Wearable computers will likely be the next major wave in not only consumer electronics but also full-fledged computing solutions.
Many in the industry argue that consumers are willing to accept tether solutions, but I disagree. Consumers want things that just work. Try explaining to a 10 year-old that he can't connect to the internet when he leaves the house because he lost his Wi-Fi connection. It is not acceptable. This connectivity will be even more important going forward because despite the advancements in the silicon technology, more and more of the storage and processing will be done in the cloud going forward. In fact, the future is really a distributed computing model (the topic for next week's article).
The only question left to ask is: will consumers accept wearable computers? Those of us from the PC generation are often quick to dismiss the concept, but younger generations are very quick to adapt to and take advance of new technology. Can you image not having to carry around your smartphone anymore? No more leaving it at the restaurant, breaking the case or display by dropping it in the parking lot, or dropping it in the toilet, which I know most of us have done at least once.
The other issue is privacy. While privacy issues are already being raised with Google Glass, like with every other form of electronics, these issues will not matter to the younger generations and will slowly fade away.
Today we are still stuck with either really expensive toys like Google Glass or the holiday gift items like Fitbit that are bound for closet or drawer once the newness factor wears off in a month or two, just like the pedometer and digital photo frames.
But, wearable computers are coming and will likely be the next major wave in not only consumer electronics but also full-fledged computing solutions; we just have to wait a few more years. And what form factor they take is anyone's guess. They could be a large wrist watch, an ear piece/headset, glasses, or even integrated into your clothes in some manner.
One area to look for inspiration is medical devices. While these solutions may be more specialized and expensive, they offer a glimpse of where the technology is likely headed because of the critical nature of their functionality. But, beware of outrageous forecasts, it always takes longer for the technology and ecosystem to evolve than analysts and the industry expect.
Jim McGregor is founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research.
thank you for laugh Nicolas. I think too many people are focusing on the size of the display, with pico projects and wireless display interfaces, there will be nothing stopping users from from interacting with larger displays. In fact, your display could be anywhere. You will not need to carry it with you, which is the point. Moving away from traditional form factors is a challenges for those of us (me included) that have grown with them, but the next generation will not have that challenge. In fact, they will think the concept of lugging a display around as ludicrous. Wearable computers are coming, whether we like them or not.
I can see the day when, besides the military, law enforcement will take advantage of wearing computer glasses to instantaneously evaluate an incidence, check for criminal records, and triangulate with other officers wearing glassses-officers to nab suspects. It will create a safer world and also one that's all-intrusive one. Oops, can't type anymore; have a miniature heli hovering outside my window. Hope its miniature camera can't read my keyboard strokes. Don't want to become "person of interest". (:-
I am not sure whether the article get the concept of wearable computing right. Nobody wants to wear a fullblown CPU/GPU/RAM/SSD on to their body. And as Lavender pointed out you need to have reasonably sized display anyhow. In todays context wearable computing refers to miniature devices targeted at a specific niche like health monitoring(nike fuelband) or HCI devices(like google glass) . They are just data collection/recording devices.
Sometimes I think today's advanced devices are contradictory:for the wearable reason,they must be small enough; but for higher experience, the screen must be large. For me, wearable computer will not be appealing to me, for I can not do work with a small-screen wearable computer. Work is also the reason for the existence of traditional PC.
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