Wearable technology has come a long way since its beginnings with the humble pocket watch—a device that provided valuable information with a quick glance. The premise of today’s wearables is the same, which is to provide important info and data with maximum speed and convenience. But instead of a singular type of data, the latest wearable tech shows an array of information such as email messages, social-networking pings, and even Google searches.
For some, wearables may seem like information overload. But for others, the promise of communicating through a smartwatch like Dick Tracey is the ultimate fashion accessory to handle a busy lifestyle. Technology and fashion companies alike are banking on the idea that many us fall into the latter category, craving an even closer connection to the people and places around us.
While the wearable tech movement is still in its infancy, some examples are already among us. Google’s smart glasses, called Glass, and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatches are already available for consumer consumption. And while there’s no data to suggest that either of these devices are selling particularly well, the sales haven’t stopped other companies from spending considerable amounts of time and money on creating more wearables.
Despite skeptics around some of these products, Google and Samsung have made it known that they’re in the wearable space for the long haul. Moreover, companies, including Intel, HTC, LG, Apple, and General Electric, are already firmly in the space or likely entering soon. And as more manufactures dive into the wearable category, more attention is being paid to design.
Motorola made headlines in March when it unveiled its first Android-powered smartwatch: the Moto 360. While the company wasn’t first to the smartwatch game, it stood out for putting an emphasis on the tried-and-true design of classic timepieces. It didn’t just provide users with data, notifications, and hands-free Google searches. The device boasted a round face, premium materials, and promises to feel comfortable on the wrist.
With an increasing focus on design and style, wearable tech hasn’t been reserved for only the tech giants. Fashion companies like Fossil are also keeping a close eye on wearables and believe that it’s the start of an entirely new business. In March, Fossil announced that it partnered with Google on its new Android Wear, a project that extends the popular Android operating system to wearables. For Fossil, it’s the perfect opportunity to help shape the fusion of fashion and technology.
“We are an innovation and design-driven company that creates watches, jewelry and handbags that our customers fall in love with every day,” said Greg McKelvey, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer for Fossil Group, amid the partnership announcement. “We believe we are uniquely positioned to develop and bring to market products for our fashion customers that marry the beauty of our designs, the promise of our brands and now the function of new technology.”
Some may continue to question the value of wearable technology, especially since many of us don’t stray too far from our smartphones already. And, there have been ethical, safety and privacy concerns raised around these new devices as well. But what remains certain is that wearable technology isn’t going away anytime soon. There are simply too many companies willing to do everything possible to see the category grow. Skepticism will undoubtedly linger, but these new wearables are likely to continue to fascinate consumers. They may also help us live our lives in ways that other devices can’t match.