The countdown to the biggest tech show on earth is on. Held annually in Las Vegas, the 52nd CES is the place to be if you are interested in next-generation innovations.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
They say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”- but not in this case. CES, which stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, first took place in 1967. In the 50 years since, thousands of products have been announced, including many that have transformed the lives of people around the world.
The show will run between January 8h and 11th, with press conferences set to start a couple of days earlier. Over 180,000 people will descend on the city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment and nightlife.
The 2.75 million-square-foot convention will host some 4,400 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware and content. This will be accompanied by a conference program featuring more than 1,000 speakers.
Expect to see everything from self-driving technology and wireless to drones, to sleep technology, artificial intelligence and robotics. If you can imagine it, there is a good probability someone exhibiting at CES 2019 is already working on it.
Most big wearable tech companies will be there, apart from Apple that is. But don’t let this come to you as a surprise. The Cupertino outfit has been a no-show for years now, instead preferring to hold its own product launch events.
Here’s is a selection of companies that will be there.
Fitbit never fails to make a showing. The San Francisco outfit launched its second smartwatch, the Versa, last Spring and followed this up with an updated version of its most popular fitness device. Charge 3, which was announced in late-Summer, comes with a larger screen, water-resistance, improved battery life and an SpO2 sensor.
Looking forward, there have not been any credible leaks on what could be next. Flex 3 is a possibility as its predecessor was launched back in 2016. Fitbit Alta 2 and Ionic 2 are also candidates. But it’s equally possible the company uses the event, instead, to announce news on the software front.
We recently wrote about Fitbit’s new Sleep Score features. Still in Beta, the company is utilizing the relative SpO2 sensor on some of its devices to arrive at deeper sleep insights. Fitbit has yet to specify a date for the public release but we may hear more in Las Vegas.
Garmin is another wearable tech giant that is a regular at the event. Last year, it used the opportunity to announce the Forerunner 645 Music, a watch with built-in storage for music and Garmin Pay. But more than that, the company has been very busy in 2018, dishing out a slew of new wearables.
Essential reading: Choosing a Garmin fitness tracker
It is a fair bet Garmin will have something in store on the hardware front for CES 2019. It always does.
A watch in the Forerunner series that is rumored for a debut in the near future is the 245. An upgraded version of the 235, it is likely to resemble the 645 but with fewer features and performance metrics. A Forerunner 935 plus (or 945) is also a possibility. Fenix 6 is a bit of a long-shot considering we saw the release of the Fenix 5 Plus during the summer. But we may see something new in Garmin’s fitness tracker line.
Another possibility is an entirely new device. A new Garmin sports-watch hit the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in November. And there’s a mystery sport watch called MARQ. In June this year, Garmin registered the trademark in the category – Computer & Software Products & Electrical & Scientific Products/Jewelry Products. The accompanying documentation suggests that devices under this brand will feature GPS capabilities and a wide variety of fitness and navigation sensors.
In the past few months we saw the debut of Fossil Group’s fourth generation technology. This includes the addition of a heart rate sensor and GPS inside for use without a smartphone. There’s also an NFC chip that allows users to make payments through Google Pay. A number of devices were upgraded with the latest tech including Q Explorist HR, Q Venture HR, Fossil Sport, Skagen Falster 2 and Michael Kors Access Runway.
Expect more of the same and new wearables across its range which includes Diesel, Fossil, Misfit, Michael Kors, Skagen and Emporio Armani. The company has also signed deals with BMW, Puma and Citizen during the past twelve months, so something may pan out on this front.
Withings has confirmed it will attend the event. Back in 2016 the French outfit was snapped up by Nokia. It wasn’t long, though, before the tech giant found the health and fitness industry is a pretty hard nut to crack. Nokia wanted out, so earlier this year Éric Carreel co-founder and former chairman of Withings took the company back under his wing.
Withings has, since then, refreshed its fitness tracker line with classic looking Pulse HR and the Steel HR Sport, a sportier version of its popular hybrid. We will be surprised if it doesn’t use CES 2019 as a platform for something new.
Suunto has confirmed it will be exhibiting in Los Vegas. While there is no mention of any upcoming devices, but five new wearable products powered by Suunto’s Movesense technology will be displayed. Amongst these is a reaction, speed and agility training system called Konect Speed; Morph Wear – a swimming analytics solution; W2ND – for real-time lactate threshold measurement; ALMA.care – which detects signs of health and mobility issues in the elderly; and Overskudd – for athletes performance analysis.
Omron has just revealed that it has secured FDA approval for HeartGuide. The watch is set to go on sale January 8th, which coincides with the opening day of CES.
Originally announced at last year’s show, the ultra-compact and stylish device is the first watch-sized sphygmanometer that promises readings as accurate as you would get from upper arm models. In addition to tracking blood pressure, the watch provides real-time information on physical activity and sleep – providing a complete overview of your health.
We have come a long way since counting steps was the goal. With the number of fitness trackers and smartwatches in use forecast to double in the next few years, the market will continue to evolve and innovate.
CES never disappoints so look forward to a surprise or two. Announcements over the next few weeks will set the tone on what wearable tech we can expect for the entire year. We will be covering all the news that matters as it happens.
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