CES 2017 is just days away, and while there are a lot of uncertainties this year, one thing remains clear: the world’s largest tech show is sure to have a few surprises and some must-see devices. But they may not be what you’re expecting.
Credit by Networking in Vegas
You see, for the past few years, wearables (trackers and smartwatches, to be exact), have been all the rage, but it looks like that’s about to change. Word is wearables have reached their peak, and will take a backseat to other devices, like VR goggles, smart clothing, and even smart sunglasses! So, what can you expect for this year’s show? To give you an idea of what’s coming, or not coming, at this year’s show, here’s my CES 2017 Wish list and Predictions.
Wearables at CES 2017: MY Wish list
While I’m hoping for some new, and much needed innovations in this field, according to the buzz, there won’t be anything jaw-dropping to see, which is a shame. Wearables have come a long way, but there is still so much more that can be done.
Big names like Fitbit and Samsung unveiled a slew of new devices last year, leaving Garmin as the one company to hopefully wow us with something new and improved. Personally, I think Fitbit, in particular, dropped the ball. Many of their new devices, like the Blaze and Alta, while dazzling, lacked the essentials on my wish-list, and could have been improved upon.
So, what am I looking for? Here’s my wearables wish list:
• Waterproof devices across the board: In the year 2017 there is no reason why a smartwatch shouldn’t be waterproof, as the technology is available, and found in devices inferior to some of the top models. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years, and one I still don’t understand. Why give consumers something new and innovative, like the Blaze, and not include this key feature?
Waterproofing takes a wearable to a whole other level and opens it up to increased purchasing power. It is a hassle to have to constantly remove your device to shower or for swimmers to be limited to their choices. And it’s annoying! So, let’s make 2017 the year every device is waterproof!
• Reliable heart rate monitoring: In the last year or 2, many companies have come under fire for heart rate monitoring that is less than accurate. Targeting heart zones and precise readings are a key selling feature for many devices.
Either improve the technology, or stop promoting this feature, as it is misleading and dangerous.
• An all-in-one device: Many wearables boast they do it all, but they are usually missing a key feature, like GPS, waterproofing, heart rate monitoring, or a stylish design. How about giving us all of that, in a device that looks great?
• More built-in features: Wouldn’t it be great if you could see fitness apps, or analyze stats, without needing your phone? Having these programs accessible directly from the unit would greatly improve function. Not sure how they can do it, but I’m pretty sure they can.
• Personal coaching: Alexa on your wrist? Don’t laugh, because it is possible, and has already happened with the Alexa-compatible Martian mVoice watch. Imagine the possibilities if everyone started using this technology? Health and fitness would reach new heights and exercise would be much more accessible for beginners.
CES 2017 Predictions
Ok, so now that you see what I’m hoping for, it’s time to look at the reality, which is that none of this is probably happening anytime soon. So, while we wait and yearn, let’s see what is on tap for this year’s show. Here are my predictions on what you can expect:
• Wearables will be big, but not on your wrist: 2016 wasn’t a good one for traditional wearables, as Jawbone stopped making the UP, Fitbit had a low holiday quarter and Android Wear took a beating. So, expect to see more wearables on other body parts, like VR goggles and sunglasses. And since CES loves new products and crowd funders, you can also expect many boastful and unproven claims. Like the wireless patches that can “taste” your skin and analyze physiological markers, or the watches powered purely by body heat.
In terms of traditional trackers, expect Garmin will be the big draw. Garmin was one of the few companies not to unveil anything new in 2016, and loves to debut new products at CES, so expect something new form them. Odds are it will be a new Fenix device, like the Fenix 4 or an improved version of the Fenix 3.
Fossil has confirmed that their brands, including Diesel, Misfit, Michael Kors, Fossil, Skagen, and Emporio Armani will all have new wearables. While that is quite a few brands, odds are it won’t be anything we haven’t already seen, so I’m holding my excitement in until I have a reason to jump up and down.
Finally, word is Google is planning to unveil 2 Android-wear smart watches, and CES is the place they plan to do it. This rumor has been circulating for some time, and has been confirmed by Jeff Chang, product manager. However, the date has not been revealed, so it’s a guess if CES will be the place.
• Wireless is the wave of the future: These days, wireless headphones are all the rage- just look at Apple and their jackless iPhones for proof. So, expect to see other companies try to duplicate this and push wireless headphones even further into the forefront. You can also expect to see an expansion of these devices in gaming headphones too.
Who knows, there may even be some new and improved wireless headphones that track steps.
• Drones will be everywhere: DJI is the leader in this field, with everyone else playing catch-up, so there is plenty of room for new and dazzling products. Look for companies to possibly introduce new shapes and sizes as they try to grab a spot in this ever-growing market.
You can also expect new innovations in indoor models, video capabilities and underwater usage.
• Cars will be front and center: Self-driving cars, and cars that are fully connected and work using computer technology, will be all the rage this year. Look for things like cars with connections used to send information back to the cloud for maintenance issues to reminders about upcoming service requirements.
Self-driving cars aren’t fully realized yet, but odds are we will take a step closer at this year’s CES.
And of course, expect the unexpected at this year’s show. CES is known for the unveiling of new and unexpected products, and this year should be no different. Who knows, there may even be a wearable that ticks off everything on my wish list. Thanks for reading my CES 2017 Wish list and Predictions. Be sure to check back with me all week, as I will be reporting on all the latest unveilings from the convention floor.