CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, virtual reality and more

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All the biggest wearable tech announcements we’re expecting from Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, they say. But when it comes to wearable tech and the slew of announcements set to grace CES 2018, the old phrase couldn’t be any less true.

What we see unveiled at next month’s tech expo will set the stall out for the rest of the year, and Team Wareable will be on hand to cover all the action — whether that’s new smartwatches, fresh fitness trackers or developments in the world of VR and AR.

And with 7 January fast approaching, we’ve rounded up the rumours, whispers and what we expect to headline the year’s biggest tech show. Drop a line in the comments with what you’re hoping to see at CES, and be sure to check back for all our coverage.

Garmin

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, fitness tech and virtual reality

Good old Garmin, hey, with its endless stable of smartwatches and fitness trackers — yes, you can always count on Garmin to bring the heat at CES. But what will it be this year?

Well, a music-playing watch – the Forerunner 645 Music, pictured above — looks set to enter the frame, after the company itself accidentally spilled information on its website last month before quickly pulling it down. The device itself is designed very similarly to the Vivoactive 3, and appears to bolster the same throng of sports tracking features.

The internal leak also suggested the Forerunner 645 will come in two versions, one with music support and without, and the former able to store 800 songs, stream offline and listen through Bluetooth headphones.

It’s likely this is the main event of Garmin’s CES act, but there’s a chance the Fenix 5 range also gets an update. After being released at the Las Vegas show earlier this year, its anniversary could see a fourth model introduced. If we’re speculating, perhaps this would also feature the same music capabilities as the Forerunner 645.

Vive

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, fitness tech and virtual reality

After Oculus had its fun announcing the Oculus Go and teasing more of its untethered Santa Cruz project in October, CES could provide the platform for Vive to reveal how it plans to compete over the course of 2018.

After all, the company has already launched its first standalone headset, the Vive Focus, in China, and promised to share what’s in store for Western users in 2018 — something we imagine they’ll look to do sooner rather than later. In terms of hints, we saw Vive trademark the name HTC Vive Eclipse back in October, but whether that comes to life and represents the overseas equivalent to Focus remains to be seen.

Whatever happens, a standalone Vive headset is almost certainly set to drop at some point over the next year. Let’s hope we get our first look next month. HTC is holding a Vive press conference on Monday 8 January, so we’ll definitely be getting some news.

Nokia

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, fitness tech and virtual reality

After officially completing its takeover of the Withings brand earlier this year, and subsequently relaunching all of the products under its own name, Nokia could use CES as the platform to kickstart its own smartwatch ambitions.

We’re only a month removed from the Nokia Steel HR going on sale, which means the Finnish company could give the hybrid some room to breathe before releasing a device of its own, but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if we saw another watch added to the Steel line.

As for a full touchscreen watch over a hybrid, well, that’s more on the unlikely end of the scale. If Nokia is to delve into this kind of unknown, expect it more towards the end of 2018.

Bragi

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, fitness tech and virtual reality

Hearables boomed in 2017, but the ear will continue to receive further smarts in the new year, courtesy of Bragi. The company has announced it will partner with a Audio Analytic, a firm which specialises in sound recognition software, using CES to debut the new technology.

This will allow the headphones to detect when a conversation is happening and automatically adjust the levels in order to listen in. Then, once the conversation is over, the music will crank back up to the previous volume.

It all sounds impressive on paper, but whether it works as well in practice is something we’ll have to check out once we’re in Las Vegas — stay tuned for our thoughts.

Fossil Group

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, fitness tech and virtual reality

It wouldn’t be a trade show if we didn’t have a Fossil announcement, would it? While we haven’t heard anything official just yet, and FG is fresh from releasing the Q Controland the Misfit Vapor, the amount of companies sitting under the banner makes it very likely something is announced during CES.

Whether that includes a range of new hybrids or Wear-packing options is obviously unknown, but we’re still waiting for the likes Skagen to get involved in the touchscreen party that began throughout 2017.

Plus, when we spoke to Fossil back at IFA in late September, the company hinted that new fashion brands were jumping aboard the smartwatch train in the new year, and that they could feature Android Pay. We suspect that kind of announcement will be saved for Baselworld in March, but we’re open to surprises.

Huawei

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, virtual reality and more

Huawei is holding a press conference on January 9 and we’re expecting wearables will be on the menu. A recently leaked image purporting to show Huawei’s 2018 roadmap shows a new Honor A2 fitness band is coming in Q1 of this year, and we’re hoping this will launch in Western markets out the gate (which the last didn’t). It looks like the company is dropping a new 360 camera too.

Suunto

CES 2018: What to expect in smartwatches, virtual reality and more

We likely won’t see another variation of the Spartan line of sports watches, which was fleshed out earlier this year, but Suunto has announced it will use CES to showcase big moves for its Movesense hardware and software platform.

The company is opening things up to allow developers to build the tech into their own products, and the first round of Movesense-powered devices, from Supa, All in One, Trimix and Runteq, will be unveiled in just a few weeks time.

Check back to see just how we get on with our first impressions of the first crop, and maybe even word on who else might take advantage of the tech in the future.

(wareable.com, https://goo.gl/rGCPJw)

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