They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, don't they? Well, if you subscribe to such whimsy and wonder, you're wrong. Dead wrong, actually, because the pinnacle of any year is quite obviously in early January, as the tech world descends on Las Vegas and offloads fresh wares at CES.
For the 2019 instalment of the world's biggest tech expo, foldable phones, car innovations and, probably, a TV with so much resolution it'll make your eyeballs wilt are set to be on show. But who cares about any of that stuff? What you're here for is the real meat – the wearables.
Read this: The smartwatches we're expecting in 2019
Well, to give you a preview of what may land during 8 – 11 January, we've taken a trip to the rumor mill, listened in on some industry whispers and formed some educated guesses at who could be this year's big wearable players at CES 2019.
Garmin has been a consistent presence at the Las Vegas show, with the recent highlights being the Fenix 5 unveiling and, last year, presenting its first device with music playback in the form of the Forerunner 645 Music.
But with the Fenix 5 Plus range released over the summer, and the company's streaming exploits growing through the Vivoactive 3 Music, which area will the company address first in 2019?
Well, despite already gifting us with the Vivosmart 4 just a few months ago, it could be time for the company to replace its headline fitness tracker, the Vivosport, pictured above. Released back at IFA 2017, the timing feels right for Garmin to perhaps unload its first tracker with music capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 3, after all, is newly released and garnering much of the space's attention.
Fitbit is far from a lock to unveil anything new at CES, but it's still certainly one to watch. This year marked somewhat of a financial turnaround for the tracking giant, with the Versa smartwatch and Charge 3 fitness tracker helping pull it out the mud.
Will it look to keep the momentum building early in 2019? As we say, probably not, but it's also not the craziest suggestion that we could see a successor to the Ionic or the Alta HR. And if there's no new hardware, there's still the possibility there'll be something fresh in the form of software.
The company has recently revealed its Sleep Score feature, and we imagine it won't be the only thing to harness the SpO2 sensor packed into its latest wearables next year.
As we know, Fossil Group is already Wear OS' biggest backer, helping build smartwatches for everyone from Armani to Michael Kors. And after it also signed deals with Puma, BMW and Citizen in 2018, it's about time we started seeing some of the first efforts.
It would be somewhat of a surprise to see all three announce devices as early as January, but previous years have shown us that the company isn't shy about unveiling goods that won't launch until later in the year.
And even if we don't get smartwatches from Fossil's new partners, there's a very real chance that existing partners jump back on the hybrid movement. This was an area that Fossil neglected somewhat in 2018 – don't rule out new smart analogue pieces on the CES show floor.
We know, we know, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is barely a few months old, but that doesn't mean Samsung won't offer a significant presence at CES this year.
However, just don't expect that to involve bonafide new hardware. While there's a small chance it updates its fitness tracker line – something that didn't happen at IFA back in August – it's actually much more likely we see wearable projects from the company's C-Lab program.
Last year saw seven Samsung spin-offs showcased – including the RelÃºmÄno smartglasses pictured above – so perhaps we'll see an update on some of these.
Virtual reality needs a bounce-back year in 2019, and HTC is also out to prove it offers a superior platform to Facebook's Oculus. So, surely we see something new at CES?
Well, despite the HTC Vive Pro only released a year ago, it never really felt like the next generation of VR. And though the standalone Vive Focus was finally released, we still don't seem to have a firm plan from the Taiwanese giant regarding the middle ground – high-end, standalone VR.
Will we see the rival to the upcoming Oculus Quest? We should hopefully know more in the coming few weeks.
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