This week in wearables: Under Armour acquisitions, a Casio smartwatch, and Army robotic exoskeleton
Jul11

This week in wearables: Under Armour acquisitions, a Casio smartwatch, and Army robotic exoskeleton

Hot gadgets — and a healthy dose of hot drama — hit the wearables industry this week. We’ve got you covered on what you need to know. 1. The last time you had a Casio watch, you probably used it as a calculator or, if you were lucky, as a TV remote. Casio is jumping back into the spotlight with a new smartwatch. President Kazuhiro Kashio is aiming for this watch to be a timepiece first and will let the “smart” features fall in place second. 2. Under Armour continues to make big purchases with the recent acquisition of fitness search engine, Gritness. Since UA opened another headquarters in Austin, Texas, Under Armour has bought up major startups in the area. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing some of these Central Texas companies integrated into our favorite Under Armour products and technology. 3. The U.S. Army developed a robotic exoskeleton to help soldiers stabilize their shooting arms. The Mobile Arm eXoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization, or MAXFAS, gives the arm full mobility while steadying the arm during aim and fire. Without tremors, looks like soldiers could hit the bullseye every time. 4. What if wearables could do more than just relay data? Environmental designer, Neri Oxman, attempts to answer that question by developing wearable devices that can reproduce biological functions. Through a complicated process of synthetic microorganisms and 3D printing, Oxman hopes to develop a line of devices to create calcium for bones, create skin, and even act as a full body system. 5. Heath tech company Owaves might have just made a “killer app.” Wellness GPS is a new app that pairs with smartwatches to help users plan every part of their day on a 24-hour calendar. From exercising to napping and eating, Wellness GPS is different because it was created “to help you prioritize these life-sustaining activities alongside traditional work and errands,” according to CEO, Royan Kamyar. 6. As the saying goes, third time’s a charm for Jawbone, who filed another lawsuit against Fitbit. Jawbone continues its argument that Fitbit stole company secrets by nabbing certain employees and wants to see Fitbit banned from importing company products into the country. While Jawbone continues to throw legal papers, Fitbit continues to cruise to the top of the...

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This week in wearables: Fitbit stocks, second-gen Apple Watch, and everything else you missed
Jun20

This week in wearables: Fitbit stocks, second-gen Apple Watch, and everything else you missed

From a great day on the trading floor to equipping the health industry with wearable tech, this week was a big one for the industry as various companies ruled the headlines. Skim the below to be well-versed on what happened this week. 1. FitBit‘s first day on the NYSE went better than we could have ever expected. Not only did the opening land the company among the top 10 market debuts of the year, but stock prices soared from $20 to $30.40. It might be time to rethink your current investments. 2. The UK-startup, Blocks Wearables, is going where no smartwatch has gone before. Their goal? To create a smartwatch that you can customize with different modules. From choosing the color of the band to deciding what functions your watch will have, Blocks will allow you to pick only the parts that you really want. 3. Intel exec, Josh Walden, has officially announced the chip mogul’s acquisition of Recon Instruments. After Intel missed the smartphone boat by a mile, it’s a smart idea for them to pick up Recon — who just so happens to be a leader in high-tech eyewear. Look out smart glasses, Intel is coming for your space. 4. The National Health Services of the UK are making huge strides in healthcare with the addition of wearable technology for patients. From skin sensors to smart clothes, the NHS hopes to implement more effective measures of monitoring health and patient information. 5. AT&T added 6 new wearable devices to its in-store and online selection. Bringing the running total up to 30 devices, the company is getting the hang of how the Internet of Things seems to work. Although the Apple Watch has yet to hit AT&T stores, you can check out new gadgets like the Misfit Flash and Mio Fuse while you wait. 6. Rumors are quickly spreading that the second gen Apple Watch will support a camera for video chatting. With the Wi-Fi capabilities coming out with the new watchOS, the Apple Watch will be even more independent from the iPhone, and a front-facing camera could potentially allow you to leave your phone at home entirely. There is plenty of time for these rumors to be dismissed, but until then, we’re keeping our hopes...

