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Posts Tagged ‘smartwatch’

LG Watch Style and Watch Sport Smartwatches Launched with Android Wear 2.0

February 9th, 2017 2 comments

Google released an Android Wear 2.0 developer preview  last May at Google I/O 2016, with the new operating system now supporting standalone apps and keyboard and handwriting input method, featuring a new user interface with material design support, integrating Google Fit & Google Assistant support, and supporting many of the features available in Android 7.0 Nougat like data saver, and emojis. The first two devices running the latest Android Wear 2.0 will be LG Watch Style and Watch Sport smartwatches.

LG Watch Style (Left) and LG Watch Sport (Right) – Click to Enlarge

LG Android Wear 2.0 watches specifications can be found in the table below (Source: XDA)

LG Watch Style LG Watch Sport (W280A)
Display 1.2″ 360×360 P-OLED (Gorilla Glass 3) 1.38″ 480×480 P-OLED (Gorilla Glass 3)
Processor Snapdragon Wear 2100  @ 1.1GHz
RAM 512MB 768MB
Storage 4GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE, NFC, GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Gyro sensor Heart Rate Sensor (PPG), Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Barometer
Battery 240 mAh 430 mAh
Resistance IP67 IP68
Dimensions 42.3 x 45.7 x 10.79 mm 45.4 x 51.21 x 15.5 mm
Straps Leather, 18mm (User-replaceable) Fixed (Contains hardware?)
Price $249 $349

The watches support Music Streaming with Google Play Music, Android Pay via NFC (Watch Sport only), and Google Fit. A wireless charging dock will be included with the watch as shown in the picture below.

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The actual launch will be on February 10, when, if you’re based in the US, you’ll be able to buy  LG Watch Style at Best Buy and the Google Store, and the LG Watch Sport at AT&T, Verizon and the Google Store. These watches will be available at carriers and retailers across Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE and UK in the coming weeks. You’ll find a few more details on LG Watch Sport product page. LG Watch Style page is not up yet.

If you already own an Android Wear device, the following models with get updated to Android Wear 2.0:

  • ASUS ZenWatch 2 & 3
  • Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio PRO TREK Smart
  • Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander
  • Huawei Watch
  • LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane & 2nd Edition LTE,
  • Michael Kors Access Smartwatches
  • Moto 360 2nd Gen, Moto 360 for Women, Moto 360 Sport
  • New Balance RunIQ, Nixon Mission, Polar M600 and TAG Heuer Connected.

Omron Project Zero 2.0 is a Thinner Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor & Smartwatch

January 11th, 2017 No comments

Omron Project Zero BP6000 blood pressure monitor & smartwatch / fitness tracker was unveiled at CES 2016. The device was due to be released at the end of 2016 pending FDA approval, but the launch has now been delayed to spring 2017, and it will be sold under the name “HEARTVUE”. The company has however showcased a new version at CES 2017, for now just called Omron Project Zero 2.0 that has the same functions but is more compact and lightweight.

omron-project-zero-2-0-1-0

Omron Project Zero 2.0 (left) vs Project Zero BP6000 “Heartvue” (right)

The watch will also work with Omron Connect US mobile app, and can record accurate blood pressure, as well as the usual data you’d get from fitness trackers including activity (e.g. steps) and sleep, as well as smartphone notifications. Blood pressure measurement can be activated by the user by pressing a button and raising his/her wrist to the height of the chest. The goal is the same as the first generation watch: to make people who need it measure their blood pressure in a more convenient fashion. The second generation device looks much more like a standard wristwatch as the company reduced the size of the inflatable cuff.

blood-pressure-smartwatchThe new model will also have to go through FDA approval, a time consuming process, and Omron Healthcare intends to release the device in 2018 for around $300. More details about the new model may eventually show up on the company’s Generation Zero page.

