The Wearable Tech Wars Will Leave No Survivors

December 13th, 2013 | Articles, Food for Thought, Job Search, References | No Comments »

wearable tech smart watches

Google Glass, smart watches, smart rings, and other variations of wearable tech are being hailed as the future of the industry, but their fate on the market is still a long way off from being determined. As tech companies continue racking the brains of the mad scientists that work on the lower levels of their R&D compounds, media pundits are busy sounding off on which technology (and company) will come out ahead in the end. The Internet is being flooded with bloggers preaching atop soapboxes, companies debuting new designs, and comedians creating offbeat parodies of wearable tech gone wrong.

If you’re not a tech blogger, an industry expert, or opulently wealthy you’re probably wondering just what the heck you are supposed to do with one of these devices? So far, the allure seems to be nothing more than a gimmick.

Wearing down the competition

The war between tech companies will undoubtedly reduce the number of wearable tech hardware as lesser devices succumb to failure. What will be left are a few key devices that the market deems worthy of survival. It is then that wearable tech will face its true competition: the smartphone.

The smartphone is only getting more popular, and tech companies are still pouring a ton of money and effort into innovating new models to lure consumers. Short of giving up completely on these endeavors, wearable tech is not yet poised to become the future.

Is the solution wearable tech?

The average consumer has a strong desire to stay connected virtually every second of their day, but they only requires one device to do so. That’s why tech companies have combined cellular phones, MP3 players, cameras, GPSs, and Web Browsers into a single nifty device that fits nicely into your pocket.

Years ago most consumers had either a desktop computer or a laptop that suited their web browsing and computing needs. The tablet and smartphone have since replaced them by offering portability, ease of use, and plenty of mobile applications to keep users entertained. Cloud computing furthered the mobile cause by eroding the need for a hard drive to store data. In short, people had a solution to a problem (i.e. the desire for on-the-go computing and web browsing).

Tech is solely based on solutions, and products are always the answer. The problem with wearable tech lies in its inability to offer any solution to a particular problem. As of now, it serves only as a device to briefly amuse certain technophiles or as a symbol of class to satiate the self-worth of others. Neither solution is widely attractive to the average consumer.

And the winner is: the smartphone

Smartphones are the solution to the desire for connectivity, and consumers will not part from them very easily. An iPhone 5s costs anywhere from $199 to $399, no small price to pay for constant connectivity. What wearable tech fails to take into account is the possibility of many consumers refusing to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone plus the cost of smart glasses, watches, and rings that solely offer the same solution in a slightly different fashion. Until they offer something outside of mere panache, they are at heavy risk of going the way of 3D movies.

Perhaps wearable tech will only survive in a niche market, if at all.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of Janitors via Flickr