News / Science & Technology

Taiwan Tries On Smart Watches, Bracelets, Glasses at Tech Show

A general view shows booths at the 2014 Computex exhibition in Taipei World Trade Center, June 4, 2014.
A general view shows booths at the 2014 Computex exhibition in Taipei World Trade Center, June 4, 2014.
Ralph Jennings
 At one of the world’s biggest computer shows this week, developers are conceding they have reached a technological plateau with new tablets or PCs. So to stand out, some 60 exhibitors at Computex Taipei displayed wearable electronics, such as watches and bracelets.
 
Flagship Taiwanese PC maker Acer surprised this year’s Computex Taipei computer show with the display of a smart armband. The device, codenamed Liquid Leap, can relay text messages, access music on smartphones and calculate calories burned during exercise. Acer is known globally for PCs but has struggled financially over the past year and wants to diversify.
 
Manuel Linnig, the company’s Europe spokesman, sees risk as well as opportunity.
 
“I know wearable is very fashionable at the moment. We’ll have to see how sustainable it is, so we’re trying it now with one device to test the market. Is it also something that will still be there next year? But now is the moment to try because people are open to trying that. It’s new and there are enough players offering devices so people that start to understand and learn about it,” said Linnig.
 
Acer’s armband will go on sale this year, packaged at first with a mobile phone at prices to be announced. Cross-town rival Asustek Computer and local smartphone developer HTC plan to release wearables by year’s end.
 
This week, smaller developers dominated the showroom floor. GuiderCare of Taipei showed watches that can detect falls and send out messages, ideal for elderly people living alone. The developer will ship 10,000 watches at the end of June and plans to charge about $300 for each one. Martian Watches, also of Taiwan, showed $129 watches that send voice commands to tablets or smartphones. They’re on shelves now in Taipei. A government research agency came out with glasses that allow remote interaction, through hand signals, with computers up to 200 meters away. There’s no price tag or release date yet.
 
Prices for wearables remain relatively high. Many devices cost more than low-end smartphones with the same functions and more. Prices may exceed $1,000 as major brands such as Apple and Sony look to release their own watches packed with applications, possibly this year.
 
Analysts say most of the two-year-old technology is still full of bugs. Devices lack must-have applications, power-saving batteries and fashionable looks that will bring in consumers. Many are aimed only at sportspeople, such as cyclists, who cannot easily check mobile phones during workouts. Most require smartphones or tablets as base stations.
 
But in Taiwan, a world hardware center, developers believe they know how to grow. Huang Han-tang, an official with the Computex organizing body, said wearables are a logical extension of other electronic devices.
 
He said hardware has gone from desktops to notebooks and in the past few years shifted to handheld devices, tablets and smartphones. In the past two years, he said, Taiwan developers have discovered those devices can be made even smaller and lighter. Now, everyone thinks the most easily attainable goal is to move from handheld devices to wearable devices.
 
Market research firm IDC says just 9.2 million wearables will ship this year, but by 2018 the market will grow to 112 million units.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs