A collaboration to produce superior heartbeat biometric and health monitoring capabilities for wearables has been agreed to by B-Secur and LifeQ.
B-Secur’s Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) technology will be integrated with LifeQ’s optical PPG (photoplethysmography) technology to enable advanced identification, wellness and health monitoring features in the next generation of everyday devices, according to the announcement. The companies say in the press release that each is widely recognized for best-in-class performance for their respective technologies.
Many wearables utilize PPG for blood flow monitoring, and LifeQ provides PPG signal conditioning to leading consumer technology companies for higher accuracy in business and clinical applications. B-Secur says advances in ECG technology can enable high-accuracy biosensing in future product releases.
“Many of the technology features that are on offer through an integrated B-Secur and LifeQ solution are currently only accessible in medical environments or by the fortunate few. Today’s announcement will accelerate access of this type of information to everyone. We are very fortunate to find a partner in LifeQ that shares a common goal and we are confident that together we provide class-beating technologies,” states Alan Foreman, CEO of B-Secur.
The collaboration is expected to speed up the integration, launch and adoption of high-performance biosensing solutions OEMs for secure health and wellness features in smartwatches and other fitness trackers.
“With technology advancement and the increasing quest to improve health and wellbeing, whether to consumers, employees, employers, and even governments, the global biosensing market has grown exponentially in recent years,” says Laurie Olivier, CEO of LifeQ. “Events such as COVID-19 have further highlighted the importance of real time health monitoring and, specifically to make this available to everyone. We are thrilled that our partnership with B-Secur allows us to accelerate our goal of improving wellbeing and reducing the cost of good health for all in conjunction with some of the world’s leading technology companies.”
1Life, Samsung South Africa and LifeQ have partnered to launch life insurance ecosystem, 1Life Pulse. This initiative is backed by wearables and app technology and enables consumers to grow their life insurance cover by “making better choices”.
1Life Pulse acts as a lifestyle monitor and management system that tracks and guides heart, activity and sleep – monitoring overall wellbeing. Every time a consumer chooses to get a little extra sleep or go for a walk, for example, they’re likely to grow their life cover by up to R216 per day, or up to R6 560 per month, starting from day one.
Over two years, policyholders are able to grow their additional life cover by up to R200 000, as they grow their wellbeing.
All qualifying new 1Life policyholders that take out cover for R1 million or more, receive a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, chipped against their 1Life policy number. By simply downloading and activating the VeoSens App by Samsung and LifeQ, consumers can start growing their life insurance.
“We can’t all be athletes or go to the gym, especially now with social distancing – but we can all do the activities of ‘life’ well and this is what the 1Life Pulse product and ecosystem encourages,” says Laurence Hillman, CEO of 1Life.
“We want to help ordinary South Africans on a journey of positive change, helping them make better choices around their wellbeing and to be rewarded through real-time increases to their life insurance every month.”
“Our offering is underpinned by the fact that, as your life and wellbeing grows, so too does your cover. This is a new way of life cover, which we believe will be the way of life cover in the future,” concludes Hillman.
The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus adds LTE to the mix, boosts the battery and makes other small changes, but is held back slightly by an aging chipset and a very high price. Still, it wouldn’t be a Montblanc if it was cheap.
Now with LTE
Similar core specs to its predecessor
Apple still hasn’t flattened the luxury watch market, despite its best ongoing efforts, and until it does we’ll continue to see brands like Tag Heuer, Frederique Constant and Montblanc fend off its advances with smartwatches that offer something more traditional.
The new Montblanc Summit 2 Plus, an update to the Montblanc Summit 2 that launched in 2018, tries to bring a touch of luxury to Wear OS – and throws LTE connectivity on top.
More than that, the Summit 2 Plus has been given a face lift and a few other small tweaks. Here are our initial impressions.
Montblanc Summit 2 Plus release date and price
The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus will be available from April. We only currently know the US price, which is $1,170 (roughly £900 / AU$1,780), though that’s before you factor in the monthly data cost if you’re going with LTE.
It’s a lot of cash, but remember that luxury is Montblanc’s entire USP.
Design and display
For the Summit 2, Montblanc managed to squeeze the components into a unisex 42mm case size, but going plus-sized on the specs now means bumping up the design, with the Summit 2 Plus coming in at 43.5mm, with a 1.28-inch AMOLED display.
It’s not a drastic difference to 2018’s model, but it is creeping into that larger territory which may put off some people, particularly those with smaller wrists. It’s actually a tiny bit thinner than the Montblanc Summit 2, but it’s so negligible you won’t notice it.
