Two big updates for smart tech; multiple outlets are reporting that Apple has stopped manufacturing the original HomePod and will be, "focusing our efforts on HomePod Mini". Meanwhile, OnePlus has announced that it will release its first smartwatch on March 23rd along with the new OnePlus 9 smartphones.
The discontinuation of Apple's original HomePod:
The HomePod is considered by some experts as one of the best quality wireless speakers in terms of quality that is available on the market. The HomePod was launched in 2017 to mixed reviews. Though many praised it for its sound quality others pointed out that rivals Amazon and Google's smart speakers were in short, smarter. Siri has since become more capable but is still not at the same capability as her rivals.
Apple typically does not announce the discontinuation of a product unless there is a replacement for it. Back in 2005, Steve Jobs announced Apple would be discontinuing the iPod Mini and replacing it with the iPod nano. Will the HomePod receive a replacement or will the HomePod mini become the only smart speaker in Apple's product line?
The HomePod mini has also received praise for its sound quality and is one of Apple's more affordable products priced at $99. An argument can be made that since Siri is cloud technology, her capabilities can continuously be improved via software upgrades, Apple may have made the right decision by focusing on audio hardware and ensuring its smart speaker sounds good.
OnePlus will finally launch a smartwatch on March 23rd
While one tech company is trimming its product line another is looking to expand it. OnePlus has announced that it will launch its first smartwatch on March 23rd. OnePlus first made an attempt at creating a smartwatch back in 2016 but later canceled development. CEO Pete Lau said last year that, "wishes do come true" as he told fans that a smartwatch was in development. Will the wearable introduce any new features is still unknown as there is no information available regarding the watch at this time.
The company has launched a promotional contest with the watch as a top prize and has asked users to submit 'wrong only' answers for what features the new watch will have. You can learn more about the contest here.
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Wearable tech in 2021
Over the past year, smartwatches have gained prominence as health monitoring devices during the pandemic. The big players in the area are Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. However, companies like Huawei and OnePlus are also making an entry. Towards the end of 2020, Google acquired Fitbit. The European Union has approved the deal however it is still under scrutiny in the United States. The deal is expected to get approved in the U.S in 2021. Users can look forward to a fully Google-supported Fitbit smartwatch.
Along with watches, users may also see a return of augmented reality glasses. Reports suggest that Google, Facebook, Samsung, and Apple are all working on their version of AR glasses.
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