2015 has been a great year for wearables, with all kinds of new devices seeing the light of day. Probably the most hyped (and likely one of the most successful to date) was the Apple Watch, but there were of course a plethora of fitness trackers, smartwatches, virtual reality headsets and prototypes announced or launched.
Next year is likely to be important for all kinds of wearables, with many shown off at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Looking forward to 2016, here’s my pick of some of the wearables that I’m most excited about. There’s really too many to mention, so why not add your own thoughts about next year’s tech in the comments below…
Moto 360 Sport
Motorola was one of the first companies to get on the smartwatch bandwagon with the original Moto 360. Despite the first version being a little clunky (not to mention large), Motorola is busying new versions and designs of its smartwatch. The Moto 360 Sport is already on sale in Europe, but will be released in the US in January. It’s only the second Android Wear smartwatch to include built-in GPS. It also comes with many of the features we’ve come to expect, such as heart rate monitoring among others.
The HoloLens ‘augmented reality’ headset caused quite a splash when it was first unveiled earlier this year. Despite not being on sale yet, it looks full of promise, and there’s set to be a developer version available during 2016 for a cool $3,000. No doubt there will be some impressive demos and further updates from Microsoft as the year progresses. Definitely one to watch…
Blocks modular smartwatch
Yet another smartwatch, however Blocks is been one of the most popular wearables on Kickstarter and no ordinary device. It’s a modular watch designed by the British company and is set to launch in 2016. The design is one of the most intriguing features of Blocks, plus the fact that it’ll work with iOS and Android.
Perhaps most exciting though are the new modules that are likely to be available – meaning that the watch can grow and add more functionality over time. The Blockstore already has some interesting modules such as a fingerprint ID sensor, and it will be interesting to see what cool features third-parties come up with.
Apple Watch 2
Some people love it, others hate it, but the Apple Watch has been quite a success for Apple. While there are no hard sales figures available, it’s pretty safe to say that it has spurred interest in both intelligent watches and wearable tech in general.
As certain as night follows day, there is certainly going to be an updated model in 2015 – even if it’s just teased onstage at an Apple event. Aside from the design, which is likely to change little from the first generation model, the next version will surely add some of the missing features and make the watch more useful as a standalone device. Whatever capabilities the Apple Watch 2 will have, it will no doubt be one of the most popular wearables in the coming year.
Having made something of a major comeback in the last few years as the technology necessary has matured and become more powerful, virtual reality (VR) appears to be on the cusp of becoming mainstream in a year or two. Gamers seem like the obvious target market, as companies like Oculus (owned by Facebook) and HTC have all shown off impressive hardware and demos, but 3D movies may also appeal to the masses as companies like YouTube, Nokia (Ozo), GoPro (Spherical), Google (Cardboard) and Samsung (Gear VR) experiment with immersive 3D content and video hardware.
Some people may think that VR is still a solution waiting for a problem to solve, but virtual reality may emerge as one of the most promising technologies during the next few years.
As the dust settles on the final days of 2015, take a moment to let us know what you’re particularly looking forward to in mobile and technology during 2016.