W|W: The Wearable Weekly – Google Glass, Obama and Facebook VR

Welcome to The Wearable Weekly, your trusted guide to all things wearable tech. If you only have time to read one thing about wearables this week, this is it.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Wearable Weekly using the form below to make sure it hits your email inbox every week!


Industry Highlights

Google Glass is not dead! Despite all the media hype around the Explorer program ending, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed that Google is still committed to Glass suggesting that we may see Glass 2.0 in the near future. (MobileSyrup)

Fitbit got some presidential treatment this week as President Barack Obama was spotted wearing a Fitbit Surge while meeting with Prime Minister in Ireland. (Business Insider)

HTC has announced a changing of the guard as current CEO Peter Chou steps down, replaced by co-founder Cher Wang. Wang is expected to ramp up HTC’s connected device business, including wearables and virtual reality products. (MobileSyrup)

Virtual reality was a major topic at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference this week, shedding some light on Facebook’s plan for its billion dollar investment in Oculus. We learned that Facebook is working on building “teleportation stations,” immersive 360-degree experience which allow people to be “teleported” to a new place and possibly even communicate with one another there. (Financial Post)


Statistics & Forecasts

A UK survey found 25% think wearable technology has the potential to make their lives easier while 9% think wearable technology will make their lives more difficult (Telegraph)

Overall wearables market will grow from 17.0 million device shipments in 2013 to 187.2 million units by 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate of 34% according to Research and Markets report (BusinessWire)

Estimates for the Apple Watch were “modestly” lowered for FY15 from 13 million units to nine million units in Merrill Lynch’s latest report (BidnessETC)

Global revenues from connected fitness trackers will increase from over $2 billion in 2014 to $5.4 billion by 2019 according to a report by Parks & Associates (MarketWired)


Device Announcements

Olio | smartwatch | Summer 2015 (Olio)

Bulgari Diagono Magnesium watch | NFC smartwatch | 2016 (Reuters)

Tissot smartwatch | smartwatch | 2015 (WatchPro)

Vector | smartwatch | Summer 2015 (BGR)

Sport Watch by Hannspree | inexpensive smartwatch | On Sale Now in the UK (ITPortal)

DebitWear by Everlink | wearable payment wristband | Proof of Concept/Market Trial (Everlink)


Funding, Crowdfunding and M&A

WEVR launches $1 million dollar virtual reality grant program (WEVR)

Improbable, a London-based virtual reality company, has received $20 million (£13.5m, €18.3m) of investment from prolific tech startup backer Andreessen Horowitz (IBTimes)


Major Milestones

LG Watch Urbane LTE standalone smartwatch on sale for approximately $590, available March 27 in South Korea (Android Central)

Recon confirms Jet in production, first units expected to start shipping March 30 (Recon)

Voyce connected pet collar is now shipping to US customers (Voyce)

FitBark now available to pre-order in Canada (MobileSyrup)

Bia Sport ceases operations citing insufficient capital and lack of investors (ReadWrite)

Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition retails in the US at Best Buy March 27 (Engadget)

Spree SmartCap Receives 2015 Wearable Product of the Year Award (PR)

Leap Motion is now an official launch partner with OSVR, open-source VR headset consortium backed by Razer (CNET)

First Apple Watch apps make their way into iTunes including Air Canada and TransitApp (MobileSyrup)


Rumours

Apple setting up 10+ trial stations for Apple Watch in-store, to give each customer 15-minutes each (9to5Mac)

Apple has reportedly cut its Apple Watch shipment targets in half — from between 2.5 to 3 million units to between 1.25 and 1.5 million units (Business Insider)

Possible Moto 360 2 leak shows round face and new band styles (CNET)

Huawei smartwatch pricing expected to cost £300 in the UK (PC Advisor)

Xiaomi expected to unveil its first smartwatch next week during its 5 year celebration (Digital Trends)


Don’t forget to subscribe to The Wearable Weekly using the form below to make sure it hits your email inbox every week!

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Tom Emrich

Tom Emrich

Sometimes called the “man from the future” Tom Emrich is a leading voice in wearable technology as an investor, community builder and influencer. His passion for this space is driven by his belief that wearable tech plays a critical role in our human evolution.