At the South by Southwest Interactive festival, the annual geek gathering in Austin, Texas, a new Google gadget was the talk of the town – literally. Google's "talking shoes" crammed a tiny computer, sensors, speakers and a Bluetooth wireless controller into a pair of Adidas that shout at their wearer when they aren't moving around enough.
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Google's latest venture into wearable technology was more an attention-seeking gimmick than a serious new venture. But with the search giant ploughing significant resources into Google Glass, it's another indication that Google is serious about moving from the digital to the physical – plans that seem to include a smart watch, too.
The biggest brand today in the wearable technology market is not a technology company at all. Nike's Fuelband is the best-known wrist-based gadget, in a market still dominated by start-ups such as Fitbit, Kickstarter projects such as the Pebble and no-brand Chinese suppliers on the Alibaba marketplace.
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The launch of smart watches by tech giants Apple, Samsung and Google would jumpstart the wearables market – and it seems that each of them intends to do so. Apple is widely rumoured to be working on an 'iWatch' and a Samsung executive said this week that it has "been preparing the watch product for so long".