The watch comes in four finishes: black DLC (diamond-like carbon) steel, stainless steel, rose gold steel or bronze steel. The good news is that all four cost the same, and Montblanc is offering a variety of leather and silicone straps to mix and match with.
The black steel is probably the only option that can conjure a sporty look when combined with a silicone band; the others are a bit too luxe glam to pull it off, but they all look good and share the same raft of health and fitness features.
Features and fitness
So, there’s good and bad news here. The good news: the Summit 2 Plus comes running the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset with 1GB of RAM. The bad news: those are the same internal specs as the 2018 Summit 2, which means it’s running on the same tech as a watch that’s 18 months older.
To be fair, this isn’t the fault of Montblanc, which is technically still using the most cutting-edge Qualcomm smartwatch technology available. Qualcomm’s progress in smartwatch technology has been excruciatingly glacial and the 3100, announced in 2018, was far less of a leap forward than we had anticipated.
The better news is that the battery has been upgraded from a 340mAh charge to 440mAh, so that it can handle the extra drain of LTE.
Speaking of which, the Summit 2 Plus is an LTE watch that’s also running Google’s Wear OS, which makes it an incredibly rare breed. We’ve seen very few of these, and the ones we’ve tried haven’t convinced us.
Apple’s had more success with LTE smartwatches, but that’s largely because of the way it has weaved it into the Apple Watch software and hardware. But because every Wear OS smartwatch is a mishmash of ideas – Google’s software, Qualcomm’s chip, the watch manufacturer’s design – it doesn’t feel as elegantly put together.
At launch, LTE will only be available through Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK (along with some networks in France, Spain, Germany and China), although Montblanc told us it hopes to add more providers in the future.
We weren’t able to test out the LTE in any meaningful way during our demo, but we’re fascinated to know how it will perform in the wild.
Montblanc has also added a speaker and microphone to the side of the Summit 2 Plus, so you’ll be able to make and receive calls when away from your phone.
But we’re more interested to see how the LTE impacts battery life. Montblanc is promising a full day with the LTE running, so we’ll see. You’ll apparently be able to stretch the battery life to a maximum of five days if you enable the low-power mode, which deactivates the smart features and simply shows you the time.
While LTE is the big new feature here, there’s plenty on offer for those who don’t want the data connection. There’s a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS (also found on the 2018 Summit 2) and, like the Summit 2, Montblanc has peppered some of its own micro apps into the Wear OS experience.
The new watch comes with an app called Timeshifter, designed to give travelers advice on how to minimize their jet lag. There’s a stress-tracking micro app too, which presumably extracts heart rate variability data from the sensor.
And you’ll also get access to Montblanc’s Travel Info app, which serves up some local knowledge on any area you’re exploring.
These should give you a sense of the type of user Montblanc is shooting for. But you might also wonder… why not just call this the Summit 3?
Daniel Arfi, Montblanc’s senior product marketer for tech, told us that Montblanc worried that calling it the Summit 3 would suggest the Summit 2 is dead, when in fact it plans to continue selling that watch.
The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus is an undeniably gorgeous smartwatch, but it’s less of an upgrade than we had hoped for.
Without extensive testing we can’t speak to its LTE abilities, but with so few Wear OS watches offering this feature right now, we’re all the more intrigued to see if Montblanc can convince us it can work. Because if we’re honest, right now, no other Wear OS watches have.
May 26th, 2020 Posted by Anri OlivierNews Story
0 comments on “The Moto 360 smartwatch is back, but Motorola isn’t making it”
The 2015 hit is being resurrected.
The original Moto 360 was one of the most attractive smartwatches around when it launched way back in 2015. As the first round Android Wear watch, it made a huge impression with slick-looking wearables fans despite some hiccups at launch, but as with so many tech firsts, it gradually lost its charm. Now, however, it’s making a comeback.
In the same nostalgic vein as HMD’s revival of the Nokia, or TCL bringing back the BlackBerry, the Moto 360 has been given a contemporary makeover and is being brought back to the masses. This time around it’ll feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM, an always-on display and fast charging that’ll have it juiced from zero to 100 percent in just an hour. Plus it comes with all-day battery life and a battery-saving mode that will keep the time displayed for three days even when the battery is critical. And, of course, it’ll boast the good looks that made it so popular the first time around.
What’s interesting, however, is the company behind its resurrection. While Nokia and BlackBerry had the likes of HMD and TCL behind their resurgence, the Moto 360 has a company called eBuyNow. It’s under license and in partnership with Motorola, but it’s still a relative unknown. Whether this will have any impact on the watch’s comeback remains to be seen — the company’s website does say that it has 15 years of experience in this area — but the real question is whether the Moto 360 can once again find favor with buyers in a market that’s now saturated with equally attractive-looking devices.
