Wareable awards round up
In glittering Shoreditch, East London, we attended the Wareable awards, a celebration of the most innovative wearable tech on the market.
So, who took home the gold? Here's our round up of the winners...
Fitness tracker of the year
And the winner is: Garmin Vivosmart HR+
The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is the most complete version of a fitness tracker you could imagine. Not only is it sleek and minimul in appearance, it’s also jam packed with features to track your health and movement as well as letting you call, text and even receive social media and email alerts.
Alerts are received through pairing the device with your phone or tablet, and doing so also allows you to review your activity and receive helpful tips and motivation to support you as you progress. If you do a variety of activities, the Garmin is ideal. Instead of having to set an activity before you begin, the tracker’s Move IQ automatically tracks whatever activity you switch to. So whether that’s swimming, cycling or running, you can track your activity without changing any settings.
We caught up with Garmin after the awards – here’s what they had to say…
TechTalk: This fitness tracker seems to do everything – what’s next?
Garmin: We’ve been here longer than most other brands at the awards. What we’re best known for is our GPS - it’s in our heritage. So you may see a complete intergration of GPS across all of our models – not just the higher end ones. GPS is now expected by customers in their fitness wearables. You wouldn’t buy a smartphone without a camera and it’s the same with this.
TechTalk: What kind of person is your product for?
Garmin: Traditionally, it’s for people who are very much into fitness. If you look at high-end athletes they all wear Garmin. We’ve struggled in the past because of this, so we wanted to make something that anyone can wear, whatever level they’re at. Its amazing to win this award as recognition of that.
Smartwatch of the Year and Wearable of the Year
And the winner is: Apple Watch Series 2
Making its appearance in September, the Apple watch 2 has already been a big hit in the world of wearables and consequently bagged two awards at the ceremony.
So, what’s new with the Apple Watch 2? Well, for the first time ever the Apple watch has gone waterproof, meaning wearers can now track their swimming activity – from strokes to calories burned. With the appearance being broadly the same in terms of watch size (apart from the 2 being marginally thicker to accommodate a bigger battery), the main differences are in the functionality.
The Apple Watch 2 boasts a super-bright OLED display – offering twice the brightness compared with its predecessor. The 2 Series also finally has a much more powerful processor to load apps faster, and has also f added GPS. This meaning you can track your distance more accurately. The new ViewRanger hiking app makes the best of the update, giving avid walkers the chance to plan routes and receive alerts to warn them if they are straying too far from the track.
VR headset of the year
And the winner is: HTC Vive
VR has been by far the hottest tech of 2016 with new headsets exploding on to the market throughout the year.
The HTC Vive is one of the more advanced pieces of VR kit, running on high powered PCs and complete with two controllers that you use as your hands to interact with the world around you.Games feel incredibly immersive with a 110° field of view, and the razor sharp graphics plunge you straight into the virtual world around you. Dimples on the headset receive infra-red signals from bases placed around the room, meaning your movements and interactions are all tracked perfectly in real-time.
The Vive’s front facing camera also allows you to switch between the real world and the virtual one – allowing you to avoid bumping into the furniture as you become lost in the game.
We caught up with the award winners as they stepped off the stage…
TechTalk: Gaming is amazing on the Vive, but is it being used for anything else?
HTC: We’ve seen it used for lots of things. In education, for example, there’s a VR experience where you go into a lecture theatre and it transforms into the Jurassic world, so kids can walk with the dinosaurs as they learn all about them. It’s being used for design, in theme parks, everywhere you can think of.
TechTalk: Where do you see VR going in the next 5-10 years?
HTC: It’s such early days and such a new technology it’s hard to imagine just how far we could go with this, but we’re always driving innovation, so look out.
Smart home platform of the year
And the winner is: Amazon Echo with Alexa
Smart technology is becoming more polular in our homes. With technology available to control our heating, lighting and music at the touch of a button on our smartphones, the Amazon Echo has gone one step further with voice control.
Compatible with popular services such as Spotify, Wemo and Netamo, Amazon Echo and the Alexa Voice Service can completely control any part of your home at your command. The hands free speaker recognises your voice even over loud music, simply say “Alexa”, ask a question or give an instruction and the Echo will respond accordingly.
The 360° speaker fills any room with rich immersive sound, so whether you want Alexa to play your audio book, give you the news headlines or simply play your favourite tracks – the quality is superb.
Alexa won’t just play your music and check the weather for you, Echo Skills delivers even more capabilities. You can order from Just Eat, book yourself an Uber taxi or even check the web for recipes.
We caught up with Amazon after the awards…
TechTalk: Echo seems to be able to do everything already – from controlling our lights to ordering us pizza – what updates can we expect in future?
Amazon: It’s still early days an we’re thrilled from the response we’ve had from customers. I can’t give away too much, but we added in Champions League scores in recently so you can ask Alexa how your team is doing, we’ve also added shopping so you can already imagine what’s to come.
TechTalk: How do you see Smart home tech evolving in the next 5 years?
Amazon: It’s a really exciting space. The number of connected devices in homes is growing. 5 years ago you would never imagine being able to turn on the lights just with your voice and now we can. Alexa can enable all of this connected technology - it is truly exciting.