The past twelve months have been very dynamic in the wearable technology space. Let’s take a look at what we’ve all been following this year.
2021 was the year when life was expected to return to normal after a rather dreadful year in 2020. Hand in hand, this did not quite work out, although the world of wearable technology has largely continued at a normal pace, developing the largest Names in action regularly new smartwatches and activity counters.
In any case, due to supply chain issues and chip shortages, it appears that some wearables that were supposed to be introduced in 2021 have been pushed back until 2022.
But that doesn’t mean we’re lacking in wearable innovations that are getting some excitement.
In keeping with this time of year, we’ve prepared a brief overview of developments in wearable technology.
January-March: CES was not very interesting, rumors about Samsung, Wear OS, OnePlus Watch and Google’s final acquisition of Fitbit
Given the pandemic, CES, which is usually full of novelties, has been quite poor and uninteresting from a wearable perspective.
We’ve got a new hybrid smartwatch from Fossil Group and Skagen, as well as an LTE version of Fossil Gen 5 Wear OS. Zepp (formerly known as Huami) has released several smartwatches. Among others, the Amazfit GTS 2e and GTR 2e. Other than these announcements, CES has been fairly quiet.
Outside of CES, however, Garmin announced the Garmin Lily, a hybrid smartwatch designed primarily for the fair sex. In February, he joined the model Garmin Enduro, a sports watch designed primarily for endurance athletes, which offers a powerful battery, and is especially suitable for cyclists and extreme runners.
February and March 2021 were rather quiet months regarding new releases, but at the same time we first heard rumors of new Samsung smartwatches that could be equipped with Google Wear OS instead of Tizen OS. Given how much better Samsung’s smartwatch platform does than Google’s, this was definitely the story that dominated in 2021.
However, in March, it was all about the OnePlus Watch, which emerged after a long period of rumors and speculation. OnePlus chose its own operating system, although Google’s offer was also on the table.
Probably the biggest news of the early months of the year is that Google has finally completed its Fitbit acquisition. At this point, we’re starting to wonder how long it will take for Fitbit to start swaying Google’s wearable ambitions, which brought it back firmly to the guessing table of the Pixel Watch, which was also discussed later in the year.
April-June: Fitbit Luxe, Wear OS, Huawei Watch 3, and new Apple Watch features
As we enter spring, much more has happened than in the first three months of the year. In April, Fitbit, now owned by Google, unveiled the Luxe, a nifty fitness tracker that was the first (but not the last) Fitbit device this year with a full color touchscreen.
Casio also revealed the first G-Shock watch with Google Wear OS, which previously only used the smartwatch operating system in the Pro Trek series of watches.
But Casio will probably have to wait, as big changes are starting to happen with Wear OS. At the Google I/O developer conference in May, we learned of a new version of Wear made by Google and Samsung. This has pretty much confirmed that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch will run on a renewed version of Wear 3.0.
Fossil Group, another partner of Wear OS devices, has revealed that it is a smartwatch based on the new Wear platform. At the same time, the company dealt a blow to existing owners of its smartwatches by revealing that those watches will not be upgradable to the new Wear.
Joining in June, Huawei officially unveiled the Huawei Watch 3 – its first smartwatch with the HarmonyOS platform. With this, Huawei introduced a cutting edge design compared to the Huawei Watch 2 and Watch GT 2. It also brought AppGallery to its smartwatches for the first time.
Apple Watch owners received a software update at the end of the first half of the year: watchOS 8 was introduced at Apple’s WWDC conference, which brought a few new and improved features.
July to September: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Apple Watch Series 7 and Fitbit Charge 5
It’s the part of the year when things usually start to progress faster and that’s how it was this year.
July was quiet in the field of novelties. However, Mobvoi was the first Wear hardware partner to reveal that one of its current smartwatches will be compatible with Wear 3.0. Their TicWatch Pro 3 smartwatch will join the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra and TicWatch E3 in 2022, which will get a new version of Wear.
Fossil officially unveiled its Gen 6 smartwatch in August, and earlier this year announced that the device would join a lineup of watches powered by Google and Samsung Wear. Only this version of Wear on the smartwatch won’t land until 2022.
Fitbit was also active in August, announcing the Charge 5 – an update to its flagship line of activity meters. It followed the Luxe model with a color screen, and also installed an ECG sensor, which was previously only in the Sense line.
This was followed by Samsung, which finally presented, according to many rumors, the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic. So we got our first insight into the combination of Google’s new Wear platform and Samsung’s Tizen system.
The Apple Watch Series 7 was released in September, and Apple decided to make some design changes – but speculation about a thinner watch frame didn’t materialize. Given what Apple brought us with the Model 7, the Apple Watch Series 8 could be a device with which we can expect big changes.
In addition to the big names, Whoop, popular among elite athletes, is back with its fourth generation of wearables. Designed based on sleep and regeneration, the ability to monitor blood oxygen and skin temperature has been added. The wearable, other than the wrist, can also be worn in clothing such as compression pants and sports bras.
Additionally, Amazon has launched Halo View, a cheaper version of its fitness activity tracker. Aura with a screen to display basic fitness statistics; It is apparently designed to compete with Fitbit, Xiaomi, and Huawei.
October-December: There is talk of the Pixel Watch, the Meta Watch on Facebook, and the third edition of Oura
At the end of the year, the producers still had plenty of opportunities to join the top stories of the year – but there were also plenty of rumors about what might be on the way.
Motorola was the first to launch the Moto Watch 100 during this period. Unlike previous Moto smartwatches, this watch does not have Google Wear OS; Instead, it has its own operating system. Zepp has supplemented its lineup with three new smartwatches: GTS 3, GTR 3 and GTR 3 Pro. The trio announced the arrival of Zepp’s new operating system and app store.
Huawei also didn’t say the latter, as we also got the Huawei Watch GT 3. Huawei used design elements of the Watch 3 model and HarmonyOS. If we take a step away from smartwatches, here’s Ora with the 3rd generation smart ring.