A new market is rising: wearable technology

Between the eighties and nineties we were not used to call it “wearable devices” but we wore it anyway.

Do you remember the Casio with the integrated calculator?

wearable techIt was probably one of the first smartwatch with integrated alarm, clock, calculator and timer. All in one! Children went crazy showing up their hyper-tech gadget at school and many of them used it as a secret weapon to cheat at the exams. It looked like a futuristic tool, something strange and funny at the same time. “Why the hell should I wear a calculator?” or “Looks like a wrist telephone!”. These were the reactions of many people in that period.

To be honest, we don’t really needed it but we started using it. Than it came the time of the movies were people start talking with their watches, remember Michael Knight calling KITT in Knight Rider and James Bond? At the time that technology seemed to be unreal and today we are really passing that line feet together.

wearable watch

Wear it..and run!

Sport has always been a field where people needed to keep hands free and to wear devices to track records and progress. That’s why it was the most common sector where you can see a combination of watches, heart rate strap and pressure meters.

polar wearable watches

Because of the lightness and strength, these type of wearable devices had a great success among pro athletes and amateurs. So, following this trend big names as Nike started investing in the business of the wearable technology.

At the beginning just with the Nike+ standalone kit and the sensor to fit in inside the shoes: the tool was simple to use and tracks your trainings via mobile phone. Later, just using the app Nike+ Running that, with the smartphone GPS, is able to track and and compare all your runs. Furthermore you can share your workouts and challenge your friends. ( The free app is here: Nike+ Running)

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But Nike didn’t stop to shoes sensors and mobile applications. The sport company created a line of smartwatch to enforce their user experience and branding embracing the wearable market with watches, armbands and other gadgets.

An Example is the Nike+ Sportwatch..

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Or the Nike+ FuelBand

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Samsung Holds 71 Percent Global Smartwatch Share in Q1 2014  

Sports ins’t the only one that started to invest in the wearable technology. The giant Korean Samsung started seeing in the smartwatch industry a new business opportunity. The Gear series is the first smartwatch technology combined with a smartphone. Now you can make calls, take pictures, read and send message, record audio and much more just from your smartwatch. I mean, the watch itself cannot be used without a Samsung smartphone at the moment but it’s a great idea for a wearable device that it’s also designed for everyday usage.

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Samsung also designed a smartwatch specific for sport activities tracking your heartbeats without any additional band. With the brand new GearFit you can run but also have a personal trainer keeping up the piece of your training. It’s light and clean with almost the same functions of the Gear 2.

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Ok, you might say, “where is the news”? It’s a year and more we already have this devices and nothing seems changed. I don’t see a lot of people with smartwatches in the streets and wearable devices are still a small market compared to the smartphone.

Since Google started fascinating the entire world with Glass there are many people out there saying that nobody will start wearing “that kind of thing” all day long and it will never replace smartphones. Well, Glass are an integration and not a replacement and apparently there is something bigger going on in Google. At the beginning it was just a unique model but now, Google starts to adapt Glass to different frames.

This is a great opportunities for companies, as Luxottica did, to break into the wearable industry. In fact the italian company (owner of brands as Ray-Ban and Oakley) will design, develop and distribute new versions of Google’s Web-connected eyewear.

“Google has opened up a new potential opportunity of use of glasses,” said Andrea Guerra, chief executive of Luxottica, in an interview.

Will it be the only one thing changing the game and make the wearable market explode? Not only..

In fact, the same Google, has recently announced a new operating system called Android Wear. This brand new OS, designed specifically for smartwatches and wearable devices officially brings Google into the wearable industry as it happened for smartphones with Android. Also Motorola and LG have announced their first Android Wear smartwatches. The first one coming out later this summer.

In the last annual I/O developers conference in San Francisco, Google has introduced the LG G Smartwatch and the Samsung Gear Live Smartwatch, two of the first web-connected smartwatches to run on Android Wear. They will be available for pre-order via the Google Play store starting Wednesday afternoon.

On the other side there’s Apple. The Cupertino’s tech giant is making its fans waiting for the long-awaited iWatch. During the last WWDC Tim Cook didn’t mention any smartwatch and wearable device but he introduced the new iOS 8 that lets imagine the next Apple’s moves. In fact among the new OS functions are: Health and HealthKit, HomeKit and other extensions that fit into the wearable scenario.

Also the new Apple’s commercial is all about wearable and connected devices and iOS 8 will potentially be something very close to Android Wear in the next future.

Is this enough to seriously start thinking about a new rising wearable market? I believe it is, when Big names such as Apple, Samsung and Google move their steps into a business is never a bubble. Now we don’t see a smartwatch as something necessary, but I’m sure we (or they) will change our mind very soon.

Want to see some cool wearable devices? Check out TheWebMate “Wearable” section!

Check out the Wearable selection