“Wearable computing” is going to be a buzz phrase you’re going to be hearing over and over again over the next few months. Thanks to devices like the Jawbone UP and the Nike+ Fuelband, 2012 and 2013 are going to be all about the “quantified self”, which is yet another buzz phrase that basically means keeping track of all the shit you do. Seriously though, at some point sooner rather than later you’ll likely be asking yourself whether or not you should buy a piece of consumer electronics equipment that connects to your smartphone. Seeing as how people have been wearing watches for over 100 years, it’s an industry ripe for innovation. Enter Pebble, which right now is nothing more than a Kickstarter project. They have a watch with an electronic ink display, Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, a battery that’s supposed to last about a week, and they even have a “Watch App Store” where you can buy things for your new digital watch. Watch the video below:
Will the Pebble take off? No way in hell, it’s a version 0.1 alpha product at best. People are having enough trouble keeping their smartphones charged, do you honestly think a watch that needs to be plugged in every 7 days is going to appeal to the masses? Bluetooth 4.0 will fix that, but right now it’s in a limited number of devices. Then there’s the question of cost. The Pebble is estimated to run about $115. That’s bananas in a world where we’re talking about the pending tablet revolution and how Google’s 7 inch $199 Nexus Tablet is going to be the best thing to happen to the world since the invention of the personal computer. We think a more appropriate price point is $49. Assuming “wearable computing” devices follow the same laws of regular computing, whereby prices fall by about half every two years, then we’re looking at 2014 at the earliest for any mainstream adoption.
Watch this space.
Update: Oh look, Sony just launched their “SmartWatch” today.