The Moto 360 will be available for $350/£340 through select major retailers this December. Pre-orders will begin in the US, Canada and the UK mid November at Moto360.com.
May 26th, 2020 Posted by Anri OlivierNews Story
0 comments on “TAG Heuer Introduces A New Generation Luxury Connected Watch”
FRÉDÉRIC ARNAULT, TAG HEUER’S CHIEF STRATEGY AND DIGITAL OFFICER, Hosted the launch of the new edition on March 12th, 2020 in New York.
Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, & Paulina Vega attended the immersive event in NY.
The new connected combines elegance and craftsmanship with new high-tech features for a customised physical and digital experience focused on performance.
LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, Switzerland, March 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — TAG Heuer pioneered the luxury connected watch segment in 2015 and with the third generation of its visionary Connected timepiece, the brand makes a design and technological statement that further solidifies its position as leader of the luxury connected watch category for the long term.
The TAG Heuer Connected has the elegance of a chronograph-inspired timepiece crafted in the purest watchmaking tradition, with a 45-mm case in noble materials like stainless-steel titanium, ceramic or sapphire crystal, subtle polishes, mechanical pushers and a rotating crown, as well as interchangeable strap choices with a folding buckle. The all-active OLED touchscreen displays a choice of custom-designed dials, mechanical or digitally inspired.
The highlight of this new model is the immersive sports experience developed in-house, the TAG Heuer Sport app. It provides detailed tracking for golf, running, cycling, walking and fitness sessions thanks to the watch’s built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, among other sensors. The experience on the wrist is complemented by a newly developed TAG Heuer mobile companion app.
In addition, a range of daily connected services offered from Wear OS by Google will enhance the user’s daily life, including notifications, Google Assistant, Google Translate, Google Pay where enabled, music controls, agenda, weather, maps and more.
TAG Heuer’s Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Frédéric Arnault, who has led this ambitious project and built the brand’s internal technological expertise over the past two years, explains: “The TAG Heuer Connected watch was designed and engineered with the same passion and attention to detail as our mechanical watches. The Connected watch is not only a beautiful timepiece, it’s a truly immersive experience, as it now sits within a complete TAG Heuer digital ecosystem geared towards performance and sports. It expresses the brand in a completely new way and offers limitless possibilities in terms of innovation for the future and will lead the way into a new era for TAG Heuer.”
The new TAG Heuer Connected watch is available in four references and lands in select stores worldwide and at www.tagheuer.com on Friday, 13 March 2020.
Juggling your passion for sports with a busy life can be hard – you want a sports watch that is ready when you are and a smartwatch that handles your everyday. Suunto 7 gives you the best of both worlds and is designed to help you get the most out of your time. It’s our first watch that combines Suunto’s versatile sports experience and free offline outdoor maps with helpful smartwatch features from Wear OS by Google™.
May 26th, 2020 Posted by Anri OlivierNews Story
0 comments on “Xiaomi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar”
It’s the Amazfit GTR but not as we know it
We’re all hungrily waiting for Xiaomi’s first smartwatch to hit Western shores but the company has already taken the wrappers off its second effort – the Watch Color.
It may just sound like a funky colour way for the standard Mi Watch, but the Watch Color couldn’t be more different from the original. Xiaomi teased the new watch on its site and over at Weibo.
It has a round case, bold vibrant displays and a range of straps, and Xiaomi boasts that you can mix up over 1,500 combinations. However, Gizmochina reports that you can only buy two case colours and color straps are coming after launch.
The official unveiling is set for 3 January, but specs for the Watch Color have already leaked on the usual Xiaomi-watching sites out in China.
According to Gizchina we’re set for 47mm case size, with reports of a second, unconfirmed, 42mm version.
The larger version will reportedly have a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a 454 x 454 resolution – which stacks up pretty well against the biggest, baddest screens on the market.
Gizchina also leaks that the Watch Color will last 14 days in smartwatch mode thanks to a 420mAh battery. That’s seriously impressive stuff from a device with a display as smart of the Watch Color.
But the key detail we’re going to have to wait to find out is what OS is on-board. The leaks don’t specify, so we’re going to hope that it’s packing the same forked version of Wear OS that’s debuted on the square Mi Watch. However, if the leaks are right, it seems unlikely that a 14 day battery life could be compatible with any usage or Wear OS.
