For the second year in a row, wearable technology was a major theme at CES. However, anyone expecting a new wearable product that was significantly different from the current mainstream, or new killer use case, came away disappointed.
This holiday season will be the first major test for the smartwatch category. One year ago the category was immature, with only a small handful of devices in market; the majority of which were not from known brands (the exception being Samsung’s initial Gear watch). Awareness of the category was also fairly low, with only 36 percent of the U.S. market showing any awareness whatsoever.
As I sat with the rest of the world watching Apple's annual Fall product announcement, I could sense in those I connected with on Twitter a feeling of excitement as Tim Cook finished the first part of the program and led into his "one more thing". Apple certainly did not disappoint. If NPD Connected Intelligence's Eddie Hold asked Apple to amaze him and I've asked companies to push the smartwatch beyond what we've seen thus far, then we both got our wish. The Apple Watch fits what a smartwatch should be- a nicely designed fashion accessory and a piece of technology (that does more than relay phone notifications to your wrist).
I’m a believer in wearable tech. I love these devices (and wear them), but very few manage to deliver anything close to my hopes and dreams. The smartwatch segment in particular has dashed my hopes every time. The products still do not wow me. Why? Because the smartwatch doesn’t add any real value: it doesn’t do anything that my smartphone doesn’t already handle with ease. Rather, it’s just another gadget (and a rather bulky one at that) that I need to remember to charge at night.
Wearable fitness devices have come a long way in the past year, moving from being a simple step counter to a device that helps to track calories, heart-rate, and more. But the next “step” forward will be far more exciting - taking these devices from a singular experience to one that pulls in more data from all around us.
I fear I may be obsessed with my wearable device, or more accurately, by the data that it generates about my daily activity.
As day two of Mobile World Congress comes to an end, the key themes of the show have become very apparent. While the obligatory plethora of devices have launched, and network congestion has been discussed, an overriding focus has been on health and fitness in one shape or another.
The wearable technology market is at the beginning of what could be a long and stunning bout of innovation, with the potential to over-shadow the smartphone’s accession. But before the OEMs start popping champagne corks, let’s focus on the “could” part of the above sentence. While wearables have created a strong level of buzz, many of the upcoming products are already looking awfully familiar and repetitious.
Less than two years after making a bold foray into the smartphone manufacturing business, Google has announced that it is selling Motorola to Lenovo. The deal, announced yesterday, sells Motorola for $2.9 billion, compared to Google’s initial purchase price of $12.5 billion.
What did we all do before the smartphone arrived in our pockets? I’m pondering the question while standing around at Newark Airport, on my way to pay homage to consumer tech if all forms at the annual CES. The flight is, of course, significantly delayed thanks to a combination of weather and “hey, it's CES what do you expect.”