Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

BMW joins the smart glasses race

BMW has launched smart glasses for its motorcycle riders. The BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide Smartglasses provide a heads-up display supporting navigation, speed, current gear engaged and other information in the right side of the glasses. The glasses come in both sunglasses options as well as clear glasses – more useful if you want to use these at night. They connect to your smartphone via the BMW ConnectedRide app – which means (of course) that they will only work if you own a BMW motorcycle – and have a 10 hour battery life. Priced at roughly $750, these are hardly a cheap accessory, but if you can afford a BMW motorcycle then it probably does not seem too hefty a price tag. 

The Circana Take:

  • We are very optimistic about the opportunity for heads-up displays in glasses and other devices (such as built directly into a motorcycle helmet). It reduces the need for a smartwatch to be directly visible and is, effectively, the equivalent of a Bluetooth (for sound) connection but for visual data.
  • Expect to see more devices such as these glasses, but based on more generic use-cases rather than being tied to a specific piece of hardware (i.e., a BMW motorcycle).

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is coming

Samsung has an Unpacked event on July 26 and we are expecting to see a new Galaxy Watch launched at this event. As per usual, many of the details are already leaking out. According to these rumors, pricing will be close to the previous versions (perhaps a $30-40 increase) with a design that is quite similar to the current Watch 5. Leaked photos suggest that all models will feature an improved screen-to-body ration for larger AMOLED displays, a new quick-release strap and a slightly modified sensor array. But perhaps the most intriguing rumor is that Samsung may be bringing the rotating bezel back; at least for the Pro variant. This was a popular feature in the older Samsung Gear range and creates more of a differentiation from the myriad of devices available to consumers these days.

The Circana Take:

  • Samsung still holds a dominant position in the smartwatch market (behind Apple) but is coming under pressure from newer devices, such as the Pixel Watch. As such, this latest version will be key to help Samsung defend its market share, as well as persuading current owners that the upgrade is worth shelling out cash for, rather than keeping their current device.

Haptic gaming

It was only a matter of time before a haptic gaming suit arrived. Manufacturer OWO is making a haptic gaming systems for Assassin’s Creed: Mirage that will – the company claims – make you feel the gunshots as they hit you. The wireless suit is flexible and thin – somewhat like a t-shirt in design – and will let you feel multiple sensations such as impacts and parkour. At 500 Euros, it’s a pretty expensive add-on for the game, but is expected to be compatible with PS5, PS4, Xbox and PC versions.

The Circana Take:

  • It’s an interesting add on to the game and, if sensitive enough, could be popular. But expect this type of device to really take off in collaboration with VR devices to provide a more full-body experience.
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