Where are they now? Looking back at the hyped-up wearables of last year’s CES

hyped up wearables of last years ces moverio bt 200
This is going to be a big week for wearables. Sound familiar? You’ve definitely heard that one before. It’s exactly what we were saying this time last year, as we were ramping up for CES 2014.

But what became of all those promises? As we prime our immune systems for the convention onslaught, let’s take a quick look back at what was unveiled at last year’s event and, more importantly, who delivered and who didn’t.

Pebble Steel

Pebble Steel Watch front left angle

While practically all of the major manufacturers at CES last year bumbled around one another to demonstrate just how committed they were to the emerging wearable space, the little hardware startup that practically defined smart watches for so many early adopters simply waltzed right in and defined the conversation. What’s more, it did so without any profound changes to its existing device. The Steel wasn’t a revolution, it was just much nicer looking.

The smartwatch delivered when it was released later that same month. While practically every review led with a mention of the fact that the device didn’t actually offer any new functionality, the wearable still managed to score high marks in just about every review, earning a place as one of the most celebrated wearables of the year, yet another remarkable feat for such a fresh-faced company. Then the expected happened: The Apple Watch was finally made official in September.

Pebble spent the rest of the year refining the watch’s firmware and celebrating a growing number of available apps. Toward the end last month, the company also embraced Google’s wearable push by bringing Android Wear notifications to its ecosystem. But for all of its accomplishments, Pebble hasn’t yet been able to strap its watches to the wrists of mainstream consumers — a goal that becomes all the more distant as companies like Google and Apple enter the fray. Once again, Pebble needs to make another big show at this year’s CES if it’s going to be heard about the noise.

Garmin Vivofit

Garmin-Vivo-push-displayGOAL2

Garmin continued to leverage its GPS prowess with fitness devices last year, offering up its first band in the form of the Vivo. When reviewers finally got the Vivo on their wrists, it scored pretty decent reviews, owing to accurate and comprehensive stat tracking, plus some bonuses like remote music control aimed at fitness buffs. Since then, however, the reigning king of the fitness band, Fitbit, has given the company a run for its money with the Charge, and even Microsoft has thrown its massive weight into the fitness band arena.

Sony Core

Sony Core smartband colors back

Sony opted to focus its CES wearable conversation inward with the Core, a tiny chip it said was destined to serve as the “heart” of its wearable play, signaling a fresh start for a company that had already been dabbling in wearables for some time. The announcement led to plenty of goofy “hands-on” photos with a small, nondescript internal component and little else, as the company wasn’t exactly forthcoming with details. Sony focused on its comprehensive Lifelog app to differentiate itself.

The SmartBand SWR10 arrived several months later to little commercial fanfare, and critics seemed to deem it an imperfect step in the right direction for a company rethinking the way it does fitness tracking. Perhaps CES 2015 is the year the company really delivers on its Core promises.

LG Lifeband Touch

LifeBand FB84 BM on wrist 12

The first crack at a fitness band from this established consumer-electronics giant failed to make a huge splash beside the countless wearables that debuted alongside it last year. When it arrived months later, the results were fittingly lackluster.

People seemed to want to pat LG on the back for giving the whole fitness-band thing a shot, but a poor display and uncomfortable design no doubt sent the company back to the drawing board. Hopefully this year’s model will make the company more competitive, now that it knows precisely what not to do.

Epson Moverio BT-200

Epson_Moverio_BT-200_2

A surprise entry from a company more closely associated with printers and projectors, Epson’s Moverio BT-200 took an unexpected swipe at Google Glass. At $700, the augmented-reality glasses are, if nothing else, considerably cheaper than what Google has offered up. And when reviewers finally got their hands on units in August, the consensus was that they were pretty OK — for a first-generation product with no perceivable consumer application. If you haven’t heard of the things since those heady days of CES 2014, it’s for a good reason — these Epson goggles aren’t really for you.

Razer Nabu

Razer Nabu fitness band

Another wholly surprising entry from an outlying manufacturer, gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer took a brisk power walk into the world of fitness bands with the Nabu. The product was much more notable for who made it, than what it actually brought to the table. However, the real reason you didn’t hear much about the product all year was due to the fact that company didn’t actually release the product until early last month. A visit to Razer’s home page, where you still can’t buy on, will confirm that even the company wasn’t putting too much stock in its new fitness wearable.

Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Music

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Wearables

The North Focals smartglasses help you rock out with new Spotify support

The North Focals are a pair of smartglasses with a whole lot to offer. They not only look pretty good, but they allow you to get directions, check upcoming items on your calendar, and more. Here's everything you need to know.
Outdoors

When it's not keeping you dry, Gore wants to keep Silicon Valley innovating

The Gore Innovation Center in Santa Clara, California is designed to help tech start ups to create innovate new products that integrated Gore-Tex fabrics and other materials in wearables, health devices, and more.
Wearables

The ultimate golf watch isn’t a smartwatch. It’s Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Golf

Forget golf smartwatches, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is the ultimate timepiece to wear out on the links. It's the world's first mechanical golf watch, and will keep score for you throughout the game.
Wearables

Army uses modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 for ‘real-life game of Call of Duty’

The U.S. Army gave CNBC an exclusive look at its modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset. The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, provides various functions for training and combat.
Wearables

Now is the time to pick up and wear a discounted TicWatch smartwatch

Mobvoi is running a promotion on two of its desirable smartwatches, the TicWatch C2 and the TicWatch Pro, where you can get 20-percent off the usual price. This brings our favorite, the C2, down to just $160.
Wearables

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch: Is more expensive better?

Samsung has finally launched its latest smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. The device is aimed at sporty people and is clearly well-designed. But is the new device better than Samsung's flagship watch?
Deals

Smartwatch deal: The Apple Watch Series 3 just dropped to $199

Now’s a perfect time to grab the last-gen (but still awesome) Apple Watch Series 3. It's a great wearable for those looking to hop into the world of smartwatches, and this limited-time deal makes the Series 3 even more attractive.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit Charge 2 see price cuts from Walmart and B&H

Save around $50 on the Fitbit Charge 2 from Amazon and more than $100 on the Apple Watch Series 3 at B&H Photo Video and Walmart. These may be slightly older models, but they're still excellent fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Health & Fitness

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker continues to blur. To help narrow the field of the best fitness watches, we sifted through what's available and curated a list of devices worthy of a spot on your wrist.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for April 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.