CES 2021 shuts its doors for another year today. This is the first time in its 54 year history the gathering adopted a virtual-only format.
It was necessary, of course, because of the current coronavirus global pandemic. And better than cancelling the event altogether.
CES 2020 managed to squeeze in just before the coronavirus spread. However, organizers have played it safe for this one which lasts between January 11th and 14th.
What is it?
CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show. It has been the launching ground for many thousands of products since it first took place in 1967, including some that have changed our lives.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
The gathering is typically held across a 2.75 million-square-foot convention. In 2020 it hosted some 4,500 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware and content. This was accompanied by a conference program featuring more than 1,000 speakers.
But in 2021 it is different and we definitely didn’t see the scenes from the picture above. The event has adopted a all-digital format. You can follow it from your home rather than traveling to Las Vegas.
After today, the on-online digital venue will remain open for those that have registered until February 15th. That should give you ample time to engage with exhibitors and reply programming.
Most tech events in 2020 have gone down the virtual route or been cancelled. The Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona was not held, and Apple held an online version of its Worldwide Developer Conference in June. London’s Wearable Tech show did take place in early March but it was a much smaller affair than usually. IFA 2020 in Berlin adopted a virtual event combined with some live gatherings.
It is unfortunate, but understandable considering the circumstances, that events are changing format. Let’s hope that things return to normal very soon.
Wearable tech at CES 2021
Wearable tech typically makes a strong showing at CES. In 2020 we saw the launch of Huami’s Amazfit Bip S and T-rex, the unveiling of Muse S, Withings Scanwatch, Suunto 7, UrgoNightband, Diesel On Fadelite, NURVV Run, Skagen Falster 3, Mobvoi Ticpods Pro 2 and much more.
Garmin is there, as well as Huami, Samsung, Fossil and Omron. However a lot of the big names were missing from the list. This includes Fitbit, Polar, Huawei, Mobvoi, Withings, Suunto and the usual absentee Apple.
What follows are the wearables and health tech that piqued our interest in 2021.
AirPop wants to make masks we are all meant to wear a bit smarter. In addition to a quality filter, their masks come equipped with tech that allow it to capture breathing-related health data.
The gizmo works in conjunction with a smartphone app. The AI in the software collates the information on internal respiration with outside air quality and location. What’s more the app will let you know when it is time to change the filter. AirPop Active+ vailability starts in the US and Canada later this month.
Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0
A regular at this event, Scosche has announced Rhythm+ 2.0. This is an update version of the original device launched in 2014.
The second generation also allows you to monitor your heart rate from your upper forearm, biceps or triceps. The added value this time around is much longer battery life and upgraded sensors. Other than that, you still get the IP68 water resistance along with Dual ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart connectivity.
Honor Band 6
This one was originally announced a few months ago, but Honor used CES 2021 to announce global availability. The novelty of the device is its huge screen. Coming in at 1.47 inches it blurs the line between fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Honor is keeping the price right down and is charging just $35. That is pretty impressive considering the fitness band comes with all the usual sensors, along with blood oxygen saturation.
Fossil Gen 5 LTE
Fossil has opened pre-orders for two variants of an LTE-enabled Generation 5 watch. They come with the same specs as the original so we’re still waiting for a Fossil timepiece with the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip.
The main news is the newly acquired cellular ability that works with the Verizon network. This is combined with a nice 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage which should make the watch run smoothly.
The watches retail for around $50 more than the standard variant. Shiping starts next week.
Amazfit GTS/GTR 2e
Huami has announced global availability of its GTS 2e and GTR 2e watches. The due has been available in China since last month. More interestingly, the company has also said it will unveil an LTE version of the Amazfit GTR 2 soon.
GTS 2e and GTR 2e are cheaper than the original, and for this they sacrifice some functionality. This includes storage for music, WiFi connectivity and the microphone. On the plus side you get much longer battery life and a temperature sensor.
Now that Apple has launched its Fitness+ service, Wondercise is upping its game. They’ve introduced a new Multi-Point Motion Match personal training system. So now this tracks both upper and lower body form.
The second generation Wondercise has a leg strap in addition to two wristbands, one of which can be a Garmin or Apple Watch . The three-point system works together to track your full range of motion. As before, all of this is compared to the movements of on-screen trainers in real-time, essentially gamifying the experience.
Skagen Jorn and Michael Kors Gen 5E watches
We received a couple of more Gen 5E iterations. This includes the Michael Kors Access Gen 5E Darci and Gen 5E MKGO. Danish-based Skagen has also joined in the fun.
These are watches that essentially pack Gen 5 specs in a Gen 2 and 3 design. We saw a bunch of them in October. This means you get the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, along with GPS, NFC and the usual gamut of fitness smarts.
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