Welcome to CES 2016!

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Yup, it’s that time of year again – when tech blogs the world around explode with news about fancy new gadgets at CES (Consumer Electronics Show).  All sadly mere days after you just finished unwrapping new Christmas gadgets.  Such is the cruel way the tech industry rolls.

I’m back in Vegas already and have a huge line-up of new products that’ll be announced over the coming days.  CES is a little wonky this year in that it starts on Wednesday (through Saturday), versus the usual Tuesday opening.  This means that collectively everyone is confused as to when to announce new things (usually people just do it Monday afternoon/evening or Tuesday morning).  So this year the announcements are spread from Monday through Wednesday morning, with the bulk being Tuesday morning (it’ll be like rush hour around here!).  There are also some announcements that quite frankly the company hasn’t decided when the announcement time is.  So for those I’ve just got posts ready for whenever they get their acts together.

Looking at what’s on tap, I think this will be the strongest year yet of fitness/sport related announcements.  And, there’s also a bunch of stuff I haven’t even received briefings on yet, slated to occur Monday/Tuesday.  Fun times ahead!

Here’s some quick thoughts by category:

GPS Watches: Definitely expect to see more entrants here, from more companies.  Gone are the days where it’s just Garmin/Polar/Suunto.  This category will continue to expand as others try and get into the game.  The challenge for new players will be showing they understand how to cater to the fitness market, something that many from a pure tech (non-sports) background screw up.

Action Cameras: While I don’t expect to see new GoPro branded action cams announced this week (could be wrong), I do expect plenty of other action cameras from many companies.  Especially more focus on 360° action cams, as well as those connected via 4G/LTE type networks.  We saw introductions of both products last year, but all of the entrants I’ve played with thus far have been kinda rough around the edges still.

Activity Trackers: Expect plenty more as usual, ranging from definitely worthy to absolute no-name garbage.  Many forget that when it comes to activity trackers – the platform is equally if not more important than the device itself.  A poor software platform will quickly have you tossing the tracker.  I’ll cover as many interesting ones as I find, but won’t generally waste time on things that aren’t worth your time.  Also, expect that most will have optical HR in them, but as has been the trend lately – most of those optical HR technologies will somewhat suck (only a few good players there still).

Other Wearables: Like activity trackers, plenty going on in this space.  Whether it’s worn as running shorts, sports bras, or even on your head – there’s a lot going on right now in this area.  Some of it is just recycling existing ideas that have been around for years (i.e. HR integrated sports bras), others improving on technology (heads up displays), and yet some totally new things in the space.

Sport/Follow-Me Drones: Lots has started occurring in this space in the last few weeks with a few drones from last year shipping, mid-shipping, or days/weeks away from shipping.  I’ve got one unit (Hexo+) that arrives tomorrow to my hotel here (finally), but I’m really waiting for Airdog.  Of course, expect more announcements this week.  These units will continue to scale down in size, and up in smarts.

For those that are new to the hoopla that is CES, you can look at all past CES posts with this simple link here.  Or, you can look at just the CES2016 ones as they come up. Since posts will be coming fast and furious over the next few days, note that the front page only shows the latest 5 items.  But you can always click the ‘Blog’ button to see a list of everything (chronologically).

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Finally, I’ll have Randy Cantu with me again this year, and we’ll be working in tandem to get out as much goodness as possible.  In the event you see something interesting that’s been announced that you haven’t seen a post on, shoot me a quick tweet and we’ll tackle it.  However like always I’m looking for sports technology, not so much TV’s or stereo systems.

With that – let’s get this show on the road!

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to check out all of the DCR CES 2016 coverage, as well as a slew of updates that were only seen on Twitter.

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65 Comments

  1. Oren

    What about the Kuai headset?
    They say they’re going to display it on CES.
    If it does all they claim it would, this would be a really interesting fitness device.
    Would be great if you could give it a spin or even take it for a short run.
    Have fun at the show!

  2. KilkennY

    Hey Ray.
    You should check out Dantracker. A gps tracker to hide in your bike in case of theft. :-) I would love to see a comment on that, with all the bike stealing in big city’s.

  3. Eaglesven

    Hi Ray,
    Looking forward to the CES announcements.

    Read yesterday about new Garmin Fenix 3. Among them one with built in HR.

