Technology: Is Wearable Tech About To Take Off?

20Nov, 2013


In a compelling commercial for the new Samsung Galaxy Gear line of products, we see a cleverly assembled montage of various versions of high-tech, voice communication-enabled wristwatches, as portrayed in television shows and movies over the past several decades.

The message of the television spot, which is officially titled “A Long Time Coming,” is clear:

maxWearable technology – or “wearable tech” for short – is no longer just a figment of some science fiction writer’s imagination. It is now reality. And it is about to become commonplace.

Or, as the on-screen tagline confidently states:

The Next Big Thing is Here.

But as intriguing as this statement is, one has to ask the following question:

Is it true?

And if recent reports are to be believed, the resounding answer coming from many American consumers is something along the lines of:

Not so fast there, Samsung.

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Not just because this is advertising, mind you. In fact, recent reports show that consumers – not just in America, but all around the world – are increasingly trusting when it comes to advertising and marketing.

No, the real reason for skepticism when it comes to wearable tech is because….well, let’s let the good folks at Harris Interactive enlighten us, shall we?

A recent poll by Harris Interactive revealed that less than half of the 2,577 people surveyed are some sort of intrigued by the promise and potential of wearable tech, with 46% responding they are “at least a little interested” in “owning a watch or wristband type wearable tech device,” while 27% of respondents claimed they are “very or somewhat interested” in the idea.

When it came to “a wearable tech device in the headset/glasses vein,” the percentages in those same two level-of-interest categories dipped to 36% and 20%, respectively, among all survey participants.

Of course, responses varied a good bit among different demographics, with “Echo Boomers” (ages 18-35) and “Gen Xers” (ages 37-48) showing the strongest overall levels of interest in wearable tech – and men showing significantly more overall interest in wearable tech devices than women.

283116-tweeting-dressOverall opinions on wearable tech, then, were as mixed up as an iPod (remember those?) playlist on “shuffle” mode, but the poll demonstrated that the average American is “leaning slightly in the direction of skepticism.” The currently available devices’ style – or lack of it – probably factored in greatly here, with only 43% of respondents saying wearable tech can be stylish. Then there’s the whole matter of “working the kinks out” when it comes to any kind of new technology. After all, nobody wants to be stuck with wearable tech’s answer to the Betamax. Or 8-Track Tape. Or Giant Car Phone.

Samsung itself seems confident in the potential of Galaxy Gear, and recently claimed sales of over 800,000 since its “smart watch” launched two months ago.

And none of those poll results are likely to discourage 800-pound Technology Gorilla Google, which has been pushing and promoting its much-discussed Google Glass for a little while now. Google claims they “started Project Glass to build technology that’s seamless, beautiful and empowering. To share the world through your eyes. To get answers and updates, instantly. To be there when you need it, and out of your way when you don’t.”

The steep price point – usually north of $1,500 – for Google Glass has predictably proven to be a barrier to early adoption, leading more consumers to decide to enjoy the world on their own, without the answers, updates and wearable tech that Google would prefer they take with them. To make things  more “seamless, beautiful and empowering,” and to build its already incredible bottom line, Google has been enticing, incentivizing and rewarding consumers curious and bold enough to sign up for its “Explorer” program – otherwise known as Google Glass Explorers.

340692-google-project-glassIf you’re curious about becoming a Google Glass Explorer, by the way, just click this link here to get started.

Things always have a way of changing and evolving when it comes to life in general and technology in particular, and we’ve never lived in an era where these changes come to fast and furious as they do today. Mobile commerce, for example, is still in its infancy, yet may very well skyrocket into “mobile voice commerce” faster than you can say, “Whatever happened to Siri?”

And the same may hold true for wearable tech. Google Glass may shatter upon impact, and go the way of Mr. Glass before we know it. (Though given Google’s track record, that isn’t too likely to happen.) And, just like Mr. Samuel L. Jackson himself, wearable tech won’t slow down for more than a mere moment, and will come back better, stronger, sleeker, shinier and maybe even weirder than we ever imagined.

What do you think? Are you interested in wearable tech right now? Or are you waiting until something sleeker, chicer and more economical comes along?

Untitled-1Have you tried Google Glass out yet? If so, what do you think about it?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below this blog post. We’d love to hear from you on this topic.

Just don’t get caught driving while wearing your new Google Glasses. Especially not in California.

 

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