Fitbit confident smartwatch will arrive on time, despite rumors of delays


Fitbit’s next smartwatch is “on track” to launch at the end of this year, according to chief executive James Park, who denied the multiple rumors of delays.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Park said the smartwatch will be the company’s best yet, sporting “industry leading” GPS performance, a music player, and new biometric sensors that may find use in the medical industry, if Fitbit receives FDA approval.

See Also: Study hints that wearables are terrible at counting calories, just like their users

One thing that won’t be in the next Fitbit is cellular options, which Park says requires too many tradeoffs, the most important being battery life.

Even though Fitbit has one of the better records for accuracy, in a report last year the Apple Watch was deemed far more accurate when it came to heart-rate and high-intensity exercise. The improved GPS may help reduce inaccuracies, alongside the new sensors.

Customers say “Where’s my jam?”

The company has also been hounded by customers that want to control music through the fitness tracker. The acquisition of Pebble late last year has helped them add third-party applications to the new wearable, according to Park.

Entering into the medical market has been rumored for a few months, and Park confirmed the company’s intentions: “Getting approved by the FDA and going down that pathway is something we wholeheartedly embrace. The exciting thing about larger form-factor devices is it allows us to have those capabilities and unlock them over time.”

Fitbit is in a tricky situation, if the FDA approval doesn’t come in and the smartwatch doesn’t work wonders, it could be seen as same old to Wall Street. The company’s stock has halved in the past year, and it recently lost its position as the most popular wearable manufacturer, now third behind Apple and Xiaomi.

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Google Home and Google Wi-Fi arrive in the UK

Google Home and Google Wi-Fi arrive in the UK

Google Home is to launch in the UK with availability set for 6 April and will cost £129, the company has announced.

Google Home, the company’s response to rival Amazon’s Alexa-based smart speakers such as the Echo, is set to launch in the UK next week.

The voice-activated speaker allows users in the home to chat with Google Assistant, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The device can answer questions, control IoT-connected devices in the home, as well as play music, set reminders and alarms and take notes.

Many consider Google Assistant to be superior to its rivals in delivering responses, given Google’s pedigree in search and its numerous, hefty investments in AI.

The Google Home device integrates with several other Google services, such as Search, Maps, Translate, as well as Gmail and Google Calendar. Users can also get news briefings from the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Sun, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Sky News, Sky Sports and others.

That means users will be able to ask the device questions about weather, traffic, sports, finance, local businesses and more.

Read more: Google Home connects devices and runs your life

At your command

The device uses field microphone technology to detect a user’s voice in a room, listening for the command “OK Google” and then responding to requests and demands.

At a demonstration in London, Google representatives said the device will contain several ‘Easter eggs’, whimsical pieces of extra function that the company’s engineers sometimes hide in its services, in order to surprise those who make the effort to hunt them down.

“A combination of our natural language processing, machine learning and voice-recognition expertise allow users to interact naturally with the assistant,” said Suveer Kothari, director of product planning at Google in a blog post.

“And of course, we’ve hidden a few British treats for you to discover. Just try asking Google Home about its hobbies or favourite foods.”

Read more: Google to invade your (smart) home to show off AI software

Google Home to integrate with connected devices

From launch, Google Home will work with smart home products such as Nest, SmartThings and Philips Hue. Users can also integrate other smart devices using the IFTTT service. Tado has also confirmed that its smart thermostat will work with Google Home.

Multiple Google Home devices, as well as Chromecast Audio-enabled speakers, can be used to play the same music throughout the house with the device’s multi-room feature. The device will also control Chromecast devices connected to TVs, so that they can playback video content from YouTube or Netflix.

Costing £129, the Home device has been available in the US for some months and is £20 cheaper than the Echo. It is now available to pre-order at the Google Store online and will also be coming to Argos, Dixons, John Lewis and Maplin. The device also has interchangeable bases, priced at £18 for fabric and £36 for metal.

Google also unveiled a new Wi-Fi router, dubbed Google Wi-Fi which it claims with solve problems with Wi-Fi connected devices in the home. The units can be placed around the home to create a Wi-Fi mesh network to lessen the chance of dead spots.

Read more: Amazon woos Alexa developers with free AWS services

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