Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Facebook’s Metaverse Goal

Facebook has announced that its next hardware product release will be smart glasses, launched in association with Ray-Ban. While details of the new product remain sparse, previous hints and rumors focused on the device being an independent device that can replace the phone, allowing you to make calls, see information and even broadcast livestreams. More recently, CEO Zuckerberg talked about Facebook’s “Metaverse” aspirations. Metaverse was originally a creation of author Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash. It’s a full virtual reality, accessed via 3D glasses and replete with information, advertisements and essentially a “livable platform”… which sounds just about spot on for a company focused on the future of social media.

The NPD Take:

  • Beyond the obvious of the Metaverse concept, which in itself is a huge leap forward, let’s focus on the glasses themselves. If they are cellular-enabled, and provide smartphone-like functionality, could they become the next generation o mobile communications? In which case, Facebook will have an early lead in providing low cost hardware to drive more subscribers to its social solutions…not to mention a means to potentially get the jump on arch-rival Apple.
  • Facebook is also purportedly working on a smartwatch that is expected to include cellular connectivity. The question on our mind is… do the watch and glasses work independently, or will the glasses make use of the watch’s cellular connection (or that of a phone of course) rather than trying to fit cellular into a glasses format.

Don’t Stress It

Fitbit has rolled out stress management capabilities across its entire range of devices, following on from the initial launch with the Fitbit Sense last year. This includes Versa, Luxe, Charge 4 and Inspire 2 devices.  The stress solution tracks three core metrics: heart rate variability, exertion, and sleep data to create a single stress score. Premium (subscription) customers can see a full breakdown of the stress management, while non-premium users will see a single stress score.

The NPD Take:

  • Covid-19, and related lockdowns, have created a far broader market for “wellness” management, moving wearables away from simply activity tracking into other areas such as health – body temperature tracking, for example – and overall wellness. Stress management is clearly a key part of this new portfolio so it’s a good move for Fitbit
  • Telling you that you are stressed can be, well, stressful to see, so the real key here is what you do about it. Fitbit has partnered with Deepak Chopra to deliver Mindful Method content for Fitbit Premium customers (i.e., meditations). In addition, most Fitbit devices have a guided breathing mode. In other words…Fitbit is adding an indicator to highlight you are stressed and another compelling reason for why you should subscribe to the premium service: smart.
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