Is It Time for a Google Fitness Watch?

Here comes a Pixel … sport watch?

Google and the Fossil Group announced earlier today that the tech giant is acquiring some of Fossil’s smartwatch intellectual property, suggesting Google may be making its own competitor to the Apple Watch, or, as wishful pundits refer to it, a Pixel watch. It’s not an outlandish idea: As first reported in Wareable, Fossil Group executive vice president and chief digital officer Greg McKelvey says the $40 million deal will result in the launch of “a new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.” Google buying up talent as it ramps up hardware efforts is also not unprecedented: In early 2018, it spent $1.1 billion to buy a significant chunk of the HTC smartphone team that had helped develop Google’s Pixel phones.

But Google’s $40 million buy of some of Fossil’s smartwatch tech also says a lot about the broader smartwatch market. In short: Fitness has been driving this whole category of technology, more so than fashion. [...]  read more

Nike’s Self-Lacing Adapt BB Basketball Shoe Is Actually Smart

“I’m gonna offer you a fist bump,” Tinker Hatfield says, holding out his gloved right hand. He took a tumble off a motorized longboard days before, and while a collegiate pole-vaulting career and a lifetime of skiing taught the 66-year-old how to fall, the remote control in his paw stopped him from tucking his thumb in—and when said thumb met the street, the street won.

Hatfield popped it back into place while he was still skidding down the street, but thumbs are fragile, fickle things by design, so he needed something to hold it all in place while it healed. When you’re Nike’s VP of creative concepts and the most recognized sneaker designer of all time, full immobilization is off the table. “No casts,” he told the doctor. “I need to draw.”

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Enter compromise in the form of the black neoprene glove: It allows him to hold a pencil or stylus without jeopardizing the ornate tape job underneath, or the delicate ulnar collateral ligament another layer down. All the protection and support he needs, none of the added bulk or weight that might get in the way. It’s a suspiciously apt parallel, given Hatfield’s career—and why we’re sitting here in the Innovation [...]  read more

The Rise of the Swiss Army Gadget

A router that’s also a speaker. A mirror that’s also a lamp. A picture frame that charges your smartphone. Welcome to the hybrid gadget revolution! It’s a little bit Swiss Army knife, a little bit Island of Doctor Moreau.

Convergences have long been a staple of progress, from multitools to kitchen implements to every other As Seen on TV striver. Surely some medieval archer fashioned a backscratcher out of a bow. But over the last year or two, the combinations have come more quickly, and grown both increasingly outlandish and outrageously useful. For that you can thank—or curse, depending on your tolerance for novelty—a confluence of factors.

Let’s start with the advance you’ve already guessed, or at least have already noticed in your own life: Alexa. Well, voice assistants generally. But it’s Amazon that has most aggressively courted hardware manufacturers, opening up a software development [...]  read more

9 Best CES 2019 Devices You Can Buy Right Now: Suunto, Lenovo, Razer, and More

We love, love, love CES. But amidst all the press previews and preorders at CES 2019, it’s hard to come home and realize that you have months to wait until you can even click “buy” on any of the amazing stuff at the Show. (Otterbox + PopSocket phone case, you will be mine.) This week, we’ve highlighted a few devices that are already available for purchase or preorder. We’re going to include a few great discounted devices, as well.

