Without Apple to lead the way, current crop of clumsy wearable gadgets not ready for prime time

“Despite the hoopla, wearable gadgets like wristwatches for checking your text messages or eyeglasses that capture video are unlikely to make a splash with consumers anytime soon, given the clumsy designs, high prices and technological constraints of many of the current offerings,” Noel Randewich and Jeremy Wagstaff report for Reuters. “That is the conclusion drawn by many industry executives and analysts who trolled the vast exhibition halls of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.”

“Most of the wearable products on display at the industry’s premier showcase looked like awkward attempts to shoehorn technology into new forms without an original or compelling benefit for the wearer, skeptics say,” Randewich and Wagstaff report. “Samsung’s $300 Galaxy Gear may have had the biggest launch of any wearable so far – but it was panned by reviewers.”

“Some experts said Apple may have the best chance of developing a gadget that will propel the wearable category into prime time, given its track record in consumer devices,” Randewich and Wagstaff report. “‘2014 will be more a year of attempts than of successful products. And for a lot of manufacturers it will be a matter of waiting to see what Apple does,’ said Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analyst at Kantar Worldpanel.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. The also-rans follow. As usual.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

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Analyst: ‘Cool’ Apple iWatch to arrive this year – January 3, 2014
Apple’s iWatch suffering weak yield rates due to metal injection molded chassis issues, sources say – January 2, 2014
Apple’s ‘iWatch’ to arrive in October 2014 with wireless charging, sources say – December 13, 2013
Apple to make two iWatch models: 1.7-inch display for men, 1.3-inch for women, sources say – November 13, 2013

Clueless companies race to debut stupidwatches before Apple defines the smartwatch – January 3, 2014
Jim Cramer: ‘The curtain has closed’ on Samsung’s stupidwatch – October 3, 2013
The Verge reviews Samsung’s Galaxy Gear stupidwatch: Orwellian, unintuitive, oversized, and overpriced – October 2, 2013
Jean-Louis Gassée: I hope Tim Cook had fun goading Samsung to make their Galaxy stupidwatch – September 9, 2013
Stupidwatch: Why Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is a flop – September 5, 2013
Samsung Galaxy Gear watch looks rushed, misses the mark – September 4, 2013
The Galaxy Gear stupidwatch: Without Apple to copy, Samsung is clueless – September 4, 2013
Samsung announces ‘Galaxy Gear’ watch accessory for Galaxy Android devices – September 4, 2013

18 Comments

    1. Of course you are right Thelonious Mac. The problem is not only of duplication but of software integration. How do you shoe horn Windows 8 into a wrist watch without upsizing it to handcuff proportions? How do you write code to fit into a processor that demands billions of lines of code before it even deigns to wake up to your summons?
      Apple on the other hand have an OS that can be crafted to fit into any form factor based on the fact that they own their own chip and have had it designed to accept any routines that Apple inc. need it to perform, leaving Apple inc designers (Ives et al) the leisure of designing the form factor that fits the problem being addressed.
      Until the CES attendees get that and until they stop relying on Intel, Nvidia, AMD and other chip fabricators from dictating the form factor for the solutions they seek, they will be unable to progress forward until Apple inc. grace them with a new product with which to gainfully employ their photocopiers with.
      Meanwhile, the code writing monkeys can stay as they only need peanuts and or a banana for a salary.
      @mxtn41, Apple have patented a pico projector small enough to be embedded in a wrist devize. I imagine it will project what ever info on the wrist to a wall or suitable surface so that even the most visually challenged will be able to see what ever is being projected. (The blind excepted)

  1. There are very high expectations for Apple in this market. Anything only slightly better than what we’ve seen won’t be received well. Of all the possible tech areas for them to enter, this one is the least interesting to me. I stopped wearing a watch because of my phone. I’m not going to turn around and start wearing one because of it.

    But if I’ve learned one thing over the years it’s don’t bet against Apple.

    1. I still like to wear a watch. To me, it’s also like a piece of jewelry. If it’s functional, and looks nice, I’ll probably get one. Of course I wouldn’t consider anything unless it’s made by Apple. I’m locked into the Apple ecosystem, which I’m very satisfied with.

    2. I wear a watch in spite of having a phone, for exactly the same reason that wristwatches were developed a century ago; because, unless you’re the sort of sad inadequate who walks around all the time with your phone clutched in your damp, sweaty little hand, effectively saying ‘look, look at me, everybody, I’ve got a cellphone, and it tells the time as well! Isn’t that clever!’, using a phone is far more laboured, and time consuming for the simple act of telling the time than fishing your phone out of your pocket, getting it the right way round, waking it up, then reading the time, then putting it back in your pocket, compared with just a glance at your wrist. It takes twenty times longer for me to use my phone to read the time than using my watch.
      During the First World War, men in the trenches started to wear wristwatches because of the chore of taking a fob-watch out of a pocket, opening it, looking at the time, closing it, and putting it back into a pocket.
      Using a phone as a watch is no different to some bloke poncing around wearing a waistcoat with a watch on a chain, making a big deal about pulling it out and reading the time because he really has nothing else to do with his time than lounge around.
      Also, there are plenty of places where the use of a mobile phone is embargoed, like where I work, for data security reasons.
      I still have to know the time, and I don’t use a computer very often.

  2. Another chess game of an industry trend that AAPL is about to checkmate. I have my arms stuffed with champagne, balloons, and party hats for when the game’s over and it’s time to celebrate.

    Yeah, I celebrate chess games with champagne, balloons, and party hats. There’s nothing weird about that guys.

  3. I just don’t see the attraction. Such a small screen won’t allow you to do much with it. If you get a lot of texts then you’ll likely want to reply, so having your phone out won’t be an issue, if you get very few would you really want to pay more money to be able to read them? Whatever a watch device does should really be useful in isolation, but augmented by being connected to another device. GPS, health, timing are all useful things to have on your wrist and can be used with or without a phone. I’m not the sort of person who would spend any real money on a watch, as such I’m just not going to spend hundreds to get limited functionality that I already have easy access to.

  4. It would be funny if Apple copywrited the iWatch name just to stop others from using it and to make others think they are gonna make one, so they waste their R&D money.

  5. Apple would have to sell a zillion watches to make any money and to sell a zillion, the watch would have to be revolutionary, not evolutionary.
    Between TV and watches, Apple sure has everyone busy trying to invent something.
    I still think Apple should take the existing iPod nano and taper and curve it to fit the wrist(would require expensive curved sapphire) and add some health and bluetooth stuff and call it…wait for it…the new iPod nano. They would reinvent their old category allthewhile kinda inventing a new category.
    The existing nano already kicks the butts in features of all the smart watches minus a couple of things.

    1. I tend to agree with you. The wearable device market may mature one day as the tech improves, but for now, there’s not a very compelling reason to try to produce a one-product-fits-all device for either the wrist, eyes, or forehead, nor is there any way to do so without failing in the style department.

      But if people were drawn to the device by its functionality, they might choose to wear it for that reason, rather than as a fashion statement (as many people do with their belt holsters for their phone).

      The only compelling reason to keep one of these devices close by is if it supplements the large display function of a phone. With continued miniaturization, all of the functions of the iPhone or other device except the display will be reducible to the most minimal form factor.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple chooses not to go anywhere near that market and completely delegates it to the accessory-makers, at least for now.

  6. I sure hope someone at Apple is reading. iWear is the diverse approach. You were the device on your finger, wrist, clothing, neck depending on how you want to wear it.

    The attachment varies depending on where you wear it (a ring for the finger, band for the wrist, bracelet for the wrist, chain for the neck).

    Make sure it’s waterproof.

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