We are at the beginning of a new era as personal computing is being redefined the technology around us. Becomes a part of who we are! This is the wearable revolution! We have put technology on our bodies to make ourselves better to find a way to kind of move through the world and extend ourselves. Looking around for a name, we came up with wearable computing.
One of the big talking points this year is wearable technology. 2014 is said to be the year of wearable tech electronics that are physically attached to your body. But what good is that? Why does anyone even want that?
Well to put a super long story, super simple and short; in 2007, Apple reinvented the smartphone with the new iPhone and made lots of money from that. Now everyone has a smartphone, so companies are scrambling to find the next big thing, the next big paradigm shift that will make the first good one a lot of money and they all seem to think it’s going to be something wearable. I guess it seems kinda cool you know having glanceable information without taking your phone out of your pocket. Not that much effort to do that but a watch is already perfect for that you can just glance and look at the time without having to unlock your phone.
But what if it was something more? What if it was something a little smarter than that? something that could actually show information from your phone or your phone’s notifications or what if to guess the point we’re in a couple months or years you can take out your phone and say “okay, Google now set a timer for 10 minutes” and in exactly 10 minutes a timer goes off on your wrist.
Attempts are being made to imitate the success story of the iPhone over this “wearable” realm and we’re seeing a lot of weird stuff but hopefully this list will be very different by the end of 2014. So, here are the top five best wearable options we have right now in the reverse chronological order.
5: Qualcomm Talk SmartWatch
Now this is a really interesting device for a lot of reasons but number one is definitely its display it’s called a Mirasol display. It’s a pretty new technology that Qualcomm started, that gives it incredible outdoor viewing ability. It’s got great viewing angles, great brightness. It looks like basically paper and you can do it outside no matter how the reflections are shining off of this thing. So, the display is really interesting about it, but the thing is it’s not really a problem.
Qualcomm isn’t a hardware manufacturer. They don’t down to the entire device. They do the inside of those devices. So you can see that with the talk to design is not good. This is not an easy to use SmartWatch. its not intuitive, the UI isn’t good and it’s all sorts of confusing and redundant bits about it and that would be the downside of owning this thing and its also a big learning curve and it’s at the end of the day not really that much faster than just taking your phone in your pocket.
4: Samsung Galaxy Gear
Another take on the SmartWatch and this one I have to say is easily one of the classiest and best looking smart watches out there. It has an incredible battery life that lasts about two days with regular use and it’s got whole different watch faces and its overall just really appealing, it’s probably the best looking accessories Samsung makes to any of that stuff.
The huge downside is that this is an accessory to a Samsung product. It only works with less than a dozen devices right now and if you don’t have one of those dozen that Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the Galaxy s4 or one of their new tablets or something like that it’s really just becomes a watch not a smart watch. Just the watch face! You can’t do anything and even if you do have one of those new Samsung devices a lot of notifications aren’t really full featured, it will only tell you that you have a new notification, you should probably check your phone now. What’s the point in that if you’re gonna take out your phone from your pocket anyway
Over all, the gear’s very confined devices feels very throttled by the fact that Samsung wants to have control over the entire experience.
3: Google Glass Explorer Edition
One of the only editions on this list that’s not on your wrist and honestly it’s a really interesting technology it’s essentially a heads up display to real-life. You constantly have a display and a camera across your face and every time you wear it, you have that sort of instant access to actual notifications from your iOS or Android device.
The fact that you’re wearing it in your face means to have to keep it lightweight, so it doesn’t really have a very large battery. But the real downside is that when you’re wearing it, that makes a lot of people uncomfortable when you have a camera on your face of a time when you’re looking around at people and some people just don’t like it at all. It makes them uncomfortable. And also its 1500 bucks which is no downside but that will hopefully be changing very soon when this year 2014 we’ll see the full consumer edition Google glass because this explorer edition is a limited edition product in But essentially this is a beta test.
We are going back to the wrist here but the Fitbit force is actually really cool and an awesome product it’s essentially a fitness band and it does everything under the moon. It tracks whole bunch of things about your daily activity and about your nightly activity. Works with any iOS or android device Bluetooth 4.0 and above. And there are plenty of other fitness bands; there is a Nike+ Fuelband, there’s the LG life band touch which do similar things that this Fitbit does but in different combinations but the Fitbit really does everything it does all of the other things during the day when you’re dieting and the steps.
It consists of an activity tracker, calories burned and even a sleep timer and a sleep activity tracker so all these different things put together in one package that lets you look back upon your day and see exactly what you did and try to beat the goals and beat your friends goals. you can sync up and accumulate points is a whole bunch awesome stuff that goes along with this wearable tech. It doesn’t necessarily deliver information to you, it doesn’t necessarily talk to your phone or give extra glancable value but when you take it off again today and plug in your computer there is a whole lot awesome stuff that goes on.
1: PEBBLE Smart Watch
There’s one company that’s taking a much focused approach to all of this. It’s the only company on this list that only does wearable tech and that’s PEBBLE. This company PEBBLE started with a very successful kickstarter project where they did the first iteration of the Pebble Smart Watch and me recently at CES a share of the second iteration called PEBBLE STEEL.
More importantly, we also now have a very specific App Store for PEBBLE because all the third party sites that were doing anyway and Pebble has the advantage of being able to focus a hundred percent dedication on this SmartWatch concept. because that is all they do and then the PEBBLE doesn’t necessarily do everything under the Sun. It won’t do every little function at the Galaxy gear does with the camera or the taking and receiving voice calls but the things that it does do it does very very well and that’s what PEBBLE prize themselves in. The new apps that they’re putting together will allow even more functionality with the device because of all the things that people can build in to apps now to talk to your smartphone so glanceable information will probably be at its best on a pebble.
By the end of this year we’re gonna see WAY more wearable stuff from big companies like Apple, like Intel and maybe even Google might make a SmartWatch with the same interface as Google glass which I think would work out really well so keep an eye on all of the stuff we write about here on TECHOBOOK.