Via Nikkei Technology

Meet Body Heat Powered MATRIX PowerWatch, The Activity Tracker You Never Need to Charge (Crowdfunding)

November 15th, 2016 4 comments

There are currently several issues with wearables that makes it sub-optimal devices, from displays that can’t be always-on, to unreliable sensors, and in my experience pretty poor reliability, as I’ve managed to go through 4 fitness trackers / smartwatches in a year. Another issue is that contrary to typical watches lasting 10 years with a coin cell battery, most wearables require to be charge every few days, weeks, with the very best devices being chargers every few months. MATRIX PowerWatch promises to solve latter, as you will never need to ever charge it since it charges itself by harvesting energy using your body heat.

matrix-powerwatchThe company promotes it as a smartwatch, but it’s closer to an activity tracker, since you can’t keep the Bluetooth LE connection all the time in order to receive notifications to your smartphone. It’s basically used to show time, track your activity and sleep patterns, and you can synchronize the data with your iOS or Android phone when you need it. It does not have to be done often, as the watch can keep up to one year of data. The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters, and controlled by two buttons (no touchscreen). One extra advantage of the heat body charging mechanism is that it will also allow the watch to accurately track the amount of calories burned, while all other wearables are just making informed guesses. If you don’t wear the watch, a backup battery takes care of power, the watch goes to sleep keeping track of time.


So how does it convert body heat into energy? The company explains:

Our thermoelectric technology converts heat to electric power. It is based on the Seebeck effect discovered in 1821. In the absence of an applied voltage gradient V, electric current, J, can still be generated if there is a temperature gradient, T: . A thermoelectric material must have a low thermal conductivity and high electrical conductivity to function efficiently. NASA has used this technology to power the Voyager spacecraft and Curiosity, the mars rover.

A thermoelectric module is composed of many tiny semiconductor “legs” that when added together create a large voltage.

Some obvious concerns about the technology is whether it will work as advertised in all conditions. It relies on temperature delta, so what happens when the ambient temperature is close to body temperature, would the watch just go into sleep mode in that case, relying on the backup battery? The comments are also interesting, where we learn the display is apparently a black & white LCD display, and not a low power e-Paper display, and some people are starting to ask features like a color display, GPS support, and BT notifications which may not be a realistic goal… But other aspects of the project also inspire more confidence, as they have allegedly tested 1,000 working prototypes, and Arrow Electronics is involved in the manufacturing of the project.

The watch was launched on Indiegogo yesterday, and the project has already surpassed its $100,000 crowdfunding campaign. If you’ll like to get involved you can still go with an super early bird pledge of $119 for the PowerWatch with a nylon strap. Other rewards are just for various  quantities up to 100. Shipping is free to the US, adds $15 to the rest of the world, and delivery is scheduled for July or September 2017 depending on the rewards.

Via Liliputing and CNET

Samsung Starts Mass-Production of Exynos 7 Dual (7270) Processor used in Galaxy Gear S3 Smartwatch

October 11th, 2016 4 comments

Samsung has just issued a press release announcing the Korean company had just started mass-production of the first SoC for Wearables using 14-nm FinFET process with their Exynos 7 Dual (7270) dual Cortex A53 processor. Exynos 7270 is also said to be the first such SoC to embed full connectivity and LTE modem integration.

samsung-exynos-7-dualExynos 7270 specifications:

  • CPU – Dual-core ARM CortexA53 processor  @ up to 1.0 GHz
  • GPU – ARM Mali-T720
  • Memory – LPDDR3 support
  • Storage – eMMC 5.0, SD card interfaces
  • Display – Up to 960×540 (qHD) resolution
  • Camera – Up to 5MP pixel sensor support
  • Multimedia – HD (720p@30fps) video with HEVC, H.264, VP8 Codec
  • LTE Modem – LTE Category 4 non-CA
  • Connectivity – WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, FM Radio
  • GNSS – GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
  • PMIC – Integrated in SiP-ePoP package
  • Package – SiP-ePoP, 10x10mm (SiP: System-in-Package; ePoP: embedded Package-on-Package)

The SoC will be packaged inside a SiP-ePOP package with DRAM, eMMC, and a power management IC, which will allow for a much smaller board, and more space for the battery for example, which combined with the more power efficient 14-nm FinFET process should allow for longer battery life for wearables.

galaxy-gear-s3

Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 Running Tizen OS on Exynos 7 Dual Processor

Samsung can also provide a reference platform with display, NFC, audio codec, diverse sensors and a sensor hub to help companies getting started with their product design.

More information can be found on Exynos 7 Dual product page.

