Wearable tech at CES 2014 – what to expect
Fitness gadgets, smartwatches and few weird and wonderful oddities are expected to dominate CES 2014 - here´s our rundown of the wearable tech we expect to see...
The world's biggest tech show gets under way in a few days and many of the gadgets we'll be drooling over will be ones we can strap to our wrists or wear on our faces.
Analyst Gartner reckons wearable tech will be one of the key trends at CES 2014, which takes place in Las Vegas from January 7-10.
Wearable tech is tech we wear, obviously. Think smartwatches
Samsung's Galaxy Gear, fitness bands like
Fitbit Flex, and the internet-connected eyewear of Google
With smartwatches from Apple and Google anticipated later this year tech experts from Las Vegas to London expect the wearable category to be massive in 2014.
But what new gadgets can we expect to get our grubby little mitts on in Sin City? Here are our predictions for what we may see in LV.
Fitness tech takes a step further
In the days before smartwatches and smart specs, wearable tech was solely about gadgets that helped us get fit; bands we wore on our wrist or clipped to our shorts to record how much distance we covered and calories we burned during an arduous winter run.
And the craze for fitness-related wearables will continue at CES
2014, which will see the digital fitness area grow by 30% on last
Scott Stein at tech news and review site Cnet says fitness trackers will "be everywhere" at CES to the point they may turn into the "disposable MP3 player of this year".
It has been rumoured that Samsung may be launching a Galaxy Band, although that may not arrive 'til Mobile World Congress in February, according to one Samsung executive.
But CES 2014 is expected to usher in fitness tech that goes beyond mere step-counting, with Stein predicting a range of devices smarter and more sociable than those which came before.
He said: "Fitness ecosystems may get smarter, more socially
connected. Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike have done a good job at being
social, but expect others to try to improve on the equation."
Speaking of trackers that do more than track steps, he said more gadgets are "bound to introduce sensors that go beyond mere pedometer-based tracking".
Could 2014 be the year of the smartwatch?
Last year saw the first smartwatches appearing on the wrist of
try-hard early-adopter types. Devices such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear
looked futuristic and cool, like something from 2001 Space Odyssey,
and were lapped up by Nathan Barley types.
But in all honesty the smartwatch still has a way to go; there hasn't been a category-defining product yet - an iPad of the smartwatch world. In 2014 all this will likely change.
The rumour mill suggests Samsung may use CES 2014 to unveil its Galaxy Gear 2. Korean tech site Daum.net reported that the watch will be compatible with Android smartphones across various brands and will also feature built-in GPS and a better battery.
The original Gear only works with a limited number of Samsung phones and tablets.
Although Apple and Google are expected to launch smartwatches in 2014, neither will be at CES. So what else can we expect in the way of wrist-wear?
Lots of weird and wonderful watches from tech start-ups, according to Scott Stein.
"Expect a lot of wild-card watch makers promising better software, displays, or features. Expect start-ups, crowd-funded prototypes, and some entries from less expected big tech companies."
Weird wearable tech to freak us all out
Every CES throws a few curve balls our way; pigs-may-fly gadgets that make you wonder whether someone really is taking the mick.
A big plastic fork that beeped at you when you'd eaten too much was the top 'weird gadget' of CES 2013.
But what about 2014? Gartner and CES expect wearables to be top of the list of gadgets warping everyone out.
Karen Chupka, senior vice president of CES, predicted we could see everything from "jackets that adjust based on outsidetemperatures to solar-charging handbags".
Scott Stein said: "I expect at least a few products that make you scratch your head and wonder if someone's playing a prank. Smart hat? Smart shoe? Smart cufflinks?
"I'm willing to place my bet on at least one of those coming true just as an opportunity to snag social traffic."