Welcome to And Finally, our weekly round-up of rumours and rumblings from around the web – as well as a smattering of smaller stories that didn’t make it to our coveted news feed.
This week we have the latest on Samsung’s forthcoming smartwatch as well as smart home rumblings and the flexible salt-water battery that’s just owned your Apple Watch.
Samsung Gear Sport pops up
It looks as if Samsung’s forthcoming smartwatch has hit the FCC, and the filing may give us an insight into the name. Android Headlines revealed that the filing shows the Samsung Gear Sport moniker and the SM-R600 model number, which has previously been rumoured to be called the Samsung Gear Pop.
Other than a heart rate monitor shown on the rear, there’s little explanation of what the Samsung Gear Sport will feature or how it will be positioned – but the name alone is enough to give us a guess. After the Samsung Gear S3 boosted size and bulk for a premium feel, there’s an opening in Samsung’s smartwatch line-up for a smaller sport-focussed device.
There’s little doubt that alongside the heart rate monitor will be GPS for workout tracking – but there’s two ways this could go. The first is a real stab at a sport-forward smartwatch, much like the Polar M600, which leverages Samsung S-Health to really engage with runners, swimmers and cyclists.
The second is another bland smartwatch, with all the ingredients of a sports device yet none of the chops to compete. Just like the Huawei Watch 2 or LG Watch Sport, which simply revealed those two companies have no idea what makes active people tick.
So when will we see it? There’s a Samsung Unpacked event on August 23– so not long to wait.
First Siri controlled bulbs go live
The Sylvania A1 smart light bulbs have gone live, which claim to be the first bulbs that can be controlled by Siri and Apple Home, without using a hub or home Wi-Fi. Digital Trends reports that bulbs can connect to your Apple mobile device, and then can be controlled, warmth levels changed and set to schedules.
Because the bulb by-passes a Wi-Fi set up, it uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone – which negates fuss (until the connection drops). We haven’t got the chance to test the Sylvania bulbs yet, but we’re sure anyone building an Apple Home-friendly ecosystem will be turned on by the idea.
Honeywell & IKEA buddy up with big boys
And it’s not just small smart home companies that are clambouring to join the big boy’s smart home party. Connected home tech giant Honeywell has announced that its thermostats, including the Honeywell Lyric, are now supported by Google Home – which means you can OK Google your way to a warmer home.
The same has happened over at IKEA, where Engadget reveals company has also announced that its TRADFRI smart bulbs will now work with the grand slam of home ecosystems, namely, Apple Home, Google Home and, naturally Alexa via the Amazon Echo.
Cellular smartwatches will boost industry
Canalys made the headlines this week over its estimates that Xiaomi had surged to top of the wearable tree, ahead of Fitbit and Apple, but its prediction about the second half of 2017 is more interesting. The analysis company believes that an LTE smartwatch from Apple – which is rumoured for later this year – would help it clean up in the wearables market.
“Apple is poised to capture the cellular smartwatch market by using its strong relationships with operators, which will become critical points of sale for cellular smartwatches and related services,” Canalys Analyst Jason Low is quoted on Let’s Go Digital.
“It is crucial for Apple Stores and Apple’s offline retail partners to adapt quickly to effectively showcase new cellular-enabled use cases as soon as products are available,” he added.
Bendy batteries boast battery boost
Scientists in China have created flexible, non-toxic bendy batteries, which could be used to power future wearable devices. CBR Online reports that the batteries use a water-based saline solution and testing found them to outperform lithium-ion based equivalents in terms of power and life.
Experts are already pointing to wearables as a potential use case. The saline filling means the batteries are flexible, which could mean straps become batteries, which would reduce the bulk of items like smartwatches and fitness bands. What’s more, the black of dangerous chemicals make them much better suited to being placed next to the skin – or as Yonggan Wang, Chemistry Professor at Fudan University pointed out – implantables:
“Current batteries like the lithium-ion ones used in medical implants generally come in rigid shapes,” he said.
“Most of the reported flexible batteries are based on flammable organic or corrosive electronics, which suffer from safety hazards and poor bio-compatibility for wearable devices, let alone implantable ones.”
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