Mi Band

2016 Gift Guide Wearables
Gift Guide, Sports, Watches, Wearable Technology

Holiday Gift Guide – Wearables

2016 Gift Guide Wearables

Wearables seem to be going through a sophomore slump right now. They are at that awkward stage of the market where they are starting to find an audience, but that audience is beginning to gather underneath a few tentpoles. As a result, the periphery marketplace is collapsing. The bowing out of 4 major wearable makers (with others likely on the way) should not be read as a failure of the segment though. The tentpole companies are putting out really exciting products that people are clamoring for. The list below is sure to please anyone!  

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Business, Editorial, Wearable Technology

Wearables Were Mostly Absent from MWC 2016, Why?

Wearables Missing MWC 2016 Why Fail category dead mobile world conference fitness trackers smartwatches

Mobile World Conference in Barcelona is typically a showplace of the newest and best cell phones that companies have to offer. At the 2015 MWC though, you could have easily have thought it was a wearables trade show. Practically every company had a fitness tracker, a smartwatch, or another form of wearable technology on display. But at MWC 2016, there were barely any wearables to be found. What happened? And is this the writing on the wall, showing consumer and company interest in wearables is just not that high?  Or are there other factors at hand?

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2015 Gift Guide Activity Trackers Featured
Gift Guide

2015 Gift Guide: Activity Trackers

2015 Gift Guide Activity Trackers

Activity trackers are easily the most popular and most mature category of wearable technology. People love to quantify their daily movement. Fitbit, for example, is the number one wearable device maker, selling 11 million devices in 2014; They went public this summer and have a market cap of over $6 billion. Fitbit’s numbers don’t mean it’s the best fitness tracker though. 2015 saw a lot of new players entering the market while a lot of existing players pushed expectations of what your dollar could get you. As these trackers begin to include more and more connected functionality, such as notifications and payment abilities, at lower and lower prices, the segment is likely only to grow.

Whether you or a loved one are looking for a wearable to help you monitor your general fitness or need a connected device but aren’t ready for a smartwatch, we have assembled a list of the fitness wearables that most deserve your attention!  

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Mi Band Pulse Xiaomi Activity Tracker Gift Guide 2015
Wearable Technology

$15 Mi Band Fitness Tracker Adds Heart Rate Monitor

Mi Band Pulse Xiaomi

Believe it or not, chances are you have never heard of the company responsible for selling a quarter of the world’s wearable devices (*based on Q1 2015 numbers). When you hear sales number like that, you think of Fitbit or Jawbone or maybe even Apple, but it is actually Chinese technology company Xiaomi. And the company hasn’t been at it very long either; they introduced their first wearable during the second half of 2014 – the bargain priced Mi Band. Well, a year later, Xiaomi has updated the Mi Band to include an Optical Heart Rate Monitor. For less than a Jackson ($15 or 99 Yuan) you can buy the Mi Band Pulse, a rubberized bracelet that tracks your activity and sleep patterns, alerts you to notifications / phone calls, and records your heart rate. For the time being, no other fitness tracker comes even close to competing on price / features. The wearable is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Sadly there is no word on when Xiaomi plans to release the Mi Band Pulse outside of China and resellers are asking for a sizable premium on eBay.

Products such as Mi Band Pulse exemplify a larger trend in the wearable category. It seems that fitness trackers are in a race to the bottom. With entries such as Garmin and Misfit, people have begun to expecting more for less from their fitness trackers. When a $15 Mi Band Pulse offers extremely similar features to a $180 device (the Jawbone UP3), who is going to buy the $180 device. The feature set for fitness trackers can only expand so far and, beyond a phone app, there is very little software interaction by the end user. As long as it tracks your movement, one device is as good as another. Smartwatches, on the other hand, are rising in prices. This is partly due to the complexity of the wearable but also because buyers are expecting higher-end and higher-end finishes on the hardware. With such a complex device, there is a huge difference between a bargain brand and a higher end device. The software required to run a smartwatch and allow the user to interact with it needs to be very well thought out and executed near perfectly; unless you are licensing Android Wear, a tremendous amount of resources are required to achieve this. I think we will continue to see stratification between different types of devices in the wearable category and we are fascinated to see how the whole thing settles out over the next few years.

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