Fitbit Introduces Charge 2 and Flex 2 Fitness Trackers

August 30th, 2016 No comments

My first activity tracker, Vidonn X5, worked reasonably well and lasted for over a year, but the subsequent models I tried were all mostly disasters, especially as they added some features like a heart rate monitor that did not work reliably, and worse, their lifetime was poor, lasting only a few days to a few weeks before stopping working. My Xiaomi Mi Band 2 died last week-end, two days after a firmware update which decreased battery life to less than a day, and now refuses to charge. While the HRM was utterly useless, it did count steps fairly accurately, and battery life was good. Sadly, it would only last about two months. So at this stage, it might be worth spending more for a fitness tracker, and Fitbit has unveiled two new models with Charge 2 and Flex 2.

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2 includes a 1.5″ OLED touchscreen display, and an heart rate monitor. It also supports step counting and sleep tracking, GPS tracking via your phone, and notifications for calls, SMS, and so on. Battery life is said to be around 5 days per charge.

Fitbit Flex 2 does not come with a display, but instead features notification lights. It has a thinner design, and is suitable for swimming with better waterproofness (up to 50 meters), and swim tracking. Phone notifications are supported via the 5 LEDs, and a vibration motor. Battery is also said to last a mere 5 days between charges.

 

Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit Flex 2

You can remove Flex 2 tracker, and use it in the company’s bands, bangles and pendants. Both products support Fitbit app for Android and iOS.

Fitbit Charge 2 sells for $149.99, while Fitbit Flex 2 goes for $99.99.

Via Liliputing.

Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: ble, fitbit, smartwatch, wearables

TW68 Smart Bracelet Measures Blood Pressure and Heart Rate for $22 and Up

August 8th, 2016 5 comments

Some people may need to frequently measure their blood pressure because of their health condition, but it’s often a cumbersome experience, so they may get lazy, and not do it as often as needed. TW68 smart bracelet should make this easy, as it’s your typical fitness tracker with an heart rate monitor, but adding the capability to also measure blood pressure. It’s also very cheap, and I first found it on DealExtreme where it sells for just $24.

TW68TW68 specifications:

  • MCU – Nordic Semi NRF51822 ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller with 2.4 GHz radio
  • Data Storage – 7 days detailed data, 23 days total data
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Display – 0.49″ OLED display
  • Sensors –  PixArt-PAH8001EI blood pressure sensor; 6-axis Invensense-MPU6500 accelerometer and gyroscope
  • Function Health tracker: Blood pressure measurement, Heart rate monitor, Pedometer, Sleep tracker
  • Other functions: Call/Message notification, Fall reminder, Social sharing, Time, Alarm clock
  • Misc – Vibrator, touch button
  • Battery – 60 mAh LiPo battery good for 7 to 15 days; charge time: around 1h30; magnetic charging
  • Dimensions – Watch face: 41.1 x 18.5 x 11.9mm; silicon strap: 240 x 20.8 x 11.9mm
  • Weight – 25 grams
  • IP Rating – IP65 (waterproof while washing hands)

The smartband is sold with its custom USB charging cable, and a user’s manual. The provided app is compatible with Android 4.4+ and iOS 7.1+ smartphones. I’ve been told that the blood pressure data is not shown directly on the watch, so you’ll need to initiate and read the measurement with your Android smartphone or iPhone, which is not as convenient as it could be.

Blood_Pressure_Monitor_Android

This all still looks pretty good, but based on my disappointing experiences with optical heart rate monitors on most Chinese smartwatches and trackers, except possibly with Energympro EP-SH09 (not perfect but usable), I have serious doubts about the heart rate monitor accuracy, let alone the blood pressure claims.  If you look at the product description on DX, the manufacturer claims the measurements are very close to professional equipments… But the embedded Pixart “blood pressure sensor” is actually an heart rate monitor, and the sensor manufacturer only claims heart rate capabilities, nothing about blood pressure.

Finally, if you look at the upcoming and FDA approved Omron BP6000 professional blood pressure watch it is designed with a small motor that will gently squeeze your wrist while taking measurements, something that TW68 won’t do. So it’s most likely a toy than anything else. The demo from Tinydeal below shows the accessories and some of the capabilities of the bracelet, except of course HRM and BP…

If you’d still like to play with it, beside DX, you can also buy it on GeekBuying, Aliexpress, Amazon US and Tinydeal for $22 to $30 shipped.

