New Year’s Tech: What to Expect in 2014
Shoppers will see a slew of “two-in-one” convertibles that act as both traditional laptops and more portable tablets.
Time to make up for December's bad habits by doing better in 2012. Here are the best tech tools to help you shape up and keep healthy. Who knows? You might actually keep your new year's resolution this time around. Sure, Basis can tell you time, but if you want to know your blood flow, motion, temperature, heart rate, sweat level and blood oxygen level, it'll tell you those too. With a plethora of sensors, the monitoring watch keeps an eye on your vitals, giving you an overview of health, sleep and exercise habits. Basis is an honoree for the upcoming CES Best of Innovations Design and Engineering Awards in the health and wellness category. Available for pre-order for $199. This article is part of a series about getting fit in the new year. Check out the entire Man up! feature here.
MotoActv Heart-rate Monitor
The MotoActv wants to be your personal trainer. This tiny device tells when you reach or leave your target pace, heart rate or PowerZone based on your programmed profile and goals. And to keep you going, it creates a performance playlist, pulling songs that you burned the most calories to. It also takes on a few personal assistant duties, including fetching your incoming calls and displaying on-screen text messages. Begins at $249.99.
Withings WiFi scale
For better or worse, scales don't lie. In fact, the Withings WiFi scale tells you the cold hard truth: weight, body fat percentage, and BMI. Each time you step on, it registers these stats and sends them over your home wireless network to a private Web interface. The dashboard keeps tabs on your progress with static and interactive charts. You can share this information with your doctors, personal trainers, friends and family. If you feel so inclined, you can even tweet your progress to the entire world. Available from ThinkGeek for $164.99.
BitGym Fitness Games
The average American household has 1.15 cardio machines according to the San Francisco-based health startup BitGym. But overwhelmingly, they're left to collect dust. Get ready to use the treadmill again because BitGym's iOS games are designed to keep you going. One of them, Trail Runner, shows inspiring landscapes as you're on an exercise machine, speeding up or slowing down based on your real-life workout performance. Game prices vary, but lite versions are available for free.
If you prefer to run outdoors, Runtastic is an app that tracks your location, distance, time, pace and calorie consumption. It has charts that show your speed, altitude, pulse and training history. The pro version includes voice feedback, live tracking, cheering, pulse-reading, geotagging, workouts, competitions, and an integrated music player. Its iOS and Android apps have the most functionality, but Runtastic is also available on BlackBerry, Windows, and bada phones. Prices vary by device.
Alice Truong for Discovery Channel
JayBird Freedom Earphones
The JayBird Freedom was designed for the gym rat. It uses Bluetooth connectivity, so there aren't long cords to trip over. The sound is big -- great motivation when your power track comes on. Plus, it's got enough variety of ear cushions, tips, and hooks to make sure you find the right fit; one that stays on when you're on the go.
Fitness Technologies Underwater MP3 Player
Music can motivate runners to go longer distances, why not apply the same principle to swimmers? Generally electronics and water don't mix very well, but Fitness Technologies' UWaterK7 was built for just that. The compact waterproof MP3 player debuted in the fall and will be making an appearance at CES in January. Also expected to make an appearance: the company's line of HD waterproof action cameras and waterproof stereo Bluetooth headsets. Available for $100.
Alice Truong for Discovery Channel
Mophie Outdoor Battery Extender and Maps
Grab your iPhone. You're going for a hike. Not only does the mophie juice pack plus outdoor give you extended battery life (about 2,000 mAh, or eight hours of talk time on 3G), a corresponding app gives you access to 5 million square miles of high-resolution maps covering the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Once you download them, you no longer have to worry about losing reception. Plus the app records your progress, speed, distance, elevation, and geo-tagged photos. Available for $119.95.
Drift HD Video Camera
A good workout doesn't always mean hitting the gym. Head somewhere beautiful and find a fun activity, like biking or snowboarding. Action cams such as the Drift HD can be a good motivator to go outside. They capture amazing moments in 1080p HD video, which, upon watching, will make you want to go right back outside again. The small, light camera can be mounted to helmets or strapped on wrists and can also be controlled remotely. A night mode also means you can record in dusty or dark conditions. Feeling motivated to get your workout on? Visit our Man up! feature, chock full of info that will get your heart pumping.
You’ll be wearing the hottest thing in technology in 2014, but it won’t be Google glasses or a smart watch. The New Year will be all about getting fit and staying healthy.
“What will be hot are wearable health devices such as NikeFuel Bands, Fitbit, and Jawbone UP,” seasoned tech analyst Tim Bajarin told FoxNews.com.
“These types of wearables -- along with wireless blood pressure kits like iHealth -- will see serious consumer interest and exciting products next year.”
Other wellness technology on the rise includes remote health care, the Consumer Electronics Association forecasts. With thistelepresence medicine, you can visit a virtual doctor anywhere, anytime, just as telecommuting lets you work from anywhere in the world. In fact, pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens are already testing the technology, though it’s still unclear how soon patients might expect to see kiosks.
As for 2013’s wearables -- smart watches and Google glasses? Forget about ’em.
“All attempts at creating a smart watch for the masses have failed,” Bajarin said. “The ones on the market today only appeal to ultrageeks and early adopters … smart watches won’t go mainstream anytime soon.”
The same goes for connected eyewear such as Google Glass. Bajarin predicts smart glasses will remain in experimental mode next year, with first-movers selling fewer than a million units combined. Ditto for autonomous cars.
In the world of gadgets, shoppers will see a slew of “two-in-one” convertibles that act as both traditional laptops and more portable tablets, at least for Windows and Intel-based devices. “I believe two-in-ones are the future of laptops,” Bajarin anticipates. “We will see a huge campaign around these in 2014, including devices with dual operating systems, i.e. Android Apps running on Windows machines.”
Another New Year’s expectation: Bigger screens. That means already hard-to-fit-in-your-pocket smartphones will grow. And so will tablets, to facilitate screen sharing.
While they get bigger, your phones and tablets will also become more aware. For instance, beacon technology will soon be introduced in Major League Baseball parks and the new San Francisco 49ers stadium.
“Using something called Bluetooth low energy, these beacons can be attached to display end caps [at the end of store aisles], and when your phone or tablet comes within proximity, the beacon will alert you to sales and promotions or send things like player’s info and stats,” Bajarin explains.
As further proof that the death of the PC has been greatly exaggerated, Google Chromebooks are expected to gain more ground in the upcoming year, analysts say. In 2013, Google added two HP Chromebooks to its lineup, which already included multipleSamsung and Acer options. In 2014, Dell joins the party, along with a new iMac-like “Chromebase” by LG.
Although adoption of Chromebooks has been slow, it’s been steadily increasing.
“In our research, I understand that Google and their partners will become even more aggressive in pricing and marketing Chrome OS devices in 2014,” Bajarin said.
In addition to selling more hardware, Google and other tech giants hope to advance natural search this year. Whether you’re dictating a command to Google Now, Apple Siri, or Xbox, or typing in a search query as if you were asking another person, natural search aims to make information more accessible to everybody, without knowing advanced search techniques. In other words, your search for information should soon become more fruitful.
As for the most revolutionary consumer tech in 2014 . . . Although they’ve tried for years, the 3D printing industry may finally come to fruition, thanks to palatable prices and a growing interest in do-it-yourself manufacturing. “Thanks to the expiration of key patents, 3D printing will explode in 2014,” predicts Christopher Mims for Quartz.