As with the standard Watch there’s GPS on-board, with a heart rate monitor – and those are linked by Firstbeat’s VO2 Max algos, which offer deep biometric insights to runners. On the subject of sports tracking there’s 10 tracked activities, according to Gizchina.
So where does this all fit in? Well, it seems to be identical to the Amazfit GTR, and shares most (if not all) of the specs. And as you can see from the side-by-side, they look pretty much identical too. That’s not a hugely exciting prospect, as we gave the GTR a three-star review, thanks to the poor accuracy of the heart rate tech and basic smartwatch experience.
So it really comes down to the OS. Amazfit used its own OS which means a severe lack of apps. It looks like the Xiaomi Watch Color will go the same way. Which makes the differentiation even harder to fathom.
Amazfit is part of Huami, of which Xiaomi is also a subsidiary – but the latter certainly has a bigger brand recognition in the US and Europe, which may be part of the motivation.
May 26th, 2020 Posted by Anri OlivierNews Story
0 comments on “Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch”
It won’t get a global release until later this year, but here’s what to expect
Xiaomi officially revealed the Mi Watch in China last November, but there’s currently no word on when the Apple Watch clone will be given a global release.
To help fill the gap until it does, and to get some idea of whether this is a viable alternative to the top smartwatches arriving in 2020, we’ve got our hands on the Chinese version of the Xiaomi Mi Watch.
Remember, this is the first smartwatch to receive the Xiaomi branding, with it previously only producing the in-demand Mi Band trackers.
There’s plenty to unpack with the first Mi Watch. Even though we can’t access the device in full, due to location restrictions regarding the companion app, we can get good feel for the design, screen quality, responsiveness and more.
Update: This article was originally written on 5 November when the Mi Watch was unveiled. We’ve updated it to offer more details about Mi Watch, and to include details of our first impressions.
Quick look: Xiaomi Mi Watch specs
1.78-inch AMOLED display
44mm case size
410 x 410 display
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
Wear OS (with MIUI)
Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer
In terms of design, the watch features a 44mm square face, with a 1.78-inch AMOLED display pumping out a resolution of 410 x 410 pixels and a pixel density of 326 pixels-per-inch.
At first glance, the Mi Watch screams of an Apple Watch imitation – which is something of a modus operandi for Xiaomi. And though it is thicker, it doesn’t necessarily feel it on the wrist.
The build quality isn’t as solid as the Apple Watch – and that’s not necessarily a surprise, considering it will retail for potentially less than half the price of a Series 5 – but this does mean it’s slightly lighter.
Interestingly, the case matches the first three generations of the Apple Watch, offering the same square look, but the screen is prominently rounded, more in line with the later models.
This blends into the case much less elegantly than Apple’s smartwatches, but it does also look more attractive than a square screen would.
And while it’s hard to assess overall screen quality, since the initial menus only really offer white text on a black background, the AMOLED display certainly doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about. It’s also very responsive, whether you’re swiping back or tapping through menus or using the crown to navigate.
That crown is, you guessed it, in the same style as the Apple Watch, and can be twisted to move through menus, as too is the side-button microphone and speaker on either edge.
And it has a lot to power, too, with LTE available for music streaming and voice calls when you’re not connected over Bluetooth to a phone, joining Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS for location tracking and NFC for contactless payments.
There’s a quad core processor on board that should be enough to keep things speedy, and 8GB of storage, which is pretty typical across the smartwatch world. That should offer plenty of room to store music.
When you first turn the Xiaomi Mi Watch on, you’re greeted with typical Wear OS load-up screen; the four colours start out as dots and begin to form the logo before you’re prompted in Chinese to continue.
With this being the first-ever ‘skinned’ version of Google’s smartwatch software, it does appear like it will be slightly different during setup – and the menus, like the one shown above, won’t necessarily be in the usual Wear OS style.
The personalized skin of Wear OS, called MiUI for Watch, has been designed to enable stripped-down versions of Xiaomi apps, like Mi Home, Tasks and Maps. However, it’s not clear whether the watch will support current Wear OS apps when it lands or be paired with the Xiaomi Mi app.
That’s new territory for Google, which has previously clamped down on brands forking its smartwatch OS. But with the market now moving quickly away from Google technology – it seems like something of a gamble from Google to help Xiaomi use its OS to aggressively corner some market share.
However, there’s more here than meets the eye.
We already know that Firstbeat has been called upon to license its technology for VO2 Max and heart rate analytics during sport. It’s the same algorithms that Garmin uses – and takes advantage of the Mi Watch’s heart rate sensor and GPS chip.
That means there should be some decent workout features to take advantage of – and body energy measurement is listed amongst the features, which should be similar to Garmin’s body battery measurement.
