ProBeat: Wearables are gimmicks

 ProBeat: Wearables are gimmicks

It’s been a tough month for wearables. Two weeks ago, The Information revealed that Jawbone is being liquidated. This week, CNBC reported that Intel had axed its wearables division.

As my colleagues and friends know, I’m one of the biggest skeptics of wearables in the world. As such, neither of these stories shocked me in the slightest.

At the same time, though, I’m also incredibly bullish on what wearables will one day accomplish. The technology just isn’t here yet.

None of today’s wearables excite me (many concepts and prototypes do, but that’s the case for almost any space). I’ve thought about this for a long time, and the reality is that wearables simply don’t do anything that I wish they could.

I want a device that can truly accomplish what my phone can’t. I don’t care for a wearable that can tell the time, make phone calls, send messages, run apps, and count my steps.

I don’t want a shitty phone on my wrist. Nor on my face.

Google Glass Explorer Edition relaunched this week as Enterprise Glass Edition. I’m happy to see that Google has found a niche for the product, but it’s depressing the company has put the dream of prescription glasses and contact lenses with AR functionality on the back burner.

I want a device that can monitor exactly what I’ve consumed and measure what I have gained (or lost) from it. I want a device that can measure how long I’ve rested and whether it is enough for the life I live. I want a device that can determine what my body really needs based on the information it gathers. That means anything from a recommendation to go for a run today because I’ve been immobile for too long or to eat a specific vegetable because I’m missing a given nutrient.

I strongly believe this is coming. But until the technology arrives, I’m not surprised that startups are folding and tech giants are looking elsewhere.

The good news is that many people do find wearables in their current iteration to be useful. Companies are clearly interested in augmented glasses, while consumers are still buying smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Indeed, IDC estimated last month that wearables grew 17.9 percent in Q1 2017. The top five companies (Xiaomi, Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, and Garmin) aren’t throwing in the towel.

As long as there is at least some demand, money will be invested in the space. And hopefully, those investments will one day pay off with a device that stands on its own.

Attached to your body, of course.

ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.

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Big Data – VentureBeat