As wearables catch on, Amazon cashes in with new online store

Product reviews and comparisons so far mainly feature smartwatches, activity trackers and wearable cameras

Amazon.com launched a Wearable Technology online storeon Tuesday, another testament to the growing interest in smartwatches and other wearable gear.

Amazon so far is primarily including activity trackers -- usually worn on the wrist -- and wearable cameras and smartwatches in the Web storefront. However, a quick search also turned up several units of Google Glass on sale in white or gray at more than $2,070.

The online retailer boasted it has the largest selection of items from top brands that include Samsung, Jawbone and GoPro as well as from emerging brands like Basis and Misfit and upcoming devices from Narrative and Bionym.

The new store has a learning center with product videos and information about device compatibility and product comparisons. There are also use-cases to help customers figure out the right devices. An Editor's Corner will have industry news, device reviews and other information. One current entry features an article by Gizmodo on machines that run on body heat through a process called the thermoelectric effect.

An upcoming product on the site is the Narrative Clip, a small device that can be clipped on a pet's collar or a person's shirt that takes pictures from a 5 megapixel camera and provides GPS information to help sort the photos on a separate smartphone app.

Amazon's Buying Guide offers a short narrative on various topics, including what a smartwatch can do and how it works, and warns buyers to take care when purchasing to be sure it has a version of Bluetooth that is compatible with their current or future smartphone.

John Nemeth, director of wireless and mobile electronics at Amazon, said the online site was created because Amazon customers are "increasingly coming to Amazon to shop and learn about these devices."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

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