A review of wearable tech in 2013

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2013 was a big year for wearable technology. In fact, it was the biggest so far. Hundreds of products were released, lots of technology was improved, and some great products were developed. Let’s take a moment to look at the best parts, shall we?

Headsets:

Arguably the biggest and most important wearable technology release of the year, Google Glass continues to make splashes in the news every now and then. Released in February of 2013, Google Glass brought the idea of augmented reality to the general publics attention. Since February, Google Glass has had a number of software updates and great apps released to it, and is now on its second version. Google Glass is a trendsetter. It is operated largely by voice commands, many of which are now used on other smart-devices. 2014 is set to be a big year for Glass as well, and we will likely see a release to the general public, or at least a much wider audience be offered the device.

Moving away from the augmented reality and into the virtual reality, the Oculus Rift also made splashes in the wearable tech world. While the device existed before the start of 2013, a number of big things happened for the Oculus VR in the past year. Oculus received millions upon millions of dollars in funding, as well as a new CTO in John Carmack of Doom and id Software fame. The Oculus Rift is widely seen as the most promising of virtual reality devices. With a 1080p screen resolution and a number of games already available for the device, we should expect to see the Oculus Rift a lot in 2014.

Smartwatches:

The Samsung Galaxy Gear is the Google Glass of smartwatches – it’s a trendsetter. While many view the watch as nothing really special (especially because of the limited number of devices it can be used with), it did bring the idea of a smartwatch to the general public. Not only that, but the Galaxy Gear has some great features. With the ability to take and make calls, control music playback, and even take photos, the Galaxy Gear has become an indispensable item for many people. 2014 may not be a huge year for the Galaxy Gear, but the Galaxy Gear has paved the way for a number of devices which will likely see success in 2014.

Another watch that did not receive nearly as much attention as it deserved was the Sony Smartwatch 2. The ability to connect to a wide range of Android devices makes the Sony Smartwatch 2 a smartwatch for the masses. It also allows for people to be able to take and make calls, run a number of apps, and control things like music.

The Pebble was the original smartwatch. Famously being funded by a Kickstarter campaign in early 2012, the Pebble entered mass production in January of this year. While it may not be the most impressive device as far as specs go, it certainly can come in handy, and it couples a great idea with a great price. Compatible with both iPhone and Android, the Pebble brings notifications to your wrist while still remaining waterproof and customizable. All that for a bargain price of $150. The future of the Pebble is unknown, but the effects of the Pebble in the wearable tech industry will certainly be seen in 2014.

Fitness Devices:

The Fitbit Flex was one of the biggest fitness devices released in 2013, and for good reason. It offers 24 hour activity tracking, sleep tracking, and is completely waterproof. If you’re looking to streamline you’re daily activities and improve your overall health, this certainly might be the device for you. 2014 will be a big year for Fitbit after having announced their new Fitbit Force in October of 2013.

The Nike+ Fuelband SE is another big release for 2013 fitness trackers. The device was announced in October and released at the end of November. It has a number of great features as well as the same sleek design found in the original Fuelband. It can track sleep and day to day activity. It is also super easy to use and uses Bluetooth 4.0, or the power saving version of Bluetooth. Despite these great features, unfortunately the Fuelband SE is only compatible with idevices running iOS 7 or higher.

Last on the fitness device list is the Misfit Shine. This ultra slimmed down and simple device is sleek and stylish and offers a number of features that could make it perfect for you. It can be worn almost anywhere on the body and can track a number of different things to help you streamline your workout process and daily routine. It’s also compatible with both iOS and Android and has a battery life of between 4 and 6 months. If style and ease of use is what you need then the Misfit Shine is perfect.

Conclusions:

From smartwatches to headsets to fitness devices, 2013 was a big year for wearable technology, as seen from the list above. Sure, it doesn’t include every great product, but it certainly includes some of the best. 2014 is set to be an even bigger year for wearables and the above list is sure to be completely different by this time next year.