wearable computing

Survey ranks Apple as #1 wearables maker

In a report issued Thursday market research firm Strategy Analytics said that Apple has overtaken Fitbit to become the world's leading vendor of devices worn on one's body, capturing sixteen percent of the global market for wearables in the March quarter.

Apple sold an estimated 3.5 million watches during the three-month period ending in March, a 59 percent increase over the 2.2 million Apple Watch units sold in the year-ago quarter.

According to Strategy Analytics data, rival Fitbit shipped 2.9 million units in March, marking a significant 36 percent drop from the 4.5 million Fitbits shipped in the year-ago quarter.

Strategy Analytics stated:

Fitbit has lost its wearables leadership to Apple, due to slowing demand for its fitnessbands and a late entry to the emerging smartwatch market.

Fitbit’s shipments, revenue, pricing and profit are all shrinking at the moment and they have a major fight on their hands to recover this year.

The new Apple Watch Series 2 is selling “relatively well” in the US, UK and elsewhere, due to “enhanced styling, intensive marketing and a good retail presence,” said the research firm.

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Chinese startup Xiaomi shipped 3.4 million wearable units, good for a cool fifteen percent marketshare worldwide. Demand for Xiaomi's popular Mi Band fitness range was broadly flat across its core markets of Asia.

Fitbit thus far has mostly focused on fitness bands and related accessories.

That could change soon as the company is expected to add smartwatches to its portfolio. However, if an image leaked earlier this week (above) is anything to go by, Fitbit's upcoming smartwatch slated for release this fall won't win any beauty contest.

Fitbit also plans on releasing a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, codenamed “Parkside” internally, alongside the smartwatch, according to two of Yahoo Finance’s sources. A photo of the upcoming $150 earbuds (below) was leaked to Yahoo Finance earlier this week.

Last December, Fitibit acquired software assets of the struggling smartwatch maker Pebble for a mere $40 million. Following the acquisition, Fitbit put the last nail in Pebble's coffin by cancelling all new hardware that Pebble had in the pipeline.

Global wearables shipments reached 22 million units during the March quarter, marking a 21 percent increase year-over-year from 18.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Stronger demand for new smartwatch models in North America, Western Europe and Asia drove the uptick, said Strategy Analytics.

The full Wearables Market Data repot is available on the Strategy Analytics website.

Samsung pulls back the curtain on two new wearables: Gear S3 Classic and Frontier

It is no secret that the Gear S2 watches were far from perfect even though they were a step in the right direction for Samsung. Today, the South Korean company has expanded its smartwatch lineup with the introduction of a pair of new wearables—the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier. More elegant and rugged than ever, the new Samsung watches have embedded GPS and cellular LTE connectivity.

Like the 2015 Gear S2, the new S3 range is based on the Tizen operating system that brings some updated software features to the mix. The Gear S3 Classic and Frontier will start shipping later this year.

Rumor: new health-tracking Apple hardware in the works for 2017 launch

Taiwan's Economic Daily News is reporting that Apple is developing a brand new health-tracking hardware product that will be released in 2017. Although the report sheds little light on the matter, a machine-translated version of the story suggests that the device, described as a “killer new” gadget, will be a first-generation product so we can rule out a second-generation Apple Watch.

It's also unclear if the rumored product will be worn on one's body and whether it will operate standalone or require an iPhone, like the Apple Watch.

Jawbone stops making UP fitness trackers, planning a clinical-grade health device

Jawbone, which made a name for itself a decade ago with a lineup of high-quality Bluetooth headsets, has stopped making and selling the UP fitness trackers, according to a report yesterday from Tech Insider.

Sources familiar with the matter have reportedly told the publication that the company has sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller, while The Verge adds that Jawbone is now exploring a “clinical-grade health device”.

FitBit unveils next-generation activity trackers and a $250 fitness superwatch

After recalling its rash-inducing Force wristband back in February, FitBit on Monday launched a new family of activity trackers, the FitBit Charge and Charge HR, while making its first foray into the smart watch space with the FitBit Surge fitness accessory.

The water-resistant Fitbit Charge, billed as “the Force reinvented”, is an improved version of the activity tracker with an OLED screen and a seven-day battery. The Fitbit Charge HR is an improved version of the Charge wristband with FitBit's PurePulse heart rate sensors and a five-day battery.

As for the Fitbit Surge, this $250 fitness watch packs in a total of eight sensors for more detailed logging of activities such as running and working out. Jump past the fold for more details.