After a troubling year, it’s time to hope for a better time in 2021. We will still face significant challenges, but latest devices could make our lives easier. The pandemic brings more focus on health and fitness monitoring, which is easy to achieve with sophisticated smartwatches. Major manufacturers are pushing their devices to serve consumers’ needs. Here are new features on wearable devices that you should expect this year:
Better LTE support
While smartphones are transitioning to 5G technology, new smartwatches will get better LTE connectivity this year. Oppo Watch and TicWatch Pro 3 LTE offered 4G connectivity last year. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100+ chipset for smartwatches ensure better LTE support. New Wear OS smartwatches will have Snapdragon 4100+ this year and they should be less reliant on the smartphone for data access.
Better SpO2 implementations
Almost all new smartwatches in 2020 had SpO2 sensor, from the Apple Watch Series 6 to the affordable Huawei GT 2e. Wearers can get fairly accurate assessment about oxygen levels in their blood. This sensor is usually useful for wellness and fitness purposes. However, prolonged blood oxygen issues could indicate certain health issues, like sleep apnea. People who have respiratory diseases, like asthma and COVID-19 could also have abnormal blood oxygen levels. It’s time for manufacturers to make SpO2 sensor more functional, by applying it for various health monitoring.
Body temperature measurement
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the importance of temperature measurement. Although it doesn’t confirm any possible health issue, higher body temperature should be addressed immediately. It could be a new menstrual phase, infection, COVID-19 or just common cold. Amazfit GTS 2e and GTR 2e include the ability to track body temperature in real time. When body temperature goes above 37 degrees Celsius, it could be a cause of concern. We could expect that Samsung and Apple will bring body temperature measurement into the fold.
With proper software enhancement, smartwatches could be effective personal trainers. These wearables can collect data when we are doing indoor workouts, running, swimming or riding. With the personal trainer, data can be made more actionable. The personal trainer app could advise the most suitable exercises, intensity and duration, depending on recent performance. Other indicators like heart monitoring and sleep quality can be factored in too. It will be convenient for users if there’s an app that can interpret the data and provide recommendation. It won’t replace a human trainer with real-life experience and knowledge, but it should add the overall functionality.
Although some smartwatches could last for more than a week on a single charge, others can’t last more than a couple of days. Apple Watches, Samsung smartwatches and many Wear OS models have short battery life. The simplest solution is to provide fast charging for smartwatches. Because smartwatches have 250 to 300mAh battery, it should be much faster to top them off with fast charging feature. Samsung and Apple should make huge strides in improving battery life, because their smartwatches are not long-lasting.