    Can you confirm this already?

    • GMhx

      Hahaha reading your post I googled, and looks like Garmin is ready for this one as google indexed the page but the page itself is inaccessible unless logged in….

      More interesting is the link comes from Garmin Newsroom itself, with the URL stating image CES 2016, it would be called the Garmin Fenix 3 HR 1…. Why the 1? Is there and HR 2 also? See image below for proof…

    • BenF

      link to the5krunner.com

      Looks like details have leaked. Will have to wait and see. I’m probably going to pick this up, I want one watch that can provide my running dynamics / info, gym info and support me in the mountains (and has Optical HR).

      Once the DCR review is out I’ll make up my mind :)

    • Jeff Kohn

      “The new fēnix 3 Sapphire watches will be available in Q1 2015. The fēnix 3 HR will have a suggested retail price of $599.99, the titanium fēnix 3 Sapphire will have a suggested retail price for $799.99, and the fēnix 3 Sapphire with leather and nylon bands will have a suggested retail price of $599.99.”

      $800 for a garmin watch?!? That’s $200 more than the Fenix 3 Sapphire. That thing better be pooping gold for that price. I’ll stick with my fenix 3 + $65 Scoshe, thank you.

    • George

      How’s that Scoshe for 24×7 HR? :)

      Either way, be interesting to see if they’ve updated GPS hardware. I see the accuracy thread on the Garmin Forums is still quite healthy at 200k views and over 1800 posts.

    • Jackie Nunes

      The Scosche Rhythm + has a limited battery life of 8 hours. That isn’t suitable for 140.6 distance triathlete per the documentation that I can find as of right now However, it appears to be an awesome product that is also waterproof. That plus a selection of colors will ensure a purchase at what I consider to be a great price.

  4. Samuel

    Nice, glad to see Randy again, will look forward for your posts as last year this was very entertaining.

  5. Chris

    Can you ask Garmin if there is new hardware in the “new” fenix3 watches. Especially new GPS hardware…

  6. chris benten

    The big question: Will Limits man their booth???

  7. Tim

    Hoping to see a new Scosche optical HR strap (or equivalent performing device from another entrant), but with promise for accurate HRV / RR data and possibly improved battery life. Possible?

  8. nacho

    Hi Ray
    Before any official presentation, which of the “traditional” gps watches brands (Garmin, Polar and Suunto) do you think that will present the most interesting/revolutionary product?
    Thanks

    • George

      Considering that Ray probably already knows what Garmin, Suunto, and Polar will be announcing, and is also is under NDA/embargo for that information, I doubt he’d be able to give any meaningful answer to that question.

  9. Hendrik

    Hi Ray,

    I am really looking forward to your coverage, as I am eagerly waiting for a sports watch with optical HR covering all activities (running, swimming, fitness, steps, …) and with good Google Fit / Apple Health integration. I find it mind boggling that such a device does not yet exist…

    I have also often wondered why I never read anything from you on the Sony sports headset with integrated sports tracking and coaching, I think it is called the Sony Smart B-Trainer. Such a device would not cover all my needs, but still I would be interested in getting one as it is a very attractive solution for workouts where you want some music, all covered trough the headset without any hassle with additional devices and bluetooth pairing.

    I’ll watch this space closely over the coming days :-)

  10. Steve

    Hey Ray – Since someone mentioned the new Fenix above already, that brings up a Garmin question I have – do you know if Garmin is planning to support multiple activity trackers for a single person? It would be great to wear a 235/630/Fenix3 while running – and then my (much smaller) Vivosmart the rest of the day and get a total step count, without needing to wear two devices while running.

    Thanks!

    • Lee fox

      I have heard rumors that its being worked on, but I’m not holding my breath.
      It only makes sense for them to allow for it as now that their running / cycling focus watches support activity tracking, but those watches aren’t necessarily meant to be worn all day. Heck, even with the new Microsoft band, you can use your phone to keep track of steps if our not wearing your band.

  11. noseat

    I am looking at my unopened schosche rythm+ that came in the mail today! Wondering if I should strap it on for a run or wait a week to see what is coming out. :-/

    Any suggestions for iOS treadmill apps compatible with rythm+?

    • Eerke

      Hi,

      obviously can’t give you as thorough a rundown of treadmill apps as Ray would, but I’ve been researching treadmill apps a bit myself.

