Kudos to Regina Dugan for thinking outside of the box about wearable tech, but I feel like the two examples she demos in this article are way too sci-fi-creepy for your average person to ever get comfortable with. An e-tattoo? Yeah, that doesn’t feel 1984-y at all.
It sounds like Motorola wants to get into wearables (ingestibles? inscribables?) in a big way, but flashy demos of experimental tech like this aren’t really what are going to make or break the wearables space.
I feel like, and feel free to disagree, Tim Cook gave a much better view of the way that the wearable computing market will truly emerge in the mainstream. Cook was wearing a FuelBand, far and away the most popular piece of modern wearable tech on the market. The FuelBand isn’t particularly versatile or powerful, but what it does, it does well.
It’s also pretty fashion-forward and discrete, and unlike pretty much every smartwatch, it doesn’t look like it was designed by a 20-something engineer.
Things we wear – computers included – are dictated by a social awareness of what others wear, aka what is fashionable. Cook stated rather aptly that it will be the 10-20 year olds who are so obsessed with appearances and brands that decide the fate of wearables in the market.
If there is to be a market for general purpose wearable computers (something I am still far from convinced of), I think it will be guided far more by form than function. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I know what that form will be. Kids are wearing some weird, ugly shit these days.
It might be on the wrist, it might be around the neck, or as Google hopes, on your head. But don’t be surprised if the world’s first really popular wearable computer is something you think is “dumb, closed, and overpriced.” Because if you think people are too concerned with the brand and aesthetics of their smartphone, you’re in for a real treat when they start buying gadgets that could clash with their outfit.