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Yo-Kai Watch Is Engineered to Be Your Kid’s Next Obsession

Caption: Nintendo

Caption: Nintendo

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MOTOACTV successor: TomTom announces Spark GPS sports watch lineup, two with music support

tomtom-spark.jpg (Image: TomTom) While some runners prefer the sounds of nature while running, rock and roll motivates me to go faster while keeping my mind off the miles going by under my feet.

TomTom announced its new Spark GPS series. These four new devices all provide GPS tracking, 24 hour activity tracking, automatic sleep tracking, Bluetooth for connecting to your smartphone, and 5 ATM water resistance. Two models provide an integrated heart rate monitor and two models provide 3GB of storage for offline music playback.

Back in 2012, I was banging out the miles with the MOTACTV GPS running watch with integrated music player. I still have it, but the battery only lasts a couple hours and it’s not easy to get your GPS data from the old MOTOACTV system into RunKeeper or other modern tracking service.

Few others have tried to provide this same GPS capability with offline music support since the MOTOACTV set the bar. Adidas has one, but it has horrid review ratings and is not a device I would consider. I thought my Sony SmartWatch 3 might replace the MOTOACTV, but I found the GPS a bit limited and there is still no compelling running application for Android Wear.

Lately, I’ve been running with my Apple Watch on one wrist and the Polar V800 on the other. The Apple Watch has no integrated GPS so I’m just using it to provide music while the V800 provides extremely accurate GPS tracking. I’ve also been known to run with my smartphone, but as they continue to grow in size this becomes more of a hassle and running with a single wrist-mounted device is the most convenient. As you can see, I have yet to find a true MOTOACTV replacement, but that may soon change.

Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director, TomTom, stated:

We know that music plays an important role when it comes to motivating and improving sports performance, but relying on a smartphone is all too often an uncomfortable experience. The unique combination of an integrated music player, built-in heart rate monitor, 24/7 activity tracking, multi-sport functionality and GPS in TomTom Spark makes it easier than ever for people to get more from their workout, and improve their overall fitness level.

I’m still hoping to see Garmin, Suunto, or Polar release a GPS sport watch with integrated music, but at least we finally have TomTom stepping up first to offer this support.

The four new models from TomTom include the following:

TomTom Spark: Base model GPS watch that provides GPS, daily activity, and sleep tracking.TomTom Spark Cardio: Adds an integrated heart rate monitor to the base model.TomTom Spark Music: In addition to the features of the base model, 3GB of storage is available for offline music. TomTom Spark Music + Cardio: Top-of-the line model that includes 3GB of storage for music and a heart rate monitor.

The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, the one that might finally replace my MOTOACTV, is priced at a reasonable $249 and will be available for pre-order on 1 October. Pricing for the other models has not yet been announced, but they should be available to order in mid-October. In the past, there was a difference of $100 between the models with and without a heart rate monitor.

TomTom will also offer up two retail packages of the Spark Music models that includes a set of headphones. An update scheduled prior to the end of 2015 will add smartphone notifications to all four and continuous heart rating monitoring to the two watches with an integrated monitor.

TomTom previously used a heart rate monitor with proven Mio technology so it remains to be seen how accurate this new monitor will be. I personally don’t mind running with a chest strap if it provides more accurate data so if that saves some money I may choose that option.

I enjoyed using the previous TomTom Multi-Sport Runner, but desktop software stopped working for me so I gave up on it. Fortunately, TomTom makes it easy to export data to various services, including RunKeeper, and I am hoping that its new desktop software is improved.

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The Apple Watch Is Now A Hulu Remote Control

A number of mobile app publishers are still trying to figure out their strategies related to Apple’s first wearable device, the Apple Watch. While many opt for background apps that push relevant information when needed, Hulu’s entry into the Apple Watch space instead sees the company turning the Apple Watch into a remote control that lets you control video playback across a number of streaming media players, including, of course, Apple TV.

In Hulu’s case, the new Watch app lets viewers play, pause and rewind shows (jumping back 10 seconds) by tapping on their wrist, plus toggle captions on and off. For now, the app works with Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, and the PS3 and PS4. On Apple TV, users will first have to launch a Hulu stream on their iPhone, and then will be able to use the Watch app as a remote. For the other platforms, the app will connect to any existing device that’s already streaming Hulu.