Intel Smartwatches are Hot! So Hot, They May Burn Your Skin

August 5th, 2016 2 comments

Low power in constrained spaces is a tricky business, even for ARM based SoCs with the Qualcomm 810 overheating saga a few months ago. Now it’s time for Intel to feel the heat, as the company has has to recall Basis Peak smartwatches / fitness trackers due to potential overheating causing skin burns.

Intel_SmartwatchJosh Walden – senior vice president and general manager of the New Technology Group at Intel Corporation – stated:

On behalf of the Basis Science team, I want to personally apologise for this situation, we know that many of you love using your Basis Peak watches and have made them part of your daily lives, and we are very sorry for the disruption this will cause you, we had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem, unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren’t able to develop such a solution without completely compromising the experience.

The watch sold for $234 in the US and €244 in Europe, and Intel will offer a full refund to customers.

Interestingly enough, the watch was not based on one of Intel low power processors, but Silicon Labs  EFM32 Wonder Gecko ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, which should be features in many other designs, so the overheating issue was likely caused by the overall system design, rather than the MCU itself.

Via Electronics Weekly

Review of No.1 D6 Android Smartwatch Powered by Mediatek MT6580 Processor

July 23rd, 2016 13 comments

Karl here with a new review. This one is a little different. A smart watch, but not your average smart watch, as most smartwatches supplement a phone. This is a standalone smartwatch. It runs full Android 5.1. It is the D6 by No. 1. It has a 3G radio and SIM card slot. I was really excited when I found out I could do this review.

Below are some pics from their website.

No.1_D6_Smartwatch

Another professionally shipped and packaged product and some box pics

Chinavasion_No1_D6_Smartwatch_Package

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No1_D6_Smartwatch_Specs

Here are the specs from No. 1’s website.

Product Overview
Model NO.1 D6
Product modeling Android Smartwatch
System Android 5.1
CPU MT6580 quad core Cortex A7 @ up to 1.3 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
Screen Resolution 1.63″ 320 x 320 resolution
RAM 1GB
ROM 8GB
Wifi Support
Google Play Support
Features
Make calls Support
See text messages Support
Contacts Support
Heart Rate Support
Pedometer Support
Bluetooth BT2.1 + BLE4.0
Browser Support
Barometer Support
Voice Search Support
Alarm Support
Weather Support
Health Data Synchronization Support
Change Clock Face Support
Install App Support
Operation frequency GSM/ 850/900/1800/1900 ; WCDMA 850/2100
Language Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (simplified), Indonesian, Malay, Czech, Danish, German (German), German, English (UK), Spanish (United States), Filipino, French, Croatian, Italian language, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Netherlands, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romania, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Vietnamese, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian language, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Thai, Burmese, Khmer, Korean, Japanese
Hardware
Speaker Support
Battery capacity 450 mAH
Antenna Support
Side buttons Support
Chargers Support
USB Support
G-SENSOR Support
Package weight 170g

First Impressions

The watch looks good to me. I had a few people say it looked big to them but I don’t feel like it is too big….in fact I wish it were bigger. Below are some pics I took. My pictures don’t due it justice so that is why I posted the professional pics above.

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No1_D6_Android_Smartwatch

First Tests

First thing I did was try to push it to the max and do some absurd testing. What does that entail? For me it was watching movies on a watch. Kodi Netflix MX player, Plex, HdHomerun, and Emby.

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To my surprise most worked pretty well considering it is a watch. With Emby I couldn’t use the built in player and had it use MX player and I couldn’t get Plex to work at all. This is not a deal breaker…it is really a ridiculous test but sometimes you do things just to see if they could be done. I also ran Antutu and got a 23221 on version 6.1.4….not too shabby for a watch.

