Other new devices announced at the show

Other new devices announced at the show
HTC Vive.

HTC Vive

The biggest surprise of the show was not that HTC was making a virtual reality headset, but that it was partnering with Valve, one of the world's biggest game developers and distributors.

The Vive headset will support Valve's upcoming Steam VR platform. HTC also said it wants to develop a content platform of its own, but did not reveal any details.

The developer's edition of the HTC Vive will use two 1,200 x 1,080 displays that refresh at 90 frames per second. Instead of offering only 3-D images, the headset offers 360-degree views and what HTC calls full-room view, which enables you to walk around virtual objects using a Steam VR base station to track a user's position.

Users can also use a pair of HTC-made wireless controllers to move objects and manipulate the environment.

The developer's edition will be available later this year, while a consumer edition will go on sale by the year-end holiday season.

HTC and Valve say that more details will be revealed at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco this week.

HTC Grip

These days, it seems that every company is offering a fitness tracker, but HTC has no interest in helping users analyse their fitness levels or keep tabs on their health, simply because it is not that type of company. But it does know how to make hardware.

This explains why it is partnering with American sports apparel maker Under Armour to make the HTC Grip. The fitness band will work with an updated version of the Under Armour Record fitness app. It is there, with Under Armour's expertise, that users will keep their fitness information for evaluation.

The existing Under Armour Record app already works with a variety of fitness trackers. Record will access the information directly from the HTC Grip, instead of getting data recorded by each app associated with existing fitness trackers.

The HTC Grip is one of the few fitness trackers to have a built-in GPS. This allows you to leave your phone behind when you go cycling or go for a run. The battery is supposed to last 21/2 days, or five hours if the GPS function is being used.

It will retail for US$199 (S$271) when it is released, first in the United States and then the rest of the world.

LG Urbane LTE

LG's Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE are quite different, and it is not because the Urbane LTE is capable of making phone calls and handling SMS messages.

The LG Watch Urbane is an Android Wear device that shares the same hardware specifications as LG's G Watch R smartwatch, though it remains the more sophisticated and better-designed device.

The LG Watch Urbane LTE runs on webOS, the same operating system as LG's smart TVs. LG has done a commendable job in hiding the OS under layers of skin, and the result is a smooth user experience with more intuitive controls - at times - than Android Wear.

While both are crafted from metal and leather, the Urbane LTE is heftier and has three buttons for controlling the watch. It also looks more like a luxury timepiece and has better hardware and more connectivity features. It is easier to key in information on its 1.3-inch screen than on other smartwatches, but the effort needed for typing still brings up the question as to how anyone can find the experience satisfactory in the first place.

Huawei Watch

It was only a matter of time before China's handset makers started offering smartwatches.

Few, however, expected Huawei to come up with an elegant timepiece that can compete with - or even surpass - rivals such as the Motorola Moto 360 or LG G Watch R.

In a gold, silver or black finish on a stainless steel body, the Huawei Watch will go on sale in June. The price has not been announced.

With a 286 PPI 1.4-inch Amoled display, built-in heart rate monitor and 4GB of internal memory, the device is no slouch in the hardware department, and should give the competition a run for their money.


This article was first published on Mar 4, 2015.
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