piece together your movements. We are all, effectively, on the grid.



Apple Watch (photo courtesy of Apple)

Smartwatch sales increase, while the Apple Watch slows
Strategy Analytics, a data research firm based in London, reported last week that smartwatch sales are up 223 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the first quarter in 2015. The Apple Watch was the number one driver of this growth, but the study reported that its popularity is actually flagging; Apple Watches represented 52 percent of the market share in the first quarter of 2016, down from 63 percent during the 2015 holiday period.



Withings watch (photo courtesy of Withings)

Nokia is buying wearable brand Withings
Finnish mobile company Nokia is repositioning itself as a manufacturer of digital health products. The company announced that it will buy French wearable watch brand Withings for around $192 million (170 million euros). See my story on the buy here.



(Photo courtesy of the Muppets Studio)

Major League Baseball approves wearables during play
Major League Baseball’s playing rules committee approved the use of select connected devices this month: the Motus baseball sleeve and Zephyr Bionharness heart and breathing monitor. reports that the committee “has also approved the use of two batting swing sensors, but the Blast Motion and Diamond Kinetics setups can only be used on-field for warm-ups, batting practice, and training sessions.” The Motus sleeve uses a module packed with sensors that can help players from throwing their arm out. The Zephyr monitor tracks “heart rate, breathing rate, posture, and activity level,” and also “can monitor aspects like heart rate variability, which is connected to stress and could influence decisions on a player’s recovery routine after a game.”

(Top photo courtesy of Link)

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