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Privacy groups warn of security risk in smartwatches for kids

WASHINGTON: Smartwatches designed to help parents keep tabs on children could create privacy and security risks, activist and consumer groups said Wednesday as they called for probes by regulators. A coalition of child protection, consumer, and privacy groups asked the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate the risks posed to children by the devices and also called on retailers to stop selling the watches. The groups said consumer organizations in Europe were expected to file similar complaints with EU regulators.…

Fitbit takes aim at Apple with new smartwatch launch

Wearable device maker Fitbit on Monday launched its newest device, the Ionic smartwatch, with features ranging from fitness tracking to contactless payment, as it gears up to compete with rivals such as Apple. Once the market leader in wearables, Fitbit has recently struggled due to fierce competition and had earlier blamed a shift among consumers toward feature-rich devices and smartwatches for its revenue decline. Ionic smartwatches will feature GPS, heart rate tracking, water resistance up to 50 meters, Fitbit Pay,…

Alphabet’s Verily makes smartwatch for health research

Alphabet's life sciences unit Verily on Friday unveiled a wrist-worn "Study Watch" designed to gather complex health data in clinical studies. Study Watch is meant for research and will be put to work in several studies including a multi-year study to identify patterns in the progression of Parkinson's disease, according to a blog post by Verily team members David He, Tushar Parlikar, and Harry Xiao. "The ability to passively capture health data is critical to the success of continuous care platforms and clinical…

Swatch to launch Swiss smartwatch operating system by 2018

Swatch Group is developing a Swiss-made operating system as it seeks to offer a smaller, more flexible alternative to the dominant systems which connect items such as smartwatches to the internet, its chief executive said on Thursday. The world’s biggest watchmaker has been skeptical about smartwatches, which use systems like Google’s Android Wear, Samsung’s Tizen OS and Apple’s WatchOS to connect to the internet, and has so far launched watches with limited connected features under its Tissot and Swatch brands. CCS…

Smartwatch sales tumble, dragged down by Apple

WASHINGTON DC: Global smartwatch sales slid 51.6 percent in the third quarter, amid a steep decline for the Apple Watch ahead of its updated device, a market tracker said Monday. The IDC survey said total smartwatch volumes were 2.7 million units, less than half the level of a year earlier. Apple, the largest smartwatch vendor, saw its sales down 71.6 percent. But IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said the decline is not as ominous as it appears — because many consumers were waiting for the new version of the Apple Watch and…