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Niantic Developing Wearable Tech

Niantic, the developer behind the wildly successful augmented reality app Pokémon Go, has delayed development on its Pokémon Go Apple Watch app. Back in September, Apple and Niantic announced that the game would be made available for Apple Watch by the end of 2016.

While details are hazy, some are speculating the delay has to do with an upcoming Niantic hardware development: its own wearable tech device called Evolution.

The upcoming wearable tech reportedly includes five touch-sensitive displays according to 9to5mac, along with a maximum four days’ worth of battery life and the staple feature of all successful wearable tech: fitness tracking. Niantic’s first wearable hardware model is slated to contain the augmented reality offering called Ingress, the game on which Pokemon Go is based.

While Pokémon Go was an immediate and massive success, making $200 million in the month after its release, player interest largely waned in the following months. Ryan Fuoco, a category analyst at the NPD Group, has said that the first smartwatch OS compatible with Pokémon GO Plus will mean big business for the smartwatch industry and the brand that implements it.

“Such an app would provide a clear use case for smartwatches, something that is missing for many consumers today, and would certainly help boost ownership levels,” Fuoco said. “While (presumably) the allure of chasing Pokémon … will fade over time, other smartwatch use cases will become apparent to this base, leading to lower device churn.”

Niantic notably released a wearable device for Pokémon Go back in September — though nothing as advanced as the upcoming wearable hardware. The device, called Pokémon Go Plus, connected to users’ smartphones via Bluetooth and notifies wearers of nearby players and Pokémon via a flashing LED light.

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