For the technophile, the new set of must-have toys is wearable technology. With all the computing power that we can cram into watches, glasses, and so on, it is becoming possible to carry entire computers on a person, and with that our quality of life can only improve.
With so much wearable technology out there, what are some of the “must-have” and most useful devices to pick up?
Let’s start with the most obvious. Google Glass is going to be a revolution in the way we access, record, and use information. Having email, texts, maps and video recording tools literally in front of the eyes is going to fundamentally change how we interact with the world. Google Glass will be pricy at $1,500, but it looks set to be very much worth the investment.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear hasn’t quite worked as well as the company might have hoped, but Pebble seems to be on the up. That said, with year on year growth of 250%, the smartwatch ecosystem is certainly growing. Out of the estimated 700,000 smartwatches shipped, Samsung has taken a 71% share of the market (around 500,000 watches). The only other notable entrants in the market are Sony (with the SmartWatch and SmartWatch 2) and Pebble (with the classic Pebble smartwatch and the updated Pebble Steel) both have 11% of the market. The Pebble Steel brings with it a strong app ecosystem; everything from Evernote to Foursquare and weather and surf reports, giving users a lot of functionality that goes well beyond getting email notifications. To think that not long ago a watch started – and stopped – at telling the time.
Jawbone is the master of fitness wristbands. The UP24 monitors everything, from exercise patterns and food intake through to sleep cycles. It’s also Wi-Fi enabled, which pairs the experience seamlessly with a great app that tracks more about yourself than you probably want to know. For the fitness and health conscious, this is essential stuff.
This one isn’t on the market yet, but people who like cars and driving will be watching its performance closely. The Nismo is another watch, but it’s a watch that “talks” with your car via Bluetooth, and will display performance data while on the drive, and it will keep track of your vital signs to ensure that you’re having a pleasant trip. Throw in announcements for dangerous conditions ahead, and you’ve got an invaluable road assistant.
While not technically wearable technology in its current form (you’re not really able to wander around town wearing one), Oculus Rift’s virtual reality technology has all kinds of potential for wearable technology too. Now owned by Facebook, Oculus is leading a renewed interest in virtual reality, and given that innovators are testing it for everything from military to medical applications, it’s an exciting space to watch.