The ideas surrounding these new wearable technologies are brilliant and revolutionary; no doubt about that. But are they practical? Will they catch on mainstream? I’m having a hard time jumping up and down with a resounding, “Yes!” I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying that wearable tech is only going to catch on mainstream if it’s practical, attractive, and stylish to wear. We’re not going to strap a brick to the side of our heads and walk around town. Well, some people might, but I’m talking about “mainstream” right now…
Wearable technology is emerging everywhere: from fitness to smart watches, from smart glasses to bras. My question is, is it practical? Is this comfortable to actually wear? When you leave your house is it going to be as automatic to throw on your smart glasses as it is to throw on your sunglasses?
We have some highly innovative smart watches circulating around right now. Smart watches were also a big buzz at the last Consumer Electronics Show. But, with a 2 – 2.5 inch face, are people really going to start replacing their phones with a giant watch? I think Pebble Steel has the right idea here, they’ve taken some big complaints about smart watches (ex: functionality and appearance) and addressed both. The new styles are modeled after the look of classic men’s watches –instead of molded plastic they have used forged steel and each is equipped with a leather band in the box. That is something that I can see catching on mainstream.
There’s no doubt that these wearable technologies can be conversation starters, especially if you’re with a certain crowd; but, you probably won’t see me fashioning my Google Glass at happy hour or at the fair grounds. And, speaking of Google Glass, wearable technology glasses could arguably be the most distracting piece of technology to wear. Products like GlassUp show e-mails, texts, tweets, etc. on a display right in front of your eyes. Their design also currently resembles safety glasses.
I think that the best solution, and really only solution, for wearable technology catching on mainstream is to try to blend in by designing the products after those that people already wear. I don’t think that the technology industry should try to take on fashion and decide what the new trends are that people will want to wear. I think that they should look to what is already working, and what is extremely popular, and fashion their devices around those looks. Look at Google, they are already releasing new frames for a more fashionable look. This doesn’t mean that wearable technologies can’t be unique in their individual styles; but, let’s not go crazy. Your technology is innovative enough.
Meanwhile, I think we still need to ask ourselves –are a majority of people going to wear these new technologies even if they look a bit more mainstream? Is wearing Google Glass going to be like wearing a Bluetooth ear piece? You know, those awkward moments when people don’t know if you’re talking to yourself or the voices in your head? Maybe these, or at least some of these, products will become the new norm. The new sliced bread. I’m not sure. What do you think?