No.1_D6_Antutu_6_Score

OTA Firmware Update

After a couple days I received notification that the watch needed to be updated. So I performed the updated and followed the instructions. It went through and when it booted the first time after the update it hung on the boot animation and got really warm. I waited a long time I took the battery out and when I turned it on next it booted properly. Then a 2nd update appeared but this time the watch soft bricked. I went to the website, downloaded the latest firmware, and installed it. It mostly went off without a hitch except I should have waited to plug in the watch until after I installed the drivers. It took 30 tries for me to catch the device in the device manager to install the drivers manually from the download. Included in the download were the drivers and flashing tool and img. It did not come with any instructions that I saw but it was easy to reflash. (Received another update today and it installed perfectly.)

Setup

I didn’t like the built in launcher at first so I installed Nova Launcher. Added 3 widgets one is clock, circle battery widget from the play store, and power control widget. Nova is pretty customizable so I was able to mimic an android phone setup. But I ended up getting errors with Nova and it would force close frequently and I had to choose default launcher over again.

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I really wish Nova worked better, didn’t close like this, and I think it takes a toll on the battery. I installed Apex launcher which worked pretty well and not too heavy but had to sacrifice too much. After a while I ended up back with the stock launcher. It’s good enough for a watch that runs full android with a small screen.

Use

So as I see it, there are a couple ways use the device. You can use it as a standalone. Pop a SIM card in and use it as your phone. A Bluetooth headset is necessary for this. Speaker phone is weak and there is no privacy. I tested first with a Ting SIM card. Popped it in and I was immediately up and running. I only made a few calls this way. I also tested with a Metro PCS SIM. Not quite as easy…I had to call and give Metro my IMEI number, and about 30 minutes later I was in business. I am not a fan of Bluetooth headsets so I didn’t enjoy this way. And I got caught at the end of the day once before I started charging midday without phone service. 2nd way is you can use it paired to your phone through Bluetooth and receive notifications, pass files to the watch and uninstall applications on the watch. Use it like a traditional smart watch. I didn’t find this particularly useful and when you get out of range of the watch both the watch and the phone beep. I opted to use it standalone. When out and about I turn on my hotspot on my phone and when home I use my home WiFi. This seemed to work best for me. You could also pair the phone and watch and also use hotspot. I just didn’t find notifications particularly useful. The good thing about this watch is you get many choices.

Battery

The battery has a 450 mAh capacity…which is tiny considering this processor is installed in full size phones. I really had to watch what I installed and had to be conscious of background tasks or it would destroy the battery. After testing to see if I could make it all day I started charging on my lunch break at work after that I didn’t have to be concerned with battery life. It charges relatively fast. After receiving the last OTA update when this review was nearly complete, I got significantly better battery life. I used it quite a bit the next day and I had about 20% left at the end of my work day with no charging. Depending on how it is used will significantly impact battery. I would recommend a second charging cable. It is proprietary with magnets that aren’t particularly strong. I found sometimes it was difficult to get it to stay.

Apps

I installed lots of different apps. Everything would install and was mostly usable. On a small screen it was sometimes difficult to navigate. I covered all the video apps already but I also installed ES File Explorer and to get on the pop bandwagon I installed Pokemon Go and it played fine.

No1_D6_Smartwatch_Android_Apps

There are thousands of apps and if you would like for me to test one leave a comment below and I will give it a shot. I live in the United States so some apps might not be available.

Radios/Antennas

Cellular, WiFi, or GPS worked ok. I had more dropped calls than I typically did with my smartphone. I do live in rural America so this will vary. WiFi range was OK. With Pokemon Go I did notice that trees were enough to disrupt the GPS signal.

Final Thoughts

It’s a pretty neat watch considering what it is doing in such a small amount of space. With this last update from No.1 battery life improved a lot. I wish it had come earlier in the review. It is definitely up the tech junkies alley and would make a cool gift. I am sure there are a lot of uses that it could be used for. There is a long thread on XDA as well covering the watch and I would imagine a custom ROM will be out soon. People are already flashing an img from another smartwatch on this one. Supposedly 6.0 will be coming to the watch in the near future and hopefully bring adaptable storage to the watch. If you have any questions feel free to post in the comments below.

I would like to thank Chinavasion for sending the NO. 1 D6 to review. It comes in 3 different versions: silver like shown in review, gold, and black. You can purchase it for $76.99 on their website. Alternatively, you can also find the watch on GearBest, GeekBuying, eBay, and Aliexpress for similar or slightly higher prices up to $90.