The wearable world won’t know what’s hit it when these new smartwatches, fitness trackers and VR headsets land.
These are the biggest innovations that are yet to drop that we’re looking forward to playing with over the next twelve months.
Google Android Wear watches (ETA 2017)
After the hold up with Android Wear 2.0, Google has confirmed that it’s going to kickstart its smartwatch ambitions with not one, but two of its own smartwatches in 2017.
Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang has already confirmed they’re coming, likely in time to rock the latest version of Google’s smartwatch operating system. But they’re not going to be branded Pixel as some initial rumours had suggested.
The two watches are expected to feature circular displays and are likely to include GPS and LTE connectivity support along with Google Assistant integration to deliver contextual alerts.
New Balance watch (ETA: 2017)
New Balance let the world know it was getting into the smartwatch game with its first Android Wear watch, which was expected to land at the end of 2016, or the “holidays” as the sports company put it. Clearly that’s not happening so it looks likely we can expect the NB Wear watch to turn next year, possibly to coincide with the arrival of Android Wear 2.0.
It’s set to be a collaboration between Intel and Google and the resulting device will rock GPS and built-in storage for music, making it a potentially great choice for runners. Also, New Balance is already teasing intelligent sensors in footwear from its new Digital Sports team so the new watch will be a big part of its new system.
Blocks (ETA: January/February 2017)
Originally part of Intel’s Make It Wearable competition, Blocks has ambitious aims to make a modular wearable, enabling users to pick and choose the features they want. The idea is that users buy the main unit and then add extra elements, such as a heart rate monitor, GPS radio, contactless payments sensor or even an extra battery, as they see fit.
The prototype Blocks watch features a round-faced screen with multiple removable links. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Blocks Wearables was scheduled to begin shipping in June 2016, then it got delayed to September and now it’s December 2016. According to its Kickstarter page, a select few backers should be receiving a watch on 28 December 2016 with a staggered rollout for others happening in January and February 2017.
Magic Leap (ETA: 2017)
Magic Leap is the talk of AR right now, not only has it raised over $1 billion in funding but it’s releasing a teaser video every couple of months just to remind us of how much we want to try the tech.
We still don’t know all that much about exactly what products it’s planning, and some are beginning to believe that the startup has oversold what its tech is capable of. Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz has responded to the criticism and claims its first product equivalent device has been built and is soon to put its supply chain to test. Fingers crossed we get something to try out sooner rather than later.
UA smart running shoes (ETA Early 2017)
Under Armour has already announced its new collection of connected running shoes with the UA SpeedForm Gemini 3 RE ($160), Velociti RE ($140) and Europa RE ($160) all set to track your runs from early next year.
Building on the features included in the SpeedForm Gemini 2 RE smart running shoe, UA is now offering three different shoe designs to cater for different running styles and can now measure muscular fatigue to help you recover between sessions.
Essential reading: How connected footwear will invade your life
Doppler Labs Here One (ETA February 2017)
The follow up to the Here Active Listening earbuds have been delayed a few months due to some technical issues. Doppler Labs CEO Noah Kraft put the Here One delay down to getting Bluetooth and NFMI (Near Field Magnetic Induction) to work together fast enough so that the user doesn’t hear any lag.
If you need a reminder of what to expect when they do finally land, the Here One is a pair of wireless earbuds that build on the smart listening and noise filtering technologies included in the Active Listening buds, but crucially, now adds music streaming making them all that more desirable.
Project Aura (ETA: 2017)
Project Aura is the wearable we know the least about on this list. But it is confirmed. It’s basically Google Glass 2, under Tony Fadell. Don’t let that put you off, though, it will most likely be enterprise focused and designed for the workplace.
The new second gen smartglasses will be durable, waterproof and able to be folded up and pocketed. Wearers will be able to stream video apps and improved battery life is also rumoured, though that might just be wishful thinking on the internet’s part considering the original Google Glass. It was strongly tipped to arrive in 2016, but it’s looking more likely that it’ll land in 2017 instead.
Microsoft HoloLens (ETA: 2017)
This futuristic augmented reality headset from Microsoft doesn’t actually have a firm release date yet – dev kits have now gone out – but that’s not stopping us from getting excited about it. HoloLens tracks your head as well as hand gestures and overlays ‘holograms’ onto your field of vision, blending them into real environments with help from a depth camera.
Hands-on: Microsoft HoloLens review
These can be ‘pinned’ into place so you can walk around them and manipulated in your hands as though they are real 3D objects. Microsoft is now getting HoloLens into the hands of developers and creators to build apps and games for the headset and it’s betting Minecraft, which it now owns, will be a big hit.
Windows 10 VR headset (ETA 2017)
Something that does look likely to land in living rooms on time from the Redmond company is its very first virtual reality headset that hooks up to your PC and runs on Windows 10.
HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer are all expected to launch the $299 VR/mixed reality headsets that according to minimum PC requirements shouldn’t require the kind of expensive computer setup needed to run the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.
Apple Watch Series 3 (ETA: September 2017)
We know Apple pretty much works like clockwork when it comes to annual updates. So with the Series 2 unveiling made in September, you can bet we’ll see an upgrade Apple Watch Series 3 around the same time in 2017.
The rumour mill has already started with speculation it’ll be packing a slimmer design, more storage and a camera for video calls. Expect to hear a whole lot more rumour mongering until we find out exactly what’s up for Apple’s smartwatch next September.
Shop for recommended smartwatches on Amazon
Wareable may get a commission