For those not up to date with tech lingo, a wearable refers to a piece of technology that is worn on the body. This includes items such as smart watches, virtual reality goggles, and fitness trackers. A smart phone is not technically a wearable, being that it is held in a pocket, as opposed to being attached directly to the body.
A Bluetooth headset, however, worn on the ear, is a wearable. For the most part wearables have not exploded onto the tech scene as quickly as many had hoped, with items such as the infamous Google Glass more or less failing rather spectacularly. The Google Glass is very impressive technology indeed, and does offer a remarkably futuristic level of interaction. But it simply did not catch on.
This brings up the question as to whether wearable technology really is the future, given that many trends seem to be heading in that direction. Virtual reality has been released and is already making waves, and since VR is being predicted as the next major step in technology, it seems like wearables may just become a part of everyday life. Or will they?
Why Did Google Glass Fail?
There was a time when Google Glass was front-page news on every tech website on the Internet. An amazing, frankly science fiction style device that was to be worn on the face, complete with a little window that dropped down over an eye. It was straight out of a dozen cheesy 80s movies. Many were not really sure what to make of it, and that is more or less where the fate of Google Glass wound up.
1. What Did It Actually Do?
For all its bells and whistles and face invading design, Google Glass never really had one clear function that it was supposed to serve. It was more or less a condensed version of a smart phone, working via a voice-operated system.
The wearer could make calls, receive calls, use Google Search in much the same way it worked on a phone, and even see essential information on the little flip down screen. But, the problem was, a smart phone with a Bluetooth headset could already do all those things. What was Google Glass but a rather overly dramatic version of a Bluetooth headset?
It seems, more than anything, Google Glass was supposed to turn it into some idea of what a futuristic device was meant to look like. Almost as if someone watched a few old science fiction movies, binged watched Star Trek, and came to the conclusion that Google Glass was just what the world wanted. Sadly, it turned out, it was not what the world wanted. One can’t help but feel sorry for the people who spent years of their life developing the device.
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2. Aesthetically Unappealing
Let’s just face it; Google Glass was an unappealing thing to be wearing on your face. Sure, part of its appeal was supposed to be that it would make the wearer stand out in a crowd, looking like a mysterious cyborg, but it turns out, unsurprisingly, that most did not want to look like a mysterious cyborg. The device was way too conspicuous to go unnoticed, and even hardcore tech nerds did not want to be seen in public with a little piece of glass over one eye.
In this case, it seems, Google forgot that tech is supposed to fit into a person’s life easily, not shake up the person’s life and dictate how they are seen in public. The only way Google Glass could have survived is if it sat off the face and went more or less unnoticed, perhaps disguised as a pair of spectacles. But it’s way too late for that now.
3. Health Concerns
Before Google Glass was even in the beta stage, rumours were spreading that wearing a device that emits radioactive waves on your face was not safe. Yes, it has been proven again and again that phone radiation is well below the levels that can effect humans, but this didn’t stop people from being concerned. After all, why would a mega company like Google want to kill of its millions of consumers?
Wearables That Work
For the most part, however, the general public seems to be fine with wearables, as long as they don’t make the mistakes that Google Glass did. A Bluetooth headset does what it is supposed to do; be a hands free version of a phone. It can receive messages, make calls, even play online poker, and it doesn’t demand to take up half your face while it is doing that. Smart watches are also fairly popular, and it isn’t surprising that they are simply a fancy watch, and people are used to wearing watches. In other words, wearables can be the future, as long as they remember to fit into people’s lives, and not fight to be part of them.