Wearable technology is all the rage right now. For the people that like to predict what the next big tech revolution will be, wearables seem to be a fairly solid bet.
I’m not so convinced.
Here’s the title of a bold headline from Wired Magazine: Why Wearable Tech Will Be as Big as The Smartphone. It makes some pretty decent points, but I’m still not convinced.
Don’t Take My Word For It
Just because I don’t see this being anything other than a fad and a niche category for serious tech geeks (3D TV anyone?), it doesn’t mean squat. I am no Nostradamus. Take tablets, for example. Did I see them coming? Did I foresee every household having one and discarding their PCs/laptops in favor of them?
Does it make total sense now? Looking back and realizing that 80% of the population simply uses their machines to browse the web, check Facebook, watch Youtube videos, and check e-mail?
The Future is Kind of a Bitch
Predicting what will be a smash hit and what will be a silly fad is nearly impossible. And wearable technology is one of those things that could land in either camp.
The Wired piece digs into a few fitness products that seem to make sense. They talk about fashion a little bit, and how some of these pieces might actually become accessories more so than gadgets. And they spend some time on the Galaxy Gear, which they call “impressive” and “a revelation.”
But what does the Gear do for you? It simply provides a link to your phone via bluetooth and then passes along any notifications you get on your phone. That’s kind of boring, isn’t it? And besides, I just don’t see people relegating their phones to secondary status so easily.
I’m one of those people that stands on the train platform and marvels at how 90% of the people on it are staring into their phones, in their own little world. That this happened so quickly and so intensely—EVERYONE has a smartphone now—blows my mind. And yes, I’m one of those people that shakes his head, thinks “The world is really going to shit,” and then checks his phone real quick to see if anyone texted him.
Most of the time, no one has.
So instead of staring at our phones, we’ll be staring at our fancy wristwatches? I just don’t see it.
Can you imagine if Google Glass really took off and lots of people had these in all kinds of styles that weren’t obviously identifiable as a piece of wearable tech?
That would lead to awkward exchanges like this:
Me: Excuse me, you dropped your glove
Me: EXCUSE ME, you dropped your glove
Them: I’m sorry, what? I was reading an articles on Wired about wearable tech and streaming Eminem’s new album while my buddy texted me about how the Cubs are winning it all next year.
Me: Nevermind dude.
Here’s the But
But there is one part of the article that intrigued me: the NFC Ring. It’s a regular-looking ring that has an NFC chip in it, so you can use it to do cool things like unlock your front door and pay for stuff.
Even though my phone could do all of that stuff today, that’s kind of exciting. It means you don’t have to take out your phone, unlock it, or do anything else to activate it. The ring is already doing all the work.
If wearable technology can more things like that—automatic actions that fit into our existing lifestyle without more work—then I can see it taking off.
Until then, I’m going to keep saying this one is a fad.
And that’s my final answer.