Using the Apple Watch as a remote control of sorts isn’t an entirely out-of-left-field idea – after all, one of Apple Watch’s built-in apps is a music app that lets users control their favorite songs and playlists right from the watch’s small screen.

Apple’s app makes sense as it allows you to make quick adjustments to your music or its volume while exercising. But Hulu is apparently betting on the fact that Watch owners want to use their Watch as a remote control – instead of say, the one that came with their device or even Hulu’s own iPhone app – when viewing content on the big screen.

Whether or not Hulu viewers actually do want a remote control on their wrist remains to be seen. That being said, the launch is indicative of the level of experimentation we’re seeing from today’s companies who are now attempting to figure out how to make an Apple Watch app a part of their more comprehensive mobile offerings for consumers.

Even Hulu admits that its app is more about testing the waters with regard to Apple Watch.

“The Hulu application on the Apple Watch is the perfect opportunity to explore the Apple Watch OS and experiment with ways to integrate the Hulu experience into the popularity of wearable platforms,” a company blog post noted.

Notably, Hulu also let an intern build the Apple Watch app – which is nice, of course, but also may speak to the level of importance it has assigned to its Apple Watch experimentations.

As for me, I’m waiting for a future when Apple Watch apps become smarter, more location- and context-aware, and more personalized to my needs. For example, it would be great if a Watch app like Hulu’s could be automatically triggered to launch the remote control interface when it detected I was streaming Hulu on my big screen TV via a supported media player. It could then push notifications about what to watch based on what content is about to expire, or what new episode has just arrived from a favorite show. And it would let me simply tap on my wrist to play back that recommendation. (A girl can dream, right?)

But hey, I guess a remote control app is a good first step.

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Top iOS news of the week: Happy watch owners, dominating smartwatch space, iOS 9 beta 2

It hasn’t been out very long but the Apple Watch has a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate. This tops that for the iPad (91 percent) and the iPhone (92 percent). We don’t know how many Apple Watches are in owners’ hands but we know they really like them.

Source: Appleworld Today

In a move that makes sense, Apple is now blocking app reviews from those running the iOS 9 beta. Apps often have trouble when running beta software, and there’s no reason to let them leave reviews. Developers should be happy with this move by Apple.

Source: TNW

In typical Apple fashion, the Apple Watch is already grabbing significant market share. Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates the Apple Watch already accounts for 75 percent of the smartwatch market. This is significant as the watch hasn’t been sold very long and had limited retail outlets until recently.

Source: CNET

Apple has released the iOS 9 public beta 2 for those of us testing the next big version. It typically has a lot of minor tweaks along with bug fixes and performance improvements.

Source: Cult of Mac

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Your Apple Watch Will Soon Control Your Volvo

Caption: Volvo On Call app in the Apple Watch. Volvo

Skip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article. Volvo On Call app in the Apple Watch.Volvo On Call app in the Apple Watch. Volvo

Premier Inn integrates Apple Watch with its customer app

The latest company to join the Apple Watch app bandwagon is Premier Inn, whose customers can use an Apple Watch to control the heating, lighting and entertainment systems in the chain’s showcase hotels.

The Whitbread-owned hotel chain launched a range of hotels last year known as Hub by Premier Inn. Hub hotels are based in city centres and provide digital services.

premier-inn-290.jpg

The one in Covent Garden, London, now enables guests to control settings in their room via an Apple Watch. The service is also available via Google Pay for Android users.

The app was designed and developed by mobile banking software company Monitise in its Monitise Create innovation unit. The supplier is best known for its mobile financial services apps, but a recent strategic review has seen the company focus on growth.

Monitise is expanding beyond its financial services bedrock. In January 2015, Monitise put itself in the shop window, announcing that it could benefit from being part of another business.

But in March the company decided to continue operating as an independent company rather than seeking to be taken over. The company’s chairman Peter Ayliffe said he was confident that the business is at a point in its development where the prospects for delivering long-term value are excellent. 

“The feedback from third parties re-affirms that we have a uniquely strong technology platform, a talented and highly respected management team, and a deep well of support among staff, partners and clients for what we are seeking to achieve,” he said.

Companies are hurrying to develop applications for the Apple Watch following the extensive publicity enjoyed by the launch of the wearable device.

Being first to market allows organisations to capitalise on first-mover advantage and show they are ahead of the pack, sending a clear signal to the market and customers that the company is an innovator. Among those that have already launched apps for the Apple Watch are Ocado and Booking.com.


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