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Fitbit stock soars well above expectations, landing among top 10 market debuts this year
Jun18

Fitbit stock soars well above expectations, landing among top 10 market debuts this year

Fitbit landed among the top 10 stock market debuts of the year Thursday morning when shares opened 52 percent above their $20 IPO offer price. The price per share soared to $30.40. “I feel a lot of gratitude for everyone who has been on the journey with us, all the employees, the investors who have struggled with us over the years, and our customers, as well,” Fitbit CEO James Park told CNBC from the NYSE trading floor. “There’s over 200 billion dollars of consumer spending on health and fitness every year. This is a massive market; there’s room for more than one dominant player,” Park continued, citing Fitbit’s wide range of products (but mostly activity trackers) as a competitive differentiator. Available devices include the Fitbit Surge, FitbitCharge, FitbitCharge HR, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Zip, Fitbit One, and the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. At $20 a share, Fitbit is valued at $4.1 billion. At its opening price of $30.40 a share, it’s valued at $6.2 billion — making Fitbit one of the most valuable consumer technologies in the world. According to its IPO filing in May, Fitbit took in $745.4 million in revenue in 2014 and $131.8 million in net income. Sales dramatically jumped from 2013, when the company reported $271 million in revenue and a $52 million net loss. Fitbit’s devices alone accounted for 68 percent of the activity tracker market in 2014. “We’re more than just wearables,” Park continued Thursday morning. “We’re going to be focusing a lot on software and services. So again, the mission of the company is really to get people healthier and more active.” Oh, and when asked about legal nemesis Jawbone? “We really respect all of our competitors,” is all Park had to say.  At the writing of this article, over 41 million shares were being traded Stay tuned for more...

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Xiaomi closely trails Fitbit and jumps to second place in worldwide wearables market
Jun17

Xiaomi closely trails Fitbit and jumps to second place in worldwide wearables market

Xiaomi, the Chinese technology company that was named the most valuable tech startup at the end of 2014, has frequently been in the news as of late. Since releasing its first smartphone less than four years ago, the company has become the largest smartphone vendor in China and third largest smartphone distributor in the world, largely through undercutting prices via very narrow profit margins and a completely online presence. The company recently set its sights on fitness trackers, too. The colorful Mi Band “hit the market last August in mainland China, and since then has spread to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. On Monday, it finally hit US and European shores, among the first Xiaomi products to reach the West,” according to a report in Quartz. Priced at a mere $20, it is giving wearable tech chief Fitbit a run for its money. Although the Mi Band may not have as many features, it is three times more affordable than Fitbit’s cheapest tracker and comes with a longer battery life. Furthermore, the Mi Band allows the user to choose between a hundred colors and various vibration patterns for any given app, providing a versatility lacking in most other activity trackers. Despite Xiaomi’s drastic growth over the last few years, an IDC report released earlier this month revealed that Fitbit is still at the top of the worlds’ wearable tech market. Now we see if they can stay there. Xiaomi is trailing incredibly close...

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Fitbit IPO shines the spotlight on wearable tech with a $3.7 billion valuation
Jun17

Fitbit IPO shines the spotlight on wearable tech with a $3.7 billion valuation

Update, June 18: Fitbit stock soars well above expectations, landing among top 10 market debuts this year   In May, FitBit filed for a $100 million IPO, making it the first pure wearable technology company to go public. The wearables veteran has made recent waves for lawsuits with Jawbone, as well as its recall of the FitBit Force in early 2014 for allergic reactions. However, the rocky path has not stopped the tech titan from reaching great heights in advance of the IPO. Business Insider reported that “not only was the share count bumped up to 34.5 million from 29.9 million, but so too was the price range, to $17-$19 from $14-$16. That increased the proposed deal size by 38% to $621.0 million, at the mid-point of the new price range.” In short, Fitbit earned itself a $3.7 valuation. The recent uptick in share quantity and price is just another indication of the booming wearables market and the pioneering gains FitBit is making for technology. Although the company faces immense competition from powerhouses like Apple and China’s Xiaomi, the Fitbit IPO is anticipated to net more than $750 million at the top end of the range. Nasdaq.com wrote on Tuesday, “Shares of the San Francisco company are generating strong buzz among investors, thanks to an increasingly rare combination for a technology initial public offering: A highly recognized consumer brand, strong revenue growth and annual profit.” “While the IPO may not be the largest technology offering nor the most-watched,” stated CNET, “it’ll be a symbolic victory for a wearables market that has grown from obscurity to mainstream attention.” Under the scrutiny of the “mainstream,” Fitbit’s future likely depends on the devices it develops next. Perhaps those “interactive exercise experiences” mentioned in the prospectus are closer to roll-out than we think. More updates to come on...

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