You’re getting wearables, so be happy
In addition to Apple, Archos, Basis, Casio, Emopulse, Epson, LG, Martian, Nike, Pebble, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Samsung Electronics, Sony, and ZTE launching new smartwatch wearable devices in 2014, don’t forget the fitness units from Adidas, FitBit, Fraunhofer (FitnessSHIRT), iRiver, JawBone, and Nike, as well as the glasses from Google, Ion, Meta, and Opinvent, Rocketchip, and an expected entry from Samsung.
Few companies (two maybe, Apple and Sony) can introduce new products consumers haven’t asked for. We see the wearable surge at CES similar to the 3DTV surge, the 4K UHD surge, and the mobile DTV surge—attention-getting novelty items
for first adopters with discretionary income and Facebook likes concerns.
Watches have been on the horizon for a while now, but except for the sub-segment of fitness devices, there’s no measurable demand or problem solved. We want one, we might even spend $400 to $1,000, but I bet you won’t be able to find one at CES 2015.
NFC finger or key rings (to unlock doors, for example) do solve a problem and have been successful—can you even buy a car today without one?
Wearables aren’t new; think of all the flashing LED things we’ve had like rings, necklaces, shoes, skates, and hats. But they are accessories and don’t communicate with anything other than your eyes (and brain if you have any migraine or epilepsy issues).
The other sub-segment is the more practical wearables like medical alert devices, and health measurement devices have been around for a while. A new one, Vigo, collects information on users’ blinks and body movements and alerts them to when they’re becoming drowsy, and Dayton Industrial offers a low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 heart-rate chest belt.
The medical devices, and their users, are benefiting from the cost, size, and power consumption reductions acceler¬ated by the surge and urge of questionable consumer devices.
Last, and not least, are the immersive wearables like the Avegant Glyph Virtual Retinal Display and Oculus VR.
Harris Interactive surveyed 2,577 U.S. adults online between September 18 and 24, 2013, and found Americans are interested in wearable technology such as fitness bands and smartwatches but not so much in headsets and eyewear. You can see the survey results here.
And for the best collection I’ve seen of smart, and clever/weird watches, visit RocketNews 24.
One of the best ways to spot a failed fad is to note when you get or give one of them as a gift. As soon as you get your first smartwatch gift, that’s your signal that it’s over. This holiday season you could find Sony smartwatches for $81 with free shipping and gift wrapping. I almost bought a couple for my kids. Instead I pledged money to the Vigo waker-upper for those long nap-inducing drives to Silicon Valley.
Now the ironic question that comes to mind is, will anti-drowsy headset devices be illegal on California’s and other states’ roads as other wearables are (or are being
considered to be by various legislators)? And will Starbucks and Red Bull lobby for their banning?