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Wearable technology, often also called wearables, is nothing else than smartwatches and fitness bands or activity trackers. Thse new gadgets are to make our life simpler, but do they really?

Wearable technology is not anything new. Some may even argue that we have been using it for about 30 years. In the 80s, first electronic watches with built-in calculators were produced with the most popular ones belonging to the Casio Databank series – this is how our adventure with wearables started. Up until now we can find those awkwardly-looking, far-from-perfect-design watches with calculators, such as Casio CA53W-1.

Casio ad for a watch with built-in calculator – the first wearable product.
Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/108860515966005294/

But times are changing and a simple calculator won’t do – thirst for new technologies is increasing and electronics producers need to keep up with it by coming up with brand new products that make their demanding clients mesmerized by their beauty. Maybe the sales of wearables are yet not impressive, but will certainly change soon as new products begin satisfying some of our needs.


This year is supposed to be the ‘smartwatch year’. Even though some said the same last year, now it is more credible due to Consumer Electronics Show 2015 that took place this January in Las Vegas – wherever you went, smartwatches were there. During the CES there was a noticeable change in this category – it’s not only about the functions anymore, price and design are now the crucial things that play an important role in the production process. This will allow smartwatches category to grow, also outside the US.

“One of the biggest wearable stories at the 2015 International CES is smartwatches. “ – says Danielle Cassagnol, spokesperson of International CES. – “We are now in our 3rd generation of smartwatch technology and the designs are more refined.”

According to research conducted in the USA by Ipsos in December 2014, 80% of US Americans have heard of a name “wearables” and almost a fifth plans to buy a wearable device in the next 12 months. Most probably Apple Watch will play a very important role – in 2014 it was on the 4th place among most searched keywords in consumer electronics category in US Google and on the 8th worldwide!

“Functionality and use cases are still developing but once the Apple smartwatch hits the market, it will help to validate the category in the eyes of consumers.” – says the spokeswoman of CES.

Due to numerous delays, the release date of Apple Watch will take place in less than 3 months, however, taking into consideration the Ipsos research, Tim Cook has nothing to fear. 62% of Americans would consider buying a wearable device that was produced by Apple. Google (44%) and Samsug (43%) take the second and the third place, respectively. Even though lots of consumers are waiting with bated breath for Apple Watch, smartwatch market has already much to offer.

Statistics with percentage of U.S. adults who intend to purchase the following devices in the next 12 months.
Source: http://www.statista.com/chart/3091/technology-purchase-plans/

Activity Trackers bands

It’s another wearable subcategory and don’t mistake it for fitness bands. The latter, like Nike+ FuelBand, tend to be larger with detailed displays that show your workout progress. The display drains the battery and it needs to be charged quite often. What’s more, as the name states, fitness bands focus on fitness and workout omitting health issues.

Jawbone UP3 band with an app tracking your calories.
Source: https://jawbone.com/productshots/up3

That is why we have activity trackers available, like Jawbone UP3, one of the most advanced of those – their aim is to track not only our physical activity, but also our sleep. We have numerous apps dedicated to Jawbone that

  • help you keep track of the meals you’ve had,
  • give you notifications while you’re dehydrated or don’t get enough workout,
  • wake you up really gently by vibrating on your wrist, at an appropriate hour when it’s least unpleasant.

“So if a person is serious about total health they’ll likely have an activity tracker. If they are more interested in visual notifications, they’ll likely have a smartwatch.” – says Gwen Smith, head of International Communications in Jawbone. – “And some people will wear both – just as many people already wear a watch and an activity tracker. The wearable itself solves different user needs, depending on what the person is most interested in.”

And the needs revolve around healthy lifestyle – the only thing you can be sure when you open any magazine for women is that you’ll get a great new diet, exercise program or “how to lose weight without dieting” tips. This seems to be proven by research carried out by GfK, the largest German market research company. It showed that between January and September 2014 fitness bands and activity trackers had the biggest wearable technology market share in the UK – over 25% higher than the smartwatch market.

Product share of wearable technology market in the UK between January and September 2014.
Source: http://www.statista.com/statistics/373782/wearbles-technology-market-share-uk-united-kingdom-product/

Moreover, smartwatches are not very eye-catching in a positive way. That’s why Apple, known for its refined design, may change the market completely with its latest product. Fitness bands or activity trackers, on the other hand, are appreciated by the fashion industry – they are not too big, or too flashy and they are elegant – that is what smartwatches lack in and why smartbands may be just what we are looking for.

Is that just the beginning?

When it comes to fashion, International CES is not just another geek party – this year attendees could see WebMD FashionWare Show where jackets with built-in GPS or dresses showing latest tweets were presented.

“Smart clothing will also develop as interesting products come to market such as: jackets that adjust based on outside temperature, socks with built in sensors that can track your run and shirts with health fitness tracking abilities.” – adds Danielle Cassagnol and explains how the sales will look according to market forecast – “ The wearable market is a high-growth category. Unit sales of wearable devices will reach 4.2 million in 2015, according to CEA research.”

There were so many wearable devices presented during this year’s CES that I’m sure we will see a new product released every single month. Some of them will satisfy at least a few of our needs, but others seem to be just ridiculous. Have you ever dreamed of a headband with cat’s ears that show your mood? If your answer is yes, we’ve found exactly what you’re looking for – Neocomimi. Just watch the commercial.

This post was originally published on ActiveMobi.

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