It often happens that things that were created yesterday for a certain group of people engaged in a particular activity turn out to be in demand among the rest of the population and become massive. So at one time it happened with fitness bracelets, which were originally created for professional athletes, and today are used by a variety of people, often having nothing to do with sports.
Moreover, the founders of this direction have long either ceased to exist, or in the process of leaving, or they were still able to occupy a small niche in the production of professional devices and left the mass market.
Today in this area such Chinese companies as Xiaomi and Huawei are ruling the show, creating inexpensive universal devices with a set of features that cover almost all the needs of the mass consumer.
We have already discussed the purpose of these devices and the scenarios for their use, so I will not repeat myself, I will only note that most often these are not sports.
Today I would like to discuss the prospects for the further development of this class of devices and briefly touch upon the emerging crisis of ideas in this area using the example of the fourth generation of fitness bracelets Xiaomi Mi band expected by many.
So what do we know about the 'four'?
Firstly, it will be the usual design of the third generation in the form of a sloping capsule made of glossy black plastic.
Secondly, these will be replaceable straps similar to the third generation, which means that after the device goes on sale, Chinese factories will quickly flood the market with millions of options for every taste and wallet.
Third, it will finally be in color OLED – a display that (hopefully) won't fade in the sun. Amazfit Cor does not count, since its firmware has not yet been finalized, and it can be considered a bracelet Xiaomi insofar as.
Fourthly, Mi band 4 will most likely use Bluetooth 5.0, which should positively affect the already excellent autonomy of the device (with a discount on the color display, of course).
Fifth, NFC is expected to be fully operational, which will enable support for the Mi Pay contactless payment service. However, about contactless payment, these can only be rumors, and again there will be only support for paying for public transport in China.
Be that as it may, this is a minor update, not a full-fledged new product.
Nothing is known about the much-desired music control feature. But this question, along with the question about NFC, is one of the most frequently asked on thematic forums dedicated to the current generation.
I would also very much like to be able to read all messages in their entirety, without limiting the number of characters, and not in part, as it is implemented now.
Also, nothing is heard about the possibility of 'out of the box' and without dancing with a tambourine to install your dials (today, this requires you to carefully read the forums and use third-party software). We are not talking about a few pre-installed watch faces, but a full-fledged editor.
Well, from non-critical wishes – it would be great to get, instead of a button that awakens the bracelet from sleep, a programmable button to which one or another action can be assigned.
Is it possible to get all the same in the current generations of devices from other manufacturers or in the model range of the same Xiaomi?
Alas, in such a form factor, today there is no implementation of all the announced functions and capabilities. Yes, someone can argue that there is the same Samsung Gear Fit, which is not much larger than the Mi band, but gives much more possibilities and is, in fact, not just a fitness bracelet, but a full-fledged smart watch.
But, unfortunately, for all this splendor you have to pay with low autonomy for a frivolous 3 days, even in conditions of severe battery savings, which, for example, makes such a function as an alarm clock practically useless.
Considering the quite achievable 30 days for Mi Band 3, few are willing to put up with a 10-fold decrease in the device's operating time. Among these few is your humble servant, who used both Gear Fit and Fit Pro in due time, and as a result opted for a simpler, but much more autonomous Mi Band 3.
What about alternatives from other manufacturers?
In this regard, one of the main disappointments for me was the release of the most inexpensive Samsung fitness bracelet (not counting the old Charm) Galaxy Fit E, which, in addition to its limited capabilities compared to competitors, turned out to be deprived of good autonomy.
We also failed to make friends with bracelets Huawei, which, despite their excellent appearance and cool OLED – displays (in versions with a color display) turned out to be very thoughtful and unhurried in terms of work with notifications – the software was very crude and problematic, which forced some of the owners to sell devices and switch to products from other manufacturers.
That is why expectations from the fourth generation of Mi Band bracelets are so high, and that is why I want to get at the disposal of a device familiar in terms of size and form factor, equipped with new, much expected functions while maintaining the current level of autonomy. However, judging by the leaks and rumors, these wishes are not destined to come true again.
In general, fitness bracelets are a very hot topic for fans of this class of devices. After all, you very quickly get used to a small electronic assistant on your hand, and when you happen to be left without it, you feel uncomfortable.
It would be all the more important to see in the new generation such expected functions and capabilities that are lacking today, but which for some reason are in no hurry to implement manufacturers.
Despite the pessimistic expectations, there is no doubt that the Mi Band from Xiaomi will repeat the success of its predecessor and become the most popular fitness bracelet again, claiming a place in the hands of millions of buyers around the world. But whether it will be on my hand, like the Mi Band 3 is now, is a question that, according to rumors, I will receive an answer within the next month.
Well, and, according to tradition, a question for you, dear readers – what functions and capabilities do you expect from the fourth generation of Mi Band, and are you expecting at all? Or maybe the choice has long been made in favor of another device of this type?