Gadgets

Tech Tethers Dog Lovers Remotely To Their Pets

Las Vegas (AFP) – Gadgets galore are letting dog lovers stay connected to their pets even when they can’t take canine companions with them on the go.

A sea of innovations on display at the famously people-centric Consumer Electronics Show on Friday included a wave of technology aimed at those who consider pets cherished family members.

“Everybody loves their pets,” said Mike Jander of Trackimo, one of several companies showing off tracking devices that can be affixed to collars and reveal where animals run off to.

A Trackimo clip-on device, which was on display at CES, can send an alert to an owner’s smartphone if a dog ventures past a geo-fence — a designated virtual barrier — and then track the pet’s whereabouts by satellite, according to Jander.

– ‘Fitbit for dogs’ –

Wondermento, which has offices in the US and Britain, showed off a bow-tie-shaped plastic activity tracker — the Wonderwoof — that chief technology officer Joe Morsman described as “a Fitbit for dogs.”

“There are other pet trackers out there, but this is purely about the health,” Morsman said of Wonderwoof.

“This is a fun, social way to exercise your dog.”

He recounted leaving his dog at a kennel that promised four long walks daily, only to be shown by the device that the pet got only two brief outings a day.

“We now do home stays with other dog owners,” Morsman said.

Applications tailored for mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software come free with the $95 Wonderwoof bow tie.

The apps let users see if other Wonderwoof-wearing dogs are out and about. Wondermento plans to add features allowing those owners to connect with each other while out.

“We are trying to accentuate the social element of walking your dog,” Morsman told AFP.

“Wonderwoof is also very much a talking point; people stop you to ask what it is.”

Wondermento describes the doggy device as a “fashion-forward brand with a fun social element.”

The company is working on an enhanced indoor version that will use location sensing to let people know if pets are pining at a door or making unusually frequent trips to water bowls.

The company is also developing an activity tracker for cats.

– ‘Massive market’ –

“There is a huge interest in pet wearables,” Morsman told AFP.

“It is a massive market.”

People don’t want to feel they are abandoning their dogs while off at work, he said, and technology is letting them stay virtually tethered.

A Petcube camera that links to wireless internet in homes lets people not only look in on pets but play with them remotely. Owners can use a smartphone app to make a point of laser light appear and flit about in the house while a cat or dog pursues it.

Petcube also has a speaker and microphone so people can talk to pets, whether to comfort them or to stop them from nosing into trash or hopping onto counters.

Petnet was at CES with a SmartBowl that incorporates scales and nutritional information to make sure dogs get just the right amount of food.

“Most people just guess at how much to feed their dogs,” said Petnet founder Carlos Herrera. “This lets them know.”

The California company also has a SmartFeeder that lets people remotely monitor eating habits and dispense meals.

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Business, Gadgets

Wearable Tech Market Surge Led By New Gadgets

Washington (AFP) – The global market for wearable technology is seeing a surge, led by watches, smart clothing and other connected gadgets, a research report said Thursday.

IDC said its forecast showed the worldwide wearable device market will reach a total of 111.1 million units in 2016, up 44.4 percent from this year.

By 2019, IDC sees some 214.6 million units, or a growth rate averaging 28 percent.

“The most common type of wearables today are fairly basic, like fitness trackers, but over the next few years we expect a proliferation of form factors and device types,” said Jitesh Ubrani, an IDC analyst.

“Smarter clothing, eyewear, and even hearables (ear-worn devices) are all in their early stages of mass adoption. Though at present these may not be significantly smarter than their analog counterparts, the next generation of wearables are on track to offer vastly improved experiences and perhaps even augment human abilities.”

IDC said it sees smartwatch sales hitting 34.3 million units in 2016, up from 21.3 million this year. And by 2019, it expects total sales of some 88.3 million devices.

“In a short amount of time, smartwatches have evolved from being extensions of the smartphone to wearable computers capable of communications, notifications, applications, and numerous other functionalities,” said IDC research manager Ramon Llamas.

“The smartwatch we have today will look nothing like the smartwatch we will see in the future. Cellular connectivity, health sensors, not to mention the explosive third-party application market all stand to change the game and will raise both the appeal and value of the market going forward.”

IDC said in its most recent quarterly update that some 21.7 million wearables were sold in the past quarter, a jump of 197 percent.

Fitness tracker maker Fitbit maintained the top spot with a 22.2 percent market share and unit sales of 4.7 million, according to IDC.

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Gadgets

Apple Surprises The Market – Releases First Battery Case To Capture Accessory Market

In a throughly surprising move Apple announced the launch of an external battery case for iPhone 6S. Apple claims that this new accessory can extend the battery life of iPhone 6S by over 25 hours. The new accessory is reasonably priced at $99 and is available in two colors – Black and White.

Stay tuned to know more about this new accessory launched by Apple.

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