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Wearable Computing Round-up

April 17, 2013

The “Glassholes” – see below

Yesterday BI Intelligence released Wearable Computing: From Fitness Bands To Smart Eyewear, A New Mobile Market Takes Shape.  It’s a great roundup of the space that includes growth projections, categories, current consumer awareness, and barriers to adoption.

Overall consumer awareness is still low.

Speculation on the future market for wearable devices is a confusing mix of skepticism and hype.

Different categories of wearables are at different stages of consumer adoption. One category of devices — fitness and health-oriented smart bracelets — have already gained wide acceptance among consumers.

  • Despite tech press and crowdfunding enthusiasm for products like the Pebble smartwatch, it is not clear that the consumer mainstream will take to Internet-connected watches.
  • Google Glass and other eyewear devices are still moonshots — albeit with great potential in areas ranging from advertising to gaming and photography.
If you are in or near the space, this report is worth a close look.  If not, here’s the report’s bottom line:
  • Smart fitness bands and medical bracelets are well on their way to becoming mainstream connected devices. They excel at a variety of applications — from glucose monitoring for diabetics, to tracking the workouts of fitness buffs — and are already generating significant revenue for manufacturers and app developers.
  • Smartwatches are more obtrusive and likely won’t have anywhere near the mass appeal of smartphones and tablets. That said, smartwatches that double as fitness bands — basically, fitness bands with a time display — will likely do well.
  • Until designs improve, it’s unlikely that consumers will take to eyewear devices like Google Glass, given their strange appearance.
  • Augmented-reality eyewear does hold out the promise of a new environment for immersive marketing and ad campaigns. We expect large advertising and media organizations to push Google Glass and similar devices.

Agree with the conclusions or not, some very smart –in fact, visionary– investors are making big bets on Google Glass.  Click here and here to read about the “Glassholes”.  Like we first saw with the iPhone ecosystem, followed by Android, as useful apps become available, mobile eyewear will offer transformative experiences and the ‘look’ will quickly be irrelevant or perhaps become a cool status symbol.  And designs will evolve rapidly.

One area of profound concern associated with Google Glass, its terms of service and the legality of who owes the content of public spaces.  This piece breaks the issue down in all its glory.  It aint pretty.

We are watching this space with eager anticipation.  Are you?  What do you think?

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