W|W: The Wearable Weekly – VR for Everyone

Excited boy losing in new computer world

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

Smartwatches go on sale gearing up for Black Friday: Apple Watch, Android Wear and Pebble smartwatches all went on sale this week in advance of Black Friday. Apple’s rare $50 discount, which occurs when consumers bundle the wearable with an iPhone, came under fire from many as signalling possible trouble with the watch. Google Nexus 6P purchasers are being offered $50 off of the Huawei watch. Best Buy is offering a $50 discount on the Pebble Time, making it $150. The Martian smartwatch had a one-day sale to grab its watch for only $34. And, although not a sale, Withings announced at the Dublin Web Summit that they will be releasing a more cost-effective $150 Activite Pop just in time for the holidays.

Q3 showed promise for wrist-worn wearable tech: Fitbit released its Q3 results which showed the fitness tracking giant sold 4.8 million devices and generated $409 million in revenue during its third quarter, a 168% YOY increase. Meanwhile, the Canalys Q3 wearables report suggests that Apple Watch is nearing 7 million shipments since its launch earlier this year. The report also finds that in Q3, Apple was the only smart watch vendor to ship more than 300,000 units.  The report also finds that Fitbit competitor Xiaomi surpassed the 10 million mark this quarter for its cost-effective fitness tracker.

Mobile VR pushes hard for adoption today, while dedicated VR solutions expected to take 3-5 years: Both The New York Times and YouTube made a huge push in the VR space this week with The New York Times launching a VR app in preparation for the 1 million Cardboard units they will be shipping out to subscribers this Sunday. YouTube received a huge update to make all of its videos available on Cardboard; this is especially true for VR videos, which are created specifically for the cost-effective VR solution. Meanwhile, both Zuckerberg and HTC’s Phil Chen indicated that they believe dedicated VR solutions have a slower ramp. HTC believes it will take 3-5 years for VR to really take off.

Statistics & Forecasts

Two-thirds of insurers expect wearable technologies to be broadly adopted by their industry over the next two years, according to an Accenture study (ZDNET)

Apple has shipped nearly 7 million smartwatches since its launch, according to a new report from Canalys (Canalys)

Apple Watch forecasted to hit $36 billion in revenue in 2017, says Global Equities Research (Barron)

Fitbit sold 4.8 million devices and generated $409 million in revenue during its third quarter, nearing 30 million devices sold since launch in 2009 (MobiHealthNews)

Approximately three million UK adults are planning to buy their first wearable tech device in the next six months, says YouGov study (Marketing Magazine)

Only 3 percent of the U.S. population aged 16 and older owns a smartwatch or smartband, finds Kantar Worldpanel ComTech survey (Yahoo)

Smart eyewear market expected to reach $45 billion by 2026, according to the newly published IDTechEx report (Marketwatch)

Total Head-Mounted Display Market is expected to reach up to US $15.25 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 49.1% between 2015 and 2020, says new MarketsandMarkets report (Marketwatch)

Device Announcements

Chronos opens pre-orders for the Chronos disc, which turns any analog watch into a smartwatch (WSJ)

Illumiti, SAP, and Vancouver’s Vandrico Solutions announces the launch of our new MineSafe Smartwatch (PR Newswire)

Pebble Time Round pre-orders set to ship November 8 (MobileSyrup)

LG unveils two kids wearables: GizmoPal and GizmoGadget (MobileSyrup)

LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE will be available in the US November 13 for $300 at AT&T (The Verge)

Funding, Crowdfunding & M&A

WalkingApp raises $4.3 million in Series C to bring AR and VR content creation to the masses (Marketwatch)

OpenBCI launches Kickstarter campaign to bring biosensing to the masses (Kickstarter)

Smart safety jewelry Athena is crowdfunding device to reduce assaults (Indiegogo)

3RDi is a wearable camera which gives you a “third eye” to capture your life (Indiegogo)

Toronto-based Vitruviusvr launches Kickstarter to crowdfund VR platformer game MushroomBallVR (Kickstarter)

Lumo Bodytech closes $10 million in Series B funding to launch the first wearables biomechanics platform (Marketwired)

Major Milestones

YouTube announces support for VR videos  (YouTube)

The New York Times launches a VR app (Gizmodo)

Sundance Institute partners with Jaunt to open VR film residency (The Verge)

WWE launches two VR videos for Samsung Gear VR (Variety)

Thalmic Labs officially launches the Myo Market (The Record)

Lionsgate partners with Wevr to launch John Wick the VR experience (Variety)

Amazon Prime Music updated with Android Wear support (Ubergizmo)

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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.

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