      The company that helped MIO get their App of the ground are now independent and have an App called Fittrip. As you have a HRM possibly you are happy with HR controlling speed? (There is a calibration function). They are doing lots of updates soon, but I don’t know what. Hopefully it will include cadence sensing.

      I haven’t tested these yet, as I am waiting for a flat screen TV to install in my cave
      1) run social; for this I am more excited about a device called a TreadTracker than the App itself. It is a wheel that goes under the treadmill and a future batch is going to transmit standard Bluetooth RSC (Running speed cadence). They are testing currently. Essentially it is an awesome idea. I hope it works and sends RSC, as then other apps/phones will be able to use it! (Their App doesn’t record HR). It does make me a bit nervous that Ray hasn’t mentioned it though.

      The App also can get stride rate from when the phone gets bumped with each stride. I intend to try this and send the phone, via Airplay, to the flat screen TV…
      2) bitgym; this one uses the phone camera to sense cadence and adjust the speed. I intend to again Airplay the images. I can’t see a HRM pairing option for this one either.

      So my findings are that it depends how you want to control speed and if you have a watch that can record your HR/cadence.

      Those were the best I found. I hope this is a bit helpful.

    • 6co

      Cool suggestions! Very interesting this treadtracker! If it would broadcast PACE and DISTANCE to any head unit, there would be no more need for a footpod on a treadmill!

  12. Eric

    Has the Ampstrip been rebranded? Someone must have bought this technology.

  13. Mike G

    Hey Rainmaker-

    will you be hosting any kind of meet ups while at CES? I plan to be out there as well for some work obligations.

  14. ian

    As a garmin geek and fan I love the Vivosmart HR but there are faults with it (check forum threads) and it would be good if Garmin could be asked about this.

    • Randall

      The Vivosmart HR is garbage. I used it for about two weeks and while it recorded resting HR just fine any activity was all over the place. Returned and back to my VivoFit. I’m anxious to see what the Fenix will deliver. I was going to get a Fenix for Christmas but thought I’d wait for CES. I’m counting on a good review of the Fenix HR, Ray! ? This is finally my year for a Fenix!

  15. jamey Ward

    Hi Ray,
    I’d be interested to get your impression on the new Mio Slice that they are introducing. The PAI metric looks like it might be a game changer?? From what I’ve read, the algorithm is based off of the HUNT study and if that all jives, it seems that setting goals based off of your own resting and max heart rate, gender and age would be very cool. Biggest thing to me would be if the new App for Mio would be improved since the current one could be better. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to check it out.

    Thanks man!

    • morey

      yeah – the Mio Slice looks like a great entry into the market. Not just steps- but your actual exertion. I’m thinking along the lines of a TRIMP score. Certainly is the right direction to go with activity trackers. Kudos Mio. Does it *transmit* Bluetooth/ANT+ HR?

      The Fenix3HR looks like the extreme killer device. I doubt they re-designed the GPS antenna. I won’t be an early adopter of a new complex Garmin product (how many firmware versions have they gone through?)- but that watch, when (if) it works, may actually be worth $600. Pretty cool.

    • While useful for an activity traker so they can do more then just step count I think its more along the lines of exertion vs not exertion and not trimp. So won’t know if you’re pushing really hard or just a light jog that gets you’re heart up.

    • JAMEY WARD

      Well the Mio pai app is available in the app store now. It is supposed to be compatible with other Mio devices. I own the Fuse and Alpha 2. I am going to download it and see how well the app syncs and works with my existing devices. I have to give kudos to Mio for extending this to existing devices vs making you purchase the new one (although the pai score will not be able to be shown on the older devices themselves. So I can see the value of the new device. The price point appears to be 99.00 and that’s a pretty good deal too since it will include smart notifications which the older devices don’t

  16. Olivier

    Hi I was wondering if you have tried the camera Clip 2 from Narrative. Could help you maybe? Worth a test? .

  17. Brian

    Will we be seeing more info on the new GoPro Drone?

  18. Pete

    Hey Ray,
    Any word from Garmin on a new Edge 820 or what ever will replace the 810?

