Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Making Wearable Tech More Wearable : The New Yorker

Excerpt from a timely wearable technology/"intimate computing" market reality check

"Yet—surprisingly or not—customers are reluctant to strap still-bulky computers to their foreheads and wrists. One columnist has noted hundreds of Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear watches for sale on eBay. A recent survey indicated that one-third of Americans who buy a wearable device stop using it within six months. Google Glass raises widespread privacy concerns, partly because its design is so intrusive. And earlier this month, Nike laid off some of the employees working on its FuelBand fitness-tracker bracelet; a Nike design director on the FuelBand project joined Apple last fall, increasing speculation that the two companies will collaborate on a new product.
A major problem with wearable technologies—and one that Ahrendts is in a good position to fix—is that they are too conspicuous. The engineers who design them delight in advertising the fact that they’re wearing the hot new device. But outside Silicon Valley, displaying the cutting-edge equivalent of a BlackBerry holster isn’t chic. When people slip on Google Glass, they resemble the character Seven of Nine from “Star Trek: Voyager,” who had cybernetic implants in her face, signs that she once was subsumed into the dehumanizing Borg."
Making Wearable Tech More Wearable : The New Yorker

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