MWC round-up: Wearables everywhere

Last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yielded a nice crop of wearable technology, including the innovative Bluetooth headset/smart wristband combi from Huawei (which according to booth staff was their big crowd-puller this year) and a business-focused smart glove with RFID from Fujitsu.

LG's LifeBand is heavier than expected ...

LG’s LifeBand is heavier than expected

There was also a wearable surprise. We got our hands on the LG LifeBand, which was far heavier than expected. “No it isn’t,” argued the on-booth demonstrator. You can guess our answer.

The LG band has a three-quarters design, and slops around like an expensive bracelet … which is a disappointment. At least it has an OLED display.

Sony's SmartWear concept was on show

Sony’s SmartWear concept was on show

Across the hall, Sony was showing design prototypes for its SmartWear line, including some attractive design studies which made the band look much more like wristwatch, or a fashion accessory.

This was a good reminder that Sony is trying to go beyond the idea of having “just another wristband” by integrating the movement tracker into a bigger eco-system. Its booth provided a glimpse into the future of smart wristbands/watches.

Our thinly-veiled attempt to gamify the Fitbit challenge ...

Our thinly-veiled attempt to gamify the Fitbit challenge …

Smartband maker Fitbit also drew large crowds to its booth – with its MWC Challenge to walk/run the greatest number of steps in a single day.

In the most-popular example of gamification, Fitbit’s challenge set pulses racing and tempers rising, with a number of comments on the Fitbit forums and Twitter about how the winners must be cheating.

WTW tried enlisting one of those Maneki-neko waving cats to up the daily step rate but unfortunately its arm wasn’t strong enough to move the Fitbit.


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