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Competition, not innovation, in wearables at Computex

Martyn Williams | June 5, 2014
Visitors don't have to walk far to find wearables at Computex, the big IT trade show taking place in Taipei this week. Dozens of companies from Taiwan and China are showcasing first-generation products.

Guidercare Health Watch
Taiwan-based manufacturer Guidercare is launching a health-care wearable for the elderly. The Angel Smart GD-800 looks like other smartwatches, but it's also meant to monitor the user's health and location. The data is uploaded remotely to a caregiver's smartphone via an app, letting them monitor the user's health. The device will be priced below $300 and launch worldwide later this year through Guidercare's partners. It runs Android and has 3G connectivity to make phone calls, or alert a caregiver during emergencies.

Holux Heartrate monitor
Holux, a Taiwan-based manufacturer, is showing off a smartwatch geared for heartbeat monitoring. In the back of the watch's display is an optical heart-rate sensor that when on can last for 11 hours. Holux's watch is waterproof, weighs 25 grams and uses a 1.26-inch monochrome black screen. It can connect to a smartphone over Bluetooth to receive notifications as well. The company will start shipping the smartwatch to clients late in the year.

Oaxis Fitness band
Singapore-based Oaxis has developed a smartband meant to promote fitness. Called the Star 21, the product synchs with a company-developed mobile app that can be installed on a smartphone. The mobile app works by setting out goals for the user to complete over a 21-day period. The smartband itself can display the time in analog format. Oaxis sells its products to China and Southeast Asia, and expects the Star 21 to retail for $42 when it launches in July.

Kronoz Smartwatch
Swiss-based Kronoz is already selling several smartwatch models and wants to develop a large collection. The company is mainly selling in Europe, but is expanding to Asia Pacific and North America, including the U.S. The company's next-generation products, the ZeWatch 2 and ZeBracelet 2, will launch next month. Both devices connect to the smartphone via Bluetooth, and can display incoming calls and messages. They also work as pedometers to track steps taken and calories burned.

Sonostar Smartwatch
Taiwan-based Sonostar wants to sell its own wearable, simply called the SmartWatch, globally through online sales. The device has a 1.73-inch e-ink display, giving it three to five days of battery life. The curved display is a touchscreen, and meant to be readable under sunlight. Included are some apps that can track a user's exercise activities. It can also synch with a phone, and notify a user of incoming phone calls and other messages. Sonostar's device will be priced at $179 and be available in mid-July.


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