Wearable Tech: A Status Update for CES 2015

The International Consumer Electronics Show opens today in Las Vegas and is a tech-lovers extravaganza. Throughout the week, mega-players and startups alike will be jockeying for attention, unveiling their latest innovations. And among the many new offerings, wearable items are expected to be hot once again.

Take, for instance, Mio Global’s new product, debuting at the trade event this week. The Mio Alpha 2 heart-rate sport watch features a patented optical heart monitor, as well as an internal accelerometer for pace, speed and distance measurements. It uses a two-way Bluetooth Smart transmission to connect to the Mio Go app, as well as other iPhone and Android fitness apps. And the Alpha 2 also provides calorie-burn estimates and can store up to 25 hours of workout data.

Over the past couple of years, excitement around wearable technology has been on the rise, as more firms get in on the action, coming from all corners of the consumer market.

In the athletic space, early adopter Nike has said it will continue to work with Apple on creative product designs, despite the fact that the athletic firm abandoned its FuelBand line in early 2014. Meanwhile, Reebok executives told FN that the brand plans to debut its own smart watches in the coming year.

And athletic players aren’t alone here anymore. Fashion label Rebecca Minkoff unveiled a line of fashion accessories on the runway this fall that feature cool but subtle tech features, such as one black-and-gold bracelet that doubles as a phone charging cord.

Earlier in the year, Tory Burch partnered with the hot tech company Fitbit to craft attractive smart accessories. (Fitbit has become so hot, in fact, that the firm is said to be exploring an IPO for early 2015.)

Swarovski Shine Collection
The Swarovski Shine wearables collection features an Activity Tracking Crystal
CREDIT: courtesy of brand

And just this week, Swarovski — a name best known for its glamorous crystals — told FN’s sister publication, WWD, that it will partner with Misfit Wearables to debut the Activity Tracking Crystal. The crystal, which can be worn as part of a Swarovski pendant, bracelet or wristband priced from $69 to $250, can count steps, monitor sleep patterns and connect with an iOS app for food and weight logging.

Only time will tell whether consumers feel the same excitement about these innovations as the companies creating them. And the biggest test will come soon, when the Apple Watch finally hits the market in “early 2015,” according to the tech behemoth.

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