CES Gadgets for Sale

  • Withings Move for $70. Withings killed it this year, with the classiest blood pressure monitor that we’ve ever seen and a new fitness watch that can take an ECG. But Withings also makes some of the most affordable and attractive fitness watches around, and the Withings Move does not disappoint. It looks like an analog watch but can track fitness metrics while walking, running, or swimming. When you’re ready to doze off, it will also track your sleep cycles. Best of all, it has around 18 months of battery life so you don’t have to charge it every three days.
  • Beddr SleepTuner for $149. The SleepTuner at CES is a small Bluetooth device you put on your forehead at night. Come morning time, its app will give you a complete report on your sleep, thanks to onboard sensors that monitor your sleep position, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. The app helps you see how often you have brief moments where you stop breathing at night, and gives some actionable advice on how to improve your sleep quality. Sadly, it’s only available for iPhone users at launch.
  • Lenovo Smart Tab with Alexa, starting at $300. We checked out this Android tablet, which is now Alexa-enabled in order to make it a useful all-around smart home control panel. The dock adds better speakers and turns it into a full smart display.
  • Suunto 9 Baro for $599. The Suunto 9 features their new FusedTrack technology, which combines data from GPS and the onboard sensors to drastically increase the battery life to a max of 120 hours.
  • Sphero Specdrums for $65. These don’t start shipping until January 15, but we love them. If you have a kid, or are a kid, these app-enabled rings pair colors with sounds and will let you jam anywhere from your carpet to all over the walls of your living room.
  • Litter-Robot 3 Connect for $499. A litter box that will automatically sift your cat’s business to a tray below, and connects to an app so that you can check it while traveling? Sign. Me. Up.
  • JLab JBuds Air True for $50. We got the chance to preview new wirefree JBuds at CES. But they are only $50 and, according to JLab’s CEO Win Cramer, are the best-selling wirefree buds outside the Apple AirPods.
  • FightCamp for $995. We tried this out at CES and our arms may never be the same.
  • Razer Turret Xbox One Keyboard for $250. The walls between console and PC gaming are slowly breaking down. This keyboard is officially supported by Microsoft and is ideal for playing while lounging on a couch.

More Great Tech Deals

Google Home for $89 ($40 off). If you’ve gone Google-wise instead of with Amazon’s smart speakers, now is a great time to snatch them up. You can also get two Home Minis for $50, or the Home Hub for $99. Anker 10W Wireless Charger for $18 ($8 off). Anker has some of the best, and most affordable, chargers and power packs around. This one is compatible with the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy, and it changes while holding it up so that you can watch YouTube while brushing your teeth. Sharp 58-Inch 4K TV with Roku for $380 ($170 off). Do you have a smart 4K TV yet? This one is very basic, but a great deal. Monoprice Maker Ultimate 3D Printer for $300 ($100 off with code ‘OB3D’). This is a product that has been returned and sold for a lower price. It can print all the high-resolution little plastic thingamajigs you want, at up to 300 mm per second. Xbox One Wireless Controller in black for $40 ($20 off). Are you hunkered down with your Xbox for the winter? Here’s a controller, and some tips and tricks. Samsung 10,000mAh portable battery for $16 ($19 off). A pink portable battery is all I’ve ever wanted!

 [...]  read more

Gadget Lab Podcast: Robots, Smart Health, and Security Fails at CES

We came. We saw. We touched a lot of gadgets. This week was the annual CES, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics show, and WIRED’s team was on the ground covering all of the top tech trends to emerge from the show. In this week’s episode of the Gadget Lab podcast, Mike, Arielle, and Lauren talk about CES’s big security #fail, what all of these connected gadgets mean for the future of healthcare, and robots. Lots of robots.

Later in the episode, Arielle talks to Jen Wong, the chief operating officer of Reddit, about the company’s “growing up” moment and how it plans to monetize its users.

Show notes: Check out our best of CES list when you’ve finished listening to the pod. Our CES reporting goes beyond gadgets, as well: We have stories on how insidious logging your child’s data has become, why you should ignore the 5G hype (for now), and how women’s sexuality is apparently still taboo at CES.

Recommendations this week: Arielle recommends getting a  [...]  read more

Women’s Sexuality Is Still Taboo for Tech—at Least at CES

At the tech world’s glitziest gala, the massive Consumer Electronics Showcase held in Las Vegas this week, you could find rows of devices only for women: breast pumps, fertility trackers, breast massagers, skin care gizmos. This embrace of women’s health as a category for tech innovation is a huge shift from just a few years ago, when it was much easier to find a scantily clad “booth babe” hired to hawk some random fitness tracker than it was to find anything geared toward women as consumers—unless it was a pink version of a mainstream gadget.

But while women’s skin care, fertility, and general health have come to represent entire categories for gadget makers, women’s pleasure is apparently still too taboo.

A robotic vibrator, developed in consultation with Oregon State University’s robotics department, was initially accepted into the show and given an innovation award, only to later be excluded because it didn’t fit into an existing product category, [...]  read more

CES 2019 Liveblog Day 4: Thursday’s News and Photos, Live From Las Vegas

You’ve made it to the fourth and final day of our CES 2019 liveblog. By now we’ve toured most of the expo halls, seen most of the demos, and touched most of the gadgets. But there’s still more show! Follow along to see reports from Thursday at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the newest updates appearing at the top.