    • My guess is the 810 won’t be replaced till the 1000 is replaced and all of that will wait till sea otter to be 2 years after the 1000 comes out. Also guessing Ray is under NDA and can’t say a thing

    • Pete

      Don’t doubt your guess, would like to hear Ray’s take on it if he can. Also, given the 810 is a couple years old and the 1000 is only a little over a year old, and the 520 has capabilities the 810 doesn’t, seems like the 810 update is over due.

    • Tommy Haywood

      I disagree. There is very little difference in features.Where there are differences, they are hardware specific and so cannot be given in an update.

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      I think Garmin have done a great job in bringing updates to the 810. The only thing I can see missing is some Garmin ANT+ light control.

    • Pete

      The big thing I see missing on the 810 is the trainer control and now that I have a smart trainer it matters a little. I look at it this way, if I’m going to upgrade my 800, I want the newest version that does all the things I want, otherwise I can wait. My original comment and question was to Ray to see if he could share any info.

    • The 810 was basically the same hardware platform as the 800 Sure, new Bluetooth chipset but not much else. It is CPU and ram limited so would be hard to expand further.

      The 810 replacement would compete too much with the 1000 so both need to be done at the same time

  19. Stuart

    Any news on a new vivoactive?

  20. Ingo

    Keep your eyes open for any proper (EEG) sleep tracking devices please (a la Zeo, Melon, NeuroOn etc.) that can identify correctly REM sleep cycles. Most activity trackers are just plain garbage when getting serious that level of sleep monitoring. Many thanks!

    • Actual brain wave based? There are at least three based on Heart rate (Withings Aura, Beddit, Eight (what used to be Luna))

      I do agree that the plain activity tracker ones are garbage and wish people stopped thinking they produce any real data. (Ray, you call out other BS data companies report but not this?)

    • Ingo

      Yes, brain wave based. I was reading James Maas’ “Sleep to Win” which mentioned the Zeo but this device has been discontinued unfortunately. There are some Kickstarter level projects trying to fill the gap but nothing really you could easily get your hands on. Neuroon price is just outright silly considering that you could by a bio-signal acquisition kit (link to op-innovations.com) for 46 US$ (!). Turns out that apparently 90% of common overuse injuries are due to sleep deprivation as we don’t sleep enough (and well enough) to enter the sleep phases where most of the repair work is done…

    • So…how do you know those other companies are right? Seriously. What non-company-funded study is there that those ones are correct?

      There’s so little objective data on those companies it’s just as silly as any others.

    • eli

      It’s been show that activity monitor are not accurate link to huffingtonpost.com

      There are real sleep trackers used by medical professionals and so far none of the accelerometer based t trackers want to show any evidence they give the same results

    • Ingo

      More on that:
      link to sleepjunkies.com

      James Maas also saying that the commonly available activity trackers are just a joke when it comes to sleep tracking:
      link to podcast.runnersconnect.net

      It’s basically all pointless as apparently the only way to reliably measure sleep is with an EEG.

  21. Luis

    Hi Ray,
    Who would you say are the good players in optical HR. Any chance of an optical HR comparison review.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  22. Sal

    Hey Ray
    Will you have a look at Bragi’s “The Dash”?
    They are in mass production. DevKits have already been sent. Kickstarter are anxiously waiting for their Dashs.
    Seems that the product has been manufactured after a long delay/wait.

  23. Petteri Hallikainen

    Weird, new Fenix HR is already in every Garmin page but press release is still on hold in their newsroom. Ray, any review of Fenix HR coming? They won’t specify it on Garmin pages but can you do a workout using optical?

  24. I hope you can do a post on potential new technology. As in devices that may not be consumer level products from a clean UI perspective but actually innovate in terms of what they can do. As in Under Armour getting into the market may be big but there really seems to be nothing new from a tech perspective there.

  25. Idelacruz

    Hi Ray
    Any new about epix? Could you had the opportunity to ask garmin?
    Thanks a lt Ray
    Regards
    Isaac

  26. Thomas H. Kokholm

    hi Ray,

    do you plan to dwell on the release of Ambit3 Vertical from Suunto?

    Assuming that there will be no further released som Finland (Ambit4) this season?!?

    BTW: thank you for the constant flow from CES.

  27. Idelacruz

    Hi Ray
    Any news about epix?
    Thanks a lt Ray
    Regards
    Isaac