If You Wear It, They Will Come.

1/13/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments

The buzz leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show this year was that it would be the "year of the wearables."  After the success of the Pebble Smart Watch last year, everyone anticipated more wearables in more shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors.  The reality was much less boring and reading any of the post CES coverage will tell you this.

This is one issue you will find frequently occurs with tech enthusiasts.  It is likely the biggest blind spot it tech media coverage.  Early adopters often see not only the use application of new technology, but also the potential.  This is not the case with everyone else (read: most of the market).  Because of this it takes new technology a while to hit its stride, because the consumers (read: money) need to catch up.

I remember when Google Chrome came out, Google had been advertising for months that Google Chrome is the best, most fastest, most amazing browser available, but it wasn't catching on.  I mean, I was using and my friends that weren't using Firefox were using it, but it was still missing large scale adoption.  In an effort to rectify this issue, Google performed the following survey
They realized that more than 92% of people had no concept of what they were even trying to sell them.  They'd say "Google Chrome is the fastest browser!" and the response was "yes, I Google things all the time, when I'm not using Yahoo!"

In response, Google had to launch a campaign to explain what a browser was and why it mattered just so people would know the difference between Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and etc. before they could even comprehend what "Chrome is the best browser" meant.
Now, over 3 years later, Google Chrome is the preferred browser by almost half of the global population.  Now that people know the market exists and why it matters.

So, what does this have to do with wearables?  Well, just like how nobody knew what a browser was in 2008, nobody knows what a wearable is 2014, and if they do, they don't know why it matters.

Most people know about Google Glass, but all they know is that people are recording them in public with it.  Ask anyone on the street what they think about Google Glass and their answer will be about privacy, not anything about heads-up display, voice controls, or Google Now.

Enter the Consumer Electronics Show.  All the techies descend upon Las Vegas with visions of Geordi La Forge visors, Lobot headbands, and inspector gadget watches, only to find some concept drawings, "smartwatches" that accounted to a smarphone on a wrist strap at most (and an analog watch with notifications at least), a smart baby onesie, and an iterative Pebble.

Would have been more of a fan favorite than Boba Fett if he actually had any lines

While everyone at CES may be wearing Google Glass, a Pebble, and a fitbit, this is far from the norm.  The general public is unfortunately not chomping at the bit for these products yet, so they need to be introduced via products like the Martian Notifier watch.

No, its functionality isn't anywhere near Pebble's.  In the same way that Samsung has used the shotgun methot to find the market's favorite screen size, wearables also need to find a solid foothold before they can truly begin to reach their potential.  This means lots of shapes, sizes, and features will be seen until people start to buy in.
More shapes, sizes, and colors in the case of Samsung.

Anyway... I just saw the movie "Her" over the weekend.  Spike Jonze managed to present a world in which wearables, phones, tablets, PCs, and the cloud all function in this gorgeously seamless symphony of data collection, interpretation, presentation, and manipulation.  Go see it if you haven't.  It isn't only well written drama, but the tech vision is actually sound and accurate.  That is the true future of wearables.  It's a place where all of your technology is indistinguishable, because it all works together to accomplish the same tasks.

Unfortunately, the world is not there yet.  CES wasn't there this year and won't be there next year, but have faith.  The advent of wearables is just another brick in the road to this magical place in the cloud.  Until that day comes, just clutch your Pebbles and your fitbits tight.  The market will get there eventually.

or just wait for Apple to "invent" wearable technology.  People will care then.

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