Monday, January 25, 2016

Are We Ready for Wearable?

In Dec. 2014, we predicted 2015 would be a big year for wearable tech, and it didn't really turn out that way. As we noted in Dec. 2015.

In Dec. 2015, we predicted lots of news coming from CES about wearable tech, and we were generally right. There were all kinds of new wearable tech items presented, for example smart clothing of all kinds (as well as some that seemed more punchline than smart).

Our initial reaction to news from CES is that wearable tech is not quite ready for prime time in 2016.

We're not claiming credit for that insight by ourselves. In his Style section column, "Where Wearable Technology Ends Up (Hint: Not Your Wrist)," Nick Bilton looks at why many wearable tech devices have just not caught on. It's because they're ugly and power hungry, and can seem like you're wearing a fax machine on your wrist.

But Bilton says it may come down to price, that's it's hard to justify the purchase of a wearable device that offers limited value but costs as much as a smartphone. I'd agree with that but I think it's because the value, even as a fitness tracker, isn't there yet. There are too many different proprietary tracking algorithms and it's hard to interconnect. If I have a FitBit and my buddy has a Jawbone, we can't compare our workouts because there's no way to get those two devices to communicate with each other. Yet, I guess. It may be hard enough to find a workout buddy but now I have to ask my workout buddy to switch to my device. (It's perhaps not worth noting that I don't have any friends with whom I'd want to compare workouts with, but that's for another blog post.)

Anyway, worth reading Bilton's article.

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