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Are We Already Weary of Wearables?


For a while now, wearable technologies have received attention from the media and attracted scores of fit minded and curious customers. A Fit Bit can monitor sleep habits, activity levels, and distance traveled, but the Nike + Fuelband provides similar information and comes with a colorful display. If those don’t suit you, try the stylish Up by Jawbone, or the Vivofit by Garmin with its large, easily read display, or the more affordable Bowflex Boost.

While wearables resemble past waves of smartphones and tablets, this tech surge is different in some surprising ways. First, where is Apple? For many, Apple’s iPhone set the bar for smartphones in 2007. Then in 2010, the iPad set a similar precedent for tablets and quickly penetrated boardrooms, bedrooms, classrooms, and hospitals. Speculation around an iWatch is ubiquitous among techies. Why is Apple so late to the game? Is the wearables market already saturated?

Second, some wearables have recently attracted attention because they can be found cheap online – resold by those who no longer want them. A consulting firm out of Massachusetts published a report in January claiming that half of U.S. consumers that have purchased a modern activity tracker no longer use it and that a full third stop using the devices within six months of receiving them. Do wearables too closely resemble New Years Resolutions – bubbles of healthy changes easily forgotten?

Maybe American demand for wearables was overestimated, or maybe the right product has yet to debut. It will be fun to watch and see the future of wearables.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.