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1/8/2014
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Jeff Bertolucci
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10 Wearables To Watch At CES 2014

Smartwatches show their mobile mojo at the annual Las Vegas tech fest, but they're not the only promising wearables.
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Meet the wearable tech of CES 2014
Will 2014 be the year of the smartwatch? Or is the fledgling tech genre still searching for its killer app? Based on what tech giants and startups alike unveiled at the annual International CES tradeshow in Las Vegas, the latter seems more likely. Of course, there's no shortage of fitness trackers, health monitors, and message notifiers, but the elusive gotta-have-it feature hasn't arrived to convince the masses to buy.

Smartwatches aren't necessarily doomed, of course. In fact, early shipping and sales estimates show promise. Samsung in November said it had already shipped more than 800,000 of its Galaxy Gear watches just two months after the device's debut. Many critics quickly pointed out that shipments aren't sales, noting that the Gear's sell-through to consumers would reveal its true popularity. A more telling report card came a few days ago from startup Pebble, which said it has sold more than 300,000 of its smartwatches during the past year.

Today's wearable tech -- smartwatches, Google Glass-style eyewear, and niche gizmos like fitness trackers and health monitors -- have thus far lacked the widespread appeal of smartphones and tablets. Then again, many behind-the-scenes efforts are underway to make the gadgets more robust.

In an Intel press conference at CES, Mooly Eden, senior VP and general manager of the chipmaker's Perceptual Computing group, told reporters how the company is striving to bring "human-like senses" to a new class of hardware and software products known collectively as Intel RealSense technology.

One such example is the new Intel RealSense 3D camera, an integrated 3D depth and 2D camera module that helps devices "see" depth similar to the human eye, Eden said. The technology could enable more immersive applications with better gesture and facial recognition for understanding human emotions and movement. For camera-equipped wearables, this capability might enable education, gaming, and augmented reality capabilities that far exceed what we have today.

It's also conceivable that wearable technology will become inexpensive enough to be embedded in a variety of consumer products. Running shoes, for instance, might have sensors that track your distance, pace, and other exercise data. In fact, GPS shoes are already here for seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia. Similarly, performance-monitoring clothing like the Zephyr BioHarness 3 can track an athlete's heart rate and physiological data.

So what's it all mean? Even if you aren't a fan of the smartwatch, wearable computing has a bright future.

Click through the slideshow to see 10 noteworthy wearables from CES 2014.

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, the Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek.

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vinayababu
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vinayababu,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2014 | 5:18:07 AM
Best wearables
Qualcomm Toqis  the one which stand out among smart watches. Still it need lot of improvements, Apps, and  above all they need to bring down the price to a levell  that will make  every one to have access to it.If it works that way here is another winner  after the smart phones.
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
1/13/2014 | 7:03:34 AM
Re: Pebble Steel looks pretty cool
The prices will come down but what exactly that price point will be for consumers as opposed to gadget geeks, is an open questions. We'll also need that killer app that makes the smart watch truly useful. Remember, the desktop computer was once considered a glorified typewriter for secretaries (remember that job type?) until Lotus invented the spreadsheet. 
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2014 | 7:32:02 AM
Re: Pebble Steel looks pretty cool
I think it is fugly, but that comes down to taste. I looked at all these products and could come up with absolutely no use for them, not even with imagination. The prices are just killer, especially since most of these toys need an expensive smartphone to give them some life.
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 5:28:05 PM
Pebble Steel looks pretty cool
But alas, it's way out of my price range. At least it looks like a watch. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 5:27:39 PM
Re: Fitbit rivals
> Is fitness the need that will drive you to buy a wearable, or not?

Nope. The exercise data gathering devices like Fitbit appear to be the most useable wearable tech devices so far, but I find the data they provide pointless. Knowing how far you've run or how fast may be satisfying on some level but it doesn't matter. It's not as if there's a specific theshold that separates the fit from the rest. The specific effect of exercise on a body at present is scientifically unknowable. The general effect is what matters: Improving health and feeling better. You don't need a yardstick for that. Nike got it right: Just do it.
AmyH040
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AmyH040,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/8/2014 | 5:10:59 PM
Re: Accessories
Another smart watch to launch is the SmartQ Z-Watch ($155) from Smart Devices, a company that introduced the world's first tablet with a built in DLP projector - winning a prestigious 2013 CTIA E-Tech Award; as for the Smart Q Z-watch, it's already gaining notice for its features and design, with a 1Ghz processor and high resolution color touchscreen display; and works with Android smartphones to handle phone calls & syncs schedules.

The Z-Watch also offers a full featured MP3 Player, walking/jogging pedometer and sleep analyzer, worldwide weather and much more - Smart Devices is also providing an Android 4.4 Kit Kat update along with the ability to work with Apple's iOS devices in February; and official App store launches at the same time.

One source for the new SmartQ Z-Watch is -- Tab l et Sp r int  - which also adds in an MP3 earphone kit with premium sound quality as part of an introductory promotion; plus features an aluminum band strap for $25 that gives the Z-Watch a premium look...
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 4:54:26 PM
Accessories
Interesting how quickly CES have moved beyond 3-D TVs to wearable tech accessories.

 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 4:27:01 PM
Re: Fitbit rivals
You're right, fitness tracking wristbands are everywhere. But don't expect them to motivate people to exercise -- that desire has to come from a deeper place. That said, they are a great companion for the dedicated runner to gauge and collect performance data. I've been using the Nike+ app on my iPod Nano to monitor time, distance, pace and calories burned. But the app eats battery life for lunch!
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 2:46:04 PM
Monitoring sun exposure?
It's no surprise to me that most of these wearables are health-related. But I had to chuckle when I read about the Netatmo that monitors your sun exposure. I can only imagine what my grandparents would say if they knew there were devices today that told you when you're getting a little too crispy.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 12:03:04 PM
Fitbit rivals
Interesting how many companies are getting into the Fitbit wristband device genre. Is fitness the need that will drive you to buy a wearable, or not?
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