Bring the Heat

Amy Lombard

Boiling water for tea or coffee is a multi-minute task that many of us do several times a day, and Heatworks claims it has a solution. It’s showing off a prototype (currently nonworking) of the Duo, a battery-powered water carafe that instantly heats water as it pours through the spout. It uses the company’s Ohmic Array tech to heat water much quicker, and without a traditional heating element. Heatworks claims it will take about 20 to 30 seconds to pour an 8-ounce glass of water, and you can set the temperature to whatever you want, within a degree. It doesn’t have a precise release date, but the company claims it will cost between $100 to $150.—Jeffrey Van Camp

Do You Hear Voices?

Amy Lombard

HyperX make some of the best gaming headsets around, but its new Cloud Orbit S may be my new favorite. They come with head tracking tech. During a round of Call of Duty, I could hear voices and sounds move from left [...]  read more

It’s Easier Than Ever to Log Your Kid’s Data—But Should You?

The minute I walked onto the showroom floor at CES, one of the world’s largest consumer trade technology shows, a spokesperson for Philips’ Pregnancy+ app accosted me. “Would you like to experience what it’s like to be a pregnant woman?” he asked.

“I already have,” I told him, but it was too late. Before I knew it, I was standing on a platform with a pair of headphones guided over my ears. “Your baby is now as big as a plum,” a solemn voice told me, as I rotated the tiny body on an iPad screen. I’d seen this all before, but still—I was transfixed.

I’m grateful to have experienced pregnancy and having children, but parenthood is a never-ending whirlwind of worry. Is the baby breathing right? Is she gaining the right amount of weight? Am I doing this right? At CES, plenty of gadget-makers seemed eager to capitalize on this anxious, urgent desire to protect the gorgeous gem of a human being that you’ve grown inside your body. Mostly, that means monitoring your baby. Parenting is about vigilance (and, apparently, teaching your toddler to code).

The sooner it starts, the better. We want to know everything, and anything, that will help us get our heads around the fact that this tiny bundle of cells will grow up to [...]  read more

CES 2019 Liveblog Day 3: Wednesday’s News and Photos, Live From Las Vegas

Welcome to day three of our CES 2019 liveblog. Wednesday is the mid-point of the big show. The expo halls have been open for a full day, and most attendees are heading back for seconds. We saw a great number of wacky gadgets yesterday and Monday—some of them innovative, some of them ridiculous. Expect more of the same today. Scroll down to see reports from Wednesday at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the newest updates appearing at the top.

Bird Box

RoboFarmer

Farmers have to make hundreds of daily decisions that could impact their crop. John Deere wants to take one away from them. This autonomous combine can be programmed using GPS to go follow a route through a field without the control of a farmer. According to a John Deere, it can stay on a preset path without wavering any more than 2.5 centimeters. Two cameras inside the combine also track the quality of the seeds and grain it’s gathering. This is the second year at CES for this particular tractor, and hopefully technology like this can help make farmers’ lives a little bit easier.—Meghann Farnsworth

Eye Candy

We just posted today’s photo gallery of all the coolest stuff we’ve seen so far at the show. Check it out here, with truly beautiful photography from Amy Lombard.

Vision Quest

Oculus revealed its standalone Quest headset back in September, and I finally got the chance to strap it on and play it here at CES. For [...]  read more

Keep a Daily Planner in 2019—for Yourself and Nobody Else

It started innocently enough, as most online searches do. I wanted a planner. It was mid-December, and soon it would be the New Year, when the pressure is on to be a New Me. Becoming more organized seemed a pedestrian—but satisfyingly attainable—resolution.

Instagram had incepted the idea into my brain weeks earlier, when it showed me an ad for 2019 paper planners. Neat lines and blank pages, all patiently waiting to be filled up with ideas, events, and to-do lists. All in servitude of my numerous New Year’s goals. I was inspired. Yes! I thought. Time to “get offline” and “go analog.” I entered the term “best planner” into the search bar and pressed Enter.

Hours later, I emerged from my phone screen frazzled and depressed. I had stumbled into #planner Instagram—#plannerlife, #plannergirl, #planneraddict—and gotten lost, hungrily scrolling through image after image of fanciful calligraphy and perfectly outlined lists and elaborate illustrations of journaling wood nymphs. My [...]  read more