There’s a blood ox sensor on board, too, and the Mi Watch gets one up on Apple by including sleep tracking.
However, it’s not clear whether the pulse ox sensor will add data to the sleep tracking features, as we’ve seen on Garmin devices.
Aside from that, you can also expect the standard set of smartwatch features, such as notifications, alarms and more.
Despite its similarities to the Apple Watch, it actually manages to outlast the device in the battery life department –at least on paper.
Xiaomi claims the Mi Watch will manage 36 hours of continuous use, even with LTE enabled, thanks to its 570 mAh battery packed inside.
Price and availability
We’ll be testing the battery life claim during our full review, but, at least for now, the Mi Watch will remain exclusive to China, having released on 11 November for CNY 1,299. That translates to roughly $185.
At those prices, it seems like a compelling purchase – although Apple has really killed off some of the hype by reducing its Series 3 smartwatch to $199.
The Xiaomi Mi Watch is currently available on Geek Buying for around $279.99, but there’s no English version of the app yet, so we’d certainly wait for proper support.
Xiaomi has said that the Mi Watch will land outside of China officially in 2020, and we expect that to happen some time over the first half of the year.
After just a few weeks of calling for nominations, close to 1,000 total entries and 141 unique entries were received for the Nedgroup Investments and Heavy Chef ‘SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups’ event on the 4th December 2018. Entries were closed on Friday 23 November, and yesterday a shortlist of 12 startups were announced. Today, we reveal the final five.
Donna Barnes, head of Retail Investments, says: “A rigorous structure was followed, which entailed sifting through the total entries to create a comprehensive list of the startups in the South African ecosystem.”
This list was sent to a panel of respected investors, entrepreneurs and community members. A final tally was taken, and then the final tally was ratified by Fred Roed, CEO of Heavy Chef.
Roed says: “The Top 12 is a strong list in its own right. The group of companies represented shows a healthy diversity across sectors in technology, race and gender – which is incredibly encouraging. It was really hard to leave companies out. For example, Augmentors is a strong favourite within the Heavy Chef team. There are also some great companies coming through the ranks, such as Click2Sure.”
“Getting to the Top 5 took over a week of constant emailing between twenty people, with the Top 5 list only being finalised on Wednesday 28th November.”
“In looking at the finalists, it’s important to note the spirit with which this event is intended. By calling for nominations, we’re shining a light on all the amazing work that is being done in this sector. This is a celebration. This is intentionally the ‘most exciting’ startups, not ‘the best’ or ‘the most profitable’. The final five looks at representation, inclusivity, diversity, and of course technological innovation.
“It’s only the second year we’re running this concept, but we are excited by how the community is responding.”
South Africa’s Top Five Most Exciting Startups 2018:
Using satelite and drone mapping, Aerobotics monitor crops and warns farmers about potential risks, scouts. The mobile app increases accuracy and saves time by planning targeted scouting trips. Farmers can receive accurate statistics for orchards with every drone flight including tree health, tree counts, individual tree size and canopy area. Benjamin Meltzer and his co-founder James Paterson are creating a global agritech business that is solving age-old problems for farmers, worldwide.
DataProphet is an AI startup that reduces risk in manufacturing by analysing data in factory production and uses machine learning to identify and eliminate defects and minimises downtime. Its primary product, Omni, seamlessly works on top of existing platforms and manufacturing environments. Isaac Matsa, a natural born salesman, is driving growth for this impressive startup and will be representing DataProphet on stage on Tuesday 4th December.
LifeCheq is making financial advice credible and authentic by moving personal financial advice from a biased, commission-based advisor to a subscription service that gives users access to a team of actuaries and experts. Co-founder Abu Addae is an Actuarial Scientist who cut his teeth at Old Mutual, and is now shaking up the industry by providing legitimate, non-biased financial advice at an accessible rate.
LifeQ is a world-leading science and technology company that aims to enable people from all walks of life to enjoy optimal health. LifeQ has made significant strides into international markets with its tailored health solutions. LifeQ aims to help people live longer, higher-quality lives. LifeQ’s founder Riaan Conradie will arrive in Cape Town this weekend, just in time to represent one of South Africa’s proudest startup exports.
eCommerce startup Thursdays (allegedly named because it was founded by Shona Macdonald on a Thursday) focuses on swimwear and lingerie for women c cup and up. Focused on empowering women in the clothing sector, this is a truly inspiring, fun and heartwarming social entrepreneur venture. Founder, Shona Macdonald, is tackling on the most challenging segments in business and has made healthy strides over the past year.