If you fancy something on your wrist, you'll be very happy with spring 2014 -- many of the most-anticipated smartwatches and bands we've seen since CES are expected by June. Big companies, small companies, and a few wild cards: come look at what we're most excited about.
The Gear Fit stole Samsung's MWC event with its bright, curved OLED display, heart rate monitor, and fitness band-meets-smartwatch design. Bright swappable wristbands and a less bulky design than the Gear watches, with plenty of smartwatch-like extra features like notifications and music control, could make the Fit a hit.
It's only been six months, and there's already a sequel to the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The new watch has a revamped design, Samsung's own Tizen OS, a camera that's been shifted to the watch body instead of the band, IR TV remote functions, and a heart rate monitor, too.
Take the Gear 2, remove the camera, and you have the Samsung Gear 2 Neo. A slightly thinner design, the Neo will still have the rest of the Gear 2's features, including the same display, apps, heart rate monitor and IR TV remote functions.
LG's entry into wearable fitness tech, the LifeBand Touch, amounts to a rigid band that combines activity tracking with additional notifications from Android or iOS phones. Paired with Android phones, the LifeBand Touch will also be able to do more advanced two-way communication for silencing and monitoring calls and messages. LG's also making a separate pair of Heart Rate Earphones that send data to the Touch via Bluetooth. Look for the LifeBand Touch to compete directly against the Samsung Gear Fit.
The outlook: Sony already has a smartwatch, but the SmartBand is a simpler activity-tracking device that looks to compete with Nike, Fitbit, and Jawbone. Last seen at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the SmartBand will pair with Sony's own Life Log app to form a complete social snapshot of your lifestyle. A lot of those functions will come from your phone, but expect the SmartBand to handle the basic activity-tracking, too.
The outlook: PC gaming company Razer is aiming its first entry into wearables, the Razer Nabu, at those who want a fitness band with extra notifications and social features. The Nabu looks like a Nike Fuelband, but has screens on the front and back, can get messages from iOS and Android phones, and promises a way to share social info with a handshake.
The outlook: Former executives from Fossil and the former chief designer of Vertu phones are teaming up to create a new Meta watch that feels like a Pebble with a super-fashion facelift. Multiple on-screen readouts, a reflective Pebble-like display, and plenty of band designs could make Meta interesting, plus it'll work with both Android and iOS.
The outlook: Last year's Martian Passport watch had retro flair and a speakerphone, but a high price. The new line of Martian Notifier watches drop the speakerphone, add bold new designs, and are affordably priced. They still sport analog watch faces with small digital readouts underneath, and a new set of customizable vibrations can be set to buzz differently for texts, Twitter, and other pings.
Last seen at CES, the quirky Netatmo June may look like jewelry, but it's actually a wearable UV monitor. Underneath the metal pendant, UV sensors measure skin exposure and pair with a phone app to let you know if you're getting too much sun for your skin type. Leather bands add flair. This should be coming out just in time for summer vacation.
The outlook:Android Wear has suddenly become the most exciting thing in wearables since...well, maybe Google Glass. The Motorola Moto 360 (pictured) and LG G Watch are the first Android Wear devices, but we don't anticipate more news until Google I/O in late June. These devices may not be released until summer, but let's just fold them into the edge of the end of spring as far as our list is concerned.