From phones back to watches: a reverse for the better? Nowadays, it’s simpler than ever before to manage our lives in the palm of our hands. We update our calendars, keep track of birthdays, social media accounts, emails… we’re even able to watch our favorite television shows and movies on a screen no bigger than our palm.
We remind ourselves of when and where we have to be and why and our smartphones help us get there. Now that wearable technology is finding a niche in this industry, we have the questions about why we need Google Glass or #smartwatches. Do we really want our tech on our heads and on our wrists? Can we really manage our lives through a pair of glasses or smart watches?
We Are What We Wear
A nascent version of the smartwatch, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, was a large, loud, and boxy device that appealed mostly to technology fanatics, not someone looking for a user-friendly experience. Nowadays, companies are attempting to create a more fashionable and more wearable gadget that will appeal to a more general public. The Moto 360 and LG’s Android Wear devices are smaller, less bulky, round like an actual watch, and have yet to be released. Will these devices fly off the shelves or gather dust?
While the smartwatch began as a fitness band and evolved to include a heart rate monitor and trackers for time, distance, speed, and other levels that could better inform an athlete, or someone trying to lose weight, about their performance, it’s speculative as to whether the Moto 360 or upcoming smartwatches will support health tracking. Smartwatches that benefit fitness and health run along the lines of the The Skully Helmet: technology used to change lives for the better. Will these smartwatches improve the lives of their users or act as superfluous gadgets that are more annoying than useful?
Friend or Foe?
Wearable tech that has real life applications, instead of just providing an extension to a device we already have, seems a lot more profound. No longer are mobile phones solely limited to calling and texting on-the-go. With today’s technology, we’re able to create and share our daily lives with the rest of the world and watch our favorite television shows and movies– all at the touch of a screen. Whether that be actually creating home videos or building an entire website, technology has come a long way and helps us stay connected with the world without skipping a beat.
A Silicon Valley startup, Skully Helmets, was named the best wearable tech company at a technology contest at South by Southwest on March 9th. The Skully Helmet is an “augmented-reality” motorcycle helmet that allows the wearer to see behind him without having to turn his head around. The helmet has a 180-degree rear-view camera that projects images onto a transparent headset display, a bit like Google Glass except in a helmet, so the driver never has to take his eyes of the road in front of him.
While some airlines, like Virgin Atlantic, are attempting to use Google Glass to improve the experience of their frequent fliers, major companies like Google are creating practical applications for smartwatches. SlashGear, a site dedicated to highlighting the latest trends in technology, predicts that the union between Google and Fossil will produce fashionable smartwatches that will be much more successful than those that have been sitting on shelves already.
Connecting Technology with More Technology
There’s a lot we can do with the technology we have today, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is happy. If we can connect our phones to our television sets (like the Apple TV and the iPhone remote app), why not connect our watches as well? While some smartwatches offer features that can set timers to capture images and video, it’s another thing to be able to actually view these memories on a device such as a smartwatch, which is exactly why many tech enthusiasts are looking for Apple to keep things ticking (pun completely intended).
While there are still many rumors about the development of Apple’s “iWatch”, most of them are trending in the health industry, spreading talks about Apple planning some kind of health and sport-focused device that will help predict heart attacks and other health issues. Then again, these are all just rumors and no one is 100% sure about the final concept.
Can these major companies play their cards right in creating the next best thing in wearable tech? Will receiving notifications, text messages, and other alerts on our wrists be more helpful than annoying? In a world where the paths of the internet and our real, physical lives are converging more and more often, is an iWatch the next big step? Whether or not you’re in love with the idea of a phone for your wrist or not, you’ll have plenty of smartwatch options to choose from this year (not if you’re on a budget, though).
Camille McClane is an writer and online entrepreneur living in Southern California. She holds a strong passion for technology, and often enjoys sharing her knowledge about it through her writing. She is honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to KeyWestVideo.com.