The rumored-to-be-forthcoming launch of Apple Inc.’s iWatch is only the beginning of a wave of wearable computing gadgets expected to hit the market over the next few years.
In recent weeks, major new organizations have reported that Apple is preparing a smart wristwatch computer that runs iOS and features a curved glass shape. Journalists and bloggers have pointed to mounting evidence, including patent filings, to suggest that the iWatch just may be Apple’s next big thing.
According to ABI Research, the iWatch and Google Glasses are just two of dozens of wearable computing gadgets soon to hit the consumer market. The research firm predicts a surge in popularity for such gadgets over the next year and says that a wearable computer “could be the norm for most people within five years.” ABI projects that the market for wearable computing devices will grow to 485 million device shipments per year by 2018.
According to Josh Flood, a senior analyst at ABI, the furor about wearable computing devices, particularly smart watches and smart glasses, should come as no surprise. Both technologies are very stimulating and some of the applications for the device are rather inspiring, said Flood, in a press statement.
“Apple’s curved glass-based watch could prove to be a revelation in the wearable technologies market,” said Flood. “The major question is whether the digital time piece will act as a complimentary device to the company’s iPhone smartphones or as a standalone product with other functionalities like health or activity tracking capabilities.”
Today, sports and activity trackers account for the largest chunk of the wearable technologies market, according to ABI. About 61 percent of the wearable technologies market is expected to be attributed to sport/activity trackers in 2013, according to the firm.
Smartphone compatible watches are beginning to emerge. According to ABI, smart watches offer extra capabilities in an item most people already own and commonly buy. It may become universally expected for watches to include smart features in the future, ABI said.
“The capabilities of smart watches could lead to the device being used as a wearable remote for home automation systems,” ABI said. “A quick shake of your wrist to turn off/on room lights would be a very convenient tool.”
While rumor has it that iWatch will hit the market sometime this year, ABI said it expects smart glasses to also be available later in 2013.
What other cool wearable computing gadgets are in development or should be?
Re "some advertising super-imposed on my real view."
More than once, I've run across some starry eyed marketer that "just knew" the people would appreciated targeted ads on their PDA, cell phone, smart phone... Some people really don't understand human behavior.
The big downside to this will most likely be a change in the battery life paradigm. My old pre-smart phone was pretty much a charge-once-a-week device. My smart-phone needs a charge every day.
The phone comes with a lot of extra utility in exchange for that battery limitation, but I feel much less secure knowing that if I find myself without power, I'm never more than a few hours away from having a dead phone.
I would guess that we'll need to make a similar but more extreme trade off with this sort of a watch. Instead of two years between battery changes, it might very well be two days between charges.
On a related note; remember the Microsoft Smart Watch? Usually MS follows Apple's successful product with a sub-functional product. This time Apple will be following MS's sub-functional product with a successful one.
And the next step is embedded. Chip implanted in belly button.
Seriously, though, it's not a big leap to think of driving a car with no pedals or steering. For those occasions when the car isn't driving itself, you simply wear a computer and it communicates with the vehicle over an internal Bluetooth or WiFi network. The display can be a heads-up display on the windshield.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.