Making Wearable Technology Fashionable

by Matt Klassen on December 20, 2011

For years the world has scoffed at wearable technology, gaudy devices that traditionally have had as much style as the latest dresses from Milan’s fashion district; you know the ones that look like a garbage bag married an orbital satellite.

But rumours have surfaced that both Apple and Google are trying to change all that by refashioning both wearable technology and public opinion, meaning that the newest fashions we see in the near future may be sporting your favourite mobile operating system.

According to a report in the New York Times earlier this week, both companies are working on ways to create mobile peripheral devices that user’s would wear; tangential technology that would hypothetically interact seamlessly with one’s smartphone. But if past attempts say anything about the future of such personal devices the question remains, can wearable technology ever be fashionable?

If decades of science fiction televisions, books, and movies have taught us anything it’s that wearable technology will eventually become an integral part of our existence, unassuming personal gadgets on our clothes that instantly allow us to communicate with Lt. Uhura…or however we might want to talk to.

The problem has always been of course that the wearable gadgets of the future clash with everything aside from a form fitting futuristic unitard, a problem that has plagued technology companies for years. That said, if there were two companies that would be able to take a heretofore unsuccessful niche market and turn it into something that people line-up to buy, my money would be on Apple and Google—and more on the former than the latter.

For its part Apple has already subtly tried to encourage the public to wear its technology, offering the most recent iPod Nano as a wearable watch. The problem with the Nano, at least in my mind, is that it was the ugliest pile of garbage I’d ever seen, certainly not something I would actually want to wear on my wrist in public.

That said, Apple’s goal with the iPod Nano is likely not to corner the wearable gadget market, but simply to get the public thinking about similar wearable devices, one’s that are functional and powerful yet don’t sacrifice aesthetic appeal. According to the NY Times report, Apple’s conceptual artists are thinking of ways of bringing the sleek and popular design of the iPhone to a wrist near you by creating a curved glass device that users could wear; powerful smartphone technology literally never more than an arm’s length away.

The report also states that Google is working on something similar in its top secret Google X lab, mobile peripherals that users would wear that could collect user input—via voice for example—and communicate it directly to one’s Android smartphone, innovation that would free users from the mesmerizing smartphone stare.

The fact of the matter is that despite how ugly such portable personal devices currently are, one day wearable technology will become an intrinsic part of our existence, fashionable gadgets that are as home on our bodies as ear rings, make-up, or tattoos—okay maybe not that last one. I mean, how else would we communicate with the Enterprise?

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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