By Wares June 23, 2016 Wearables, personal care & health

Who are the global top dogs in wearables?

Global wearables shipments almost doubled in the first quarter of 2016 according to data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, with total shipment volumes reaching almost 20 million units, +67.2% on the previous year.

But it’s not all plain sailing in the super-competitive wearables market. New products, price reductions and new wearables categories like clothing and footwear were offset against several start-ups rationalising or even shutting down entirely.

Having said this, for the most part the dominant players seem to have become more so. The following is IDC’s rundown on the top five wearables players by market share based on units shipped.

Note also however that by far the biggest player is “Other” with fully 37% of shipments, which serves to indicate just how many other players are bubbling under.

  • #1 Fitbit (24.5% global market share) – Fitbit remains the undisputed leader in the global wearables market with 25% growth to start the year. The launch of its Alta and Blaze devices resulted in million unit shipment volumes for each, pointing to “a new chapter of fashion-oriented fitness trackers”, says IDC. The flipside is Fitbit seeing what IDC reports as “significant declines” for its previously successful Surge, Charge, Charge HR, and Flex products.
  • #2 Xiaomi (19%) – With 42% growth in shipments, Xiaomi overtook Apple in Q1. Its affordable fitness trackers saw the addition of heartrate monitoring and the firm also launched a kids’ watch to help parents track their children. Note that Xiaomi still sells wearables only in China.
  • #3 Apple (7.5%) – Apple says its Watch has met expectations, which nevertheless trailed the volumes and revenues of its other product lines. Until the next version of the Watch comes out, says IDC, it would appear that Apple will continuously update its watch bands to keep the product relevant.
  • #4 Garmin (4.6%) – With 28% growth Garmin finished slightly ahead of Samsung, thanks, says IDC, to its breadth of products. Having added two fitness trackers with the vivoactive HR and the vivofit 3, Garmin also launched its first eye glasses-like device, the Varia Vision In-Sight Display, for cyclists.
  • #5= Samsung (3.6%) – With just 4.5% growth year on year Samsung’s top 5 position was thanks to its Gear S2 with its own cellular connection and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches. Gear S2 is also compatible with non-Samsung Android smartphones, although, says IDC, its apps trail behind those for Android Wear and watchOS.
  • #5= BBK (3.6%) – This is the second time that BBK (the Chinese electronics giant which makes Oppo and OnePlus phones) has finished among the top 5 vendors, the first time being late last year thanks to its cutesy Y01 phone watch for children. Another phone watch for children, the Y02, with improved water resistance and durability is also now available.


Meet the activity tracker for nerds

Gamefying activity is a coming thing, encouraging consumers to walk, run, in fact do anything except sit on their sofas.

Take a new fitness app called Run An Empire. The game’s co-founders, Ben Barker and Sam Hill, were inspired to create the app when they realised nothing was really giving them the motivation they needed.

They are classic “game-geeks” with a love/hate but mainly hate relationship with exercise. They saw a huge gap in the market for something that could talk to people like themselves and did something about it.

Run An Empire is a first and foremost a strategy game app, designed to make exercise stimulating by pitting neighbour against neighbour as they race to run, jog or walk around an area with their phones, “capturing” it and building their own digital kingdom.

The app tracks players’ progress, rewarding persistence and celebrating milestones with various levels and badges. It also features a live scoreboard that’s updated in real time as people build their own empire. 

Run An Empire was designed to be a game with health benefits, which rewards determination over natural ability and works with each person’s pace, no matter their speed around the streets. Essentially it is a game in its own right that also has health benefits. 

Run An Empire is currently available for iPhone and can be downloaded on the Apple App Store.


Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and Pebble Core

Three years after Pebble started selling its original Kickstarter-funded smartwatch, it has returned to Kickstarter to fund its latest smartwatches at the same time rationalising its range. Key to the new Pebble models, which are usually sold direct to the consumer, is the addition of built-in activity tracking, optical heart rate monitoring, and an updated suite of Pebble Health tools. Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 have bigger displays, the same multi-day run times, notifications from Android or iPhone, show your schedule, and perform simple tasks with the click of a button. Both have water resistance down to 30 meters, and e-paper displays that make them readable indoors and out. Like all their products, Pebble 2 and Time 2 work with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Also new is a less traditional product in the form of an ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight, and ultra-affordable watchface sized product called Core. Billed as the first 3G, truly connected ultra-wearable, Core allows you to leave your smartphone at home but stay connected. Core streams music from Spotify and syncs GPS data with Runkeeper, Strava and Under Armour Record.


Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

On 27 April, Dyson announced its entry into hair care. Using Dyson’s patented Air Multiplier technology, Supersonic uses a fast but focused airflow, is engineered for balance in the hand, is quiet and intelligently controls the temperature to help protect hair from extreme heat damage. Powered by the patented Dyson V9 digital motor – Dyson’s smallest, lightest, most advanced digital motor so far – it is small enough to be positioned in the handle rather than the head, for balance. Supersonic also has intelligent heat control, so hair isn’t exposed to excessive temperatures. The Dyson Supersonic has four heat settings, three airflow settings and a cold shot too as well as three magnetic attachments to achieve a range of different styles. We have no word as yet about availability or pricing for New Zealand.


Garmin Vívomove, Approach X40 and Forerunner 735XT Activity Trackers

Garmin continues to release new products at a rate of knots for a variety of purposes and activities.

Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT Triathlon GPS Running Watch with Elevate wrist heart rate is the brand’s most lightweight multisport watch. Forerunner 735XT features 24/7 heart rate monitoring and built-in activities including running, cycling, swimming, multisport, hiking, XC skiing, strength training, paddle sports and cardio. Connect IQ compatible, Forerunner 735XT is the first device to come with the Strava Live Suffer Score app pre-installed so users can track how hard they have been working based on heart rate data. Additional free custom apps, watch faces, data fields and widgets can also be downloaded from the Connect IQ store.

Vívomove is an analogue style watch for all day wearing with activity tracking features like monitoring steps and sleep and reminding users when they’ve been inactive too long with its move bar. Throughout the day, Vívomove automatically syncs with the Garmin Connect Mobile app. One-year battery life, water resistance and a variety of interchangeable bands complete the spec. Vívomove is available in several models: the sleek Vívomove sport (black or white), Vívomove classic (black with leather band or rose gold-tone with leather band), and the more upscale Vívomove premium (stainless steel with leather band or gold-tone steel with leather band).

Last but not least, Garmin’s first golf-specific activity tracker is the Approach X40. Featuring GPS and 24/7 heart rate monitoring, Approach X40 combines daily activity tracking and Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology with golf data for more than 40,000 international courses. Slim and lightweight, this versatile wristband shows precise distances to the front, middle and back of each green as well as hazards. Smaller than other golf watches, X40 features AutoShot tracking, which measures and records shot distances for post-round analysis in Garmin Connect. Approach X40 boasts connected features like smart notifications and compatibility with the Garmin TruSwing club sensor to provide useful swing metrics at a glance and within Garmin Connect. X40 will begin shipping in Q2 2016 and will be available in black, white, frost blue and limelight blue.


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