The start of the new year means resolutions to get in better shape, so fitness trackers are among the hottest wearable devices being exhibited during the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas.
The Consumer Electronics Association sponsoring the conference is optimistic about the growth of the market for health and wellness trackers, citing research that 27 million Americans plan to buy a fitness device in the next 12 months.
"As the aging Baby Boomer population requires more health care and support, devices that can monitor their health and safety are garnering attention and growing capital investment," reads a post from CEA blogger Kelsey Pommer.
Smartphones are a part of everyday life, but wearables are still an evolving type of product with room to improve and become must-have devices. While 60 percent of U.S. adults track their weight, diet or exercise routines, only 9 percent follow them using a mobile application or online tool, according to a recent study on the subject from the Pew Research Center.
Fitbug already sells various Bluetooth-capable fitness trackers, including its new Fitbug Orb, but during CES the company announced KiK Plans, which are 12-week programs created by dietary and fitness experts to meet specific health goals. The company will sell activation cards at stores or on fitbug.com that start at $20.
The LifeTrack R415 smart watch monitors heart rate, running distance, calories burned and sleep patterns, but it also has features offered by non-fitness wearables, including phone call notifications.
The Razer Nabu also tries to blend smart watch features with fitness tracking. The result is what Razer calls a smart band, which features two LED displays: one that reads body data like sleep, steps traveled and the altitude of a runner's surroundings, and one that can send notifications about text messages and emails.
Misfit's Shine wristband tracker unveiled during CES is waterproof and useful for swimming, plus its battery lasts about four months without the need to recharge. Shine does not have complex data readouts on the device; instead, they must be viewed later on iOS products like an iPhone. But Shine's simple metal disc and glowing lights show how fashion design is becoming a growing part of making wearable tech devices.