by Zuriñe Dopacio González

September 7, 2016

News Roundup – Summer Edition 2016

With the summer almost at an end and with our Pokeballs full of Pokemon, we bring to you a recap of all that happened in the past 3 months!

Pokemon Go or how companies are making a profit out of it

Pokemon Go, is it just a hype? Hype or not, truth to be told is that the company behind it, Niantic is making a lot of money with it.  But not only Niantic is profiting from the game, many restaurants such as McDonalds (in trend this summer) are getting a slice of the cake by announcing in their ads that inside you can capture some Pokemon …Amazon is another company that is taking advantage of the new App by selling old Pokemon stock merchandise on its website. Yelp added a feature to lets consumers find restaurants or stores that have nearby PokéStops, the locations where players scoop up in-game goods. In the meantime, more features on the App seem to be popping up such as Buddy Pokemon. You will be able to pick your favorite Pokémon from your collection to become your buddy. It will appear alongside your Trainer avatar on your profile screen, adding helpful bonuses such as awarding Candy for walking together. You’ll also have the ability to change your Buddy Pokémon at any time. How cool is that eh? We can finally feed our Pokemon healthy candy for walking with us!  If you have no idea of what is Pokemon Go and what is it for better check out this video and read this.

Coming back to McDonalds, the fast food chain ironically recently unveiled their own wearable. Wait what? McDonalds its own wearable? Yes. Step It was the name of the fitness band, and we say was because it was pretty much immediately recalled….We wonder why….For almost 4$ you could have your very own fitness band (beat that Xiaomi!). The Step It was included inside the Happy Meals, a Menu mostly targeted at kids. The brightly-colored Step-iT fitness bands looked like watches and were intended to encourage and track physical activity, any physical activity after eating an almost 600 calories meal of course! The safety recall was made due to some cases of kids with skin rashes and burns as a result of wearing the band. But no worries you can exchange your fitness band for a yogurt tube, a bag of apple slices or a new toy!

What else happened recently? IFA. The fair for Consumer Electronics and Home Appliances took place on the 2nd until the 7th of September leaving us with a lot of new wearables to think about for this upcoming Christmas. Starting with TomTom who unveiled its first Fitness band, the TomTom Touch. The fitness band besides doing what any other fitness band does (activity tracking, phone notifications, heart rate monitoring) it also analyzes your body composition, measuring your body fat and muscle mass percentage. But TomTom didn’t stop there and also launched its first outdoor watch! The TomTom Adventurer GPS Outdoor watch. You can track your outdoor activities such as trail running, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding!

Fitbit launched 2 new upgraded versions of its products. The Fitbit Charge 2 and the Flex 2 . The Charge 2 is an amalgamation of the original Charge and the Fitbit Alta and features an OLED screen that is four times bigger than the old Charge HR. It also features PurePulse heart rate tracking as standard, so there’s no HR and standard variants this time around. The optical sensor still monitors your pulse 24/7, keeping tabs on your resting heart rate as well as bpm during exercise, but it’s now primed to offer new stats to the Fitbit ecosystem.

In terms of smartwatches, the one who got all the glory was the Samsung Gear S3. Samsung launched 2 versions, the Classic and the Frontier. The last one, has GPS to watch you run, a barometric altimeter for hiking, an LTE connection so you can stream music or take calls on the go. Samsung’s Tizen OS is a soft touch too, meaning it’ll munch minimal battery and offer multiple days between charges.

Asus presented a new smartwatch as well, the Asus ZenWatch 3 is more about the design. It’s got a longer-lasting battery thanks to the use of the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 and has all the normal functions you’d expect from an Android Wear smartwatch.

Withings also upgraded one of its smartwatches. Withings Steel HR. It looks like an upgrade of the Activité but it is more than that. The HR feature is possible thanks to an optical heart rate sensor that can continuously monitor a user’s heart rate. It also uses the sensor to monitor a wearer’s pulse as they sleep to provide resting heart rate data.

The Elite Sport wireless earbuds from Jabra are the latest development of the American company. The smart earbuds have a heart rate sensor, VO2 Max testing, and in-ear coaching.

New products are being launched at every known fair but we also saw several of them being recalled or crushing down. We see that for Fitbit it was never a problem as they keep launching new wearables. We are not so sure if McDonalds will try again later on with a new wearable…But what about the others? We will keep seeing products being recalled? Are we safe from skin rashes? We will keep an eye open for more safety recalls…