Worried there’ll be a lull between the iPhone 6 release and the early 2015 debut of Apple’s new smartwatch? Don’t fret, tech fiends.
Just in time for the holiday season, a slew of techie toys will be coming out of beta testing, ready to be put on the top of your wish lists.
When historians look back at the tech trends of 2014, one craze will be clear: We sure like to be one with our gadgets. Wearable electronics that act like virtual assistants to help you work out smarter, sleep better and be more productive will continue to be a dominating trend throughout the rest of this year and into the next.
Wearables as a category have been endorsed by large players including Apple, Google, Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola, Intel and Qualcomm, says tech guru and entrepreneur Vishal Gondal.
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“It’s clear that as wearable hardware becomes more mainstream, the focus will shift on apps and services which utilize the power of the sensors and data from those devices to help people make a lifestyle change,” he says.
Here are some upcoming gadgets and wearable tech devices to get geeked about now.
For fitness enthusiasts: The GOQii Wrist Band
What it is: This fitness tracker that integrates coaching to help you make lifestyle changes is the latest development from Gondal, who sold his last company, Indiagames, to Disney for $100 million in 2011.
Why you’ll want it: You know that little devil on your shoulder during the holiday season nudging you to have another slice of pecan pie or to go ahead and volunteer to judge that cookie contest? Well, what better way to counteract those temptations than a personal trainer, right there on your wrist, helping you make healthy decisions? Unlike other fitness trackers that just count your steps and aggregate data about your burned calories, GOQii will loop in a human coach. The data from the wristband is sent to your coach as well as a team of nutritionists and doctors, who can analyze your information and help you meet your goals. Need a little more motivation? Earn “karma” points, which can be donated to charities around the world, when you accomplish the goals that are set for you. Be healthy? Save the world? Sounds like a good plan.
How much: The band is free. The subscription to a personal lifestyle coach who will interact with you and interpret the data is $19 a month.
When to get it: Beta testing will wrap up in late 2014.
More info: www.Goqii.com
For dreamers: NeuroOn Sleep Mask
What it is: This smart sleep mask will help you catch your best Z’s ever – while buying you some extra awake time.
Why you’ll want it: Because you’ve wished for more hours in the day. Or a personal assistant. Or a clone. The NeuroOn Sleep Mask allows you to switch from monophasic to polyphasic sleep. In plain English, that means you can sleep less but more efficiently, so you still feel refreshed as if you were running on a full eight hours of slumber. (Be prepared to break up your sleep throughout the day into little cat naps, though.) The founders say da Vinci and Napoleon were known to use polyphasic sleep patterns to reduce their sleep time, so you’d be in good company. Using a neural sensor, the company claims the product is able to detect when you’re in a deep REM sleep and will slowly wake you up and leave you feeling fully energized. Here’s the math: Polyphasic sleep can give you an extra four hours of “awake” time every day. At 28 hours a week, you’ve bought yourself an extra day-plus.
How much: $299
When to get it: Available now for pre-order.
More info: https://neuroon.com
For globetrotters: KONAS Luggage
What it is: Trackable with a smartphone, this luggage and backpack line was made by people who know first-hand the hassle of losing their bags.
Why you’ll want it: Last year, airlines lost more than 40 million pieces of luggage. Now you can keep track of your precious cargo with KONAS Luggage, which contains a tracking chip that works with WiFi, GSM and GPS. The luggage meets FAA regulations because the device automatically shuts off when an airplane is in flight and turns on when the plane lands. The tracking system also is being installed in a line of KONAS backpacks so hikers can find each other if they get separated on their adventures while out of cellphone range.
How much: Backpacks start at $135; luggage ranges from $350 to $450. The GPS and tracking application is free.
When to get it: Konas is in the final phase of testing, and the makers expect it to be available before the 2014 Christmas season.
More info: www.konasbags.com
For fashionistas: Everpurse
What it is: A cute clutch that charges your phone.
Why you’ll want it: You get anxiety when your phone alerts you that it only has 10 percent battery life left and you’ve got to find the nearest power source to resuscitate it. Everpurse and Samsung SDI, which designs and manufactures battery cells, have partnered for this handbag collection that allows you to simply drop your phone in the charging pocket for an instant reboot. Then, at night, charge the Everpurse on a charging mat. The standard battery will keep your phone charged for 48 hours, while the “fab” battery gets you 96 hours of battery life. The purses are made with Saffiano leather (black vegan leather also available) and come with removable cross-body and wristlet straps.
How much: The purses start at $149.
When to get it: Available for pre-order. Estimated shipping is December.
More info: www.Everpurse.com