Christmas is approaching fast and with it, the unavoidable questions arise: what to buy for whom from where? What's on trend? What's worth investing in? This year, it looks like all people want for Christmas... is a wearable device. Think smartwatches and fitness and health trackers.
With over one in five adults in the United Kingdom already using a wearable device, brands have been quick to invest in the market. This is a market that is now flourishing with a range of devices designed to improve the customers quality of life with features such as fitness tracking. Just recently for example, Nike announced it plans to collaborate with Apple, whose iWatch is due to exceed the 30 million sales next year as a safe start on the wearables market.
One wearable that has has difficulties in finding its place among the style conscious, in the midst of this ever increasing trend, is Google Glass. Unveiled by Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 2012, the innovative Glass has seen a decline in buzz among developers, who are now focusing their attention on apps for smartwatches and other wearables. A whopping 9 out of the 16 developers that Reuters spoke to declared that they have stopped working on Glass apps. So it may take a little longer than expected to see the specs appear in shop windows.
If wearables are so hot right now, then what's the challenge surrounding Google Glass? The main problem, in my view, is that it leaves an important question unanswered: why would you wear them on-the-go? Until the specs become useful in terms of functionality, they'll be just another device. One way would be if, for example, while shopping I walked into a showroom and could pre-order everything in my size and if a product in store is limited, it would show me where else it was available - or even if you could see how clothes look on your body without lifting a finger. This would be a nice mix of offline and online.
Until recently, the wearable market was missing items that were both functional and fashionable. It's good to see that this is changing; fashion designers are collaborating with high-tech companies to create wearables that can be considered as fashion accessories and integrated in an everyday look. The new Jawbone Up wristbands, for example, even have a design that looks like the iconic criss cross Chanel bag and the company's chief executive Hosain Rahman even said that the new UP3 is designed to be "unobtrusive" and "more like jewellery". A personal favourite so far in terms of design is the Mica bracelet by Intel and Opening Ceremony, which is an example of a wearable tech company working directly with high fashion brands to appeal to fashion lovers with a keen eye for stylish tech.
As much as Glass is innovative, wearing technology on your face is an obstacle, no matter how amazing the technology is. Google insists that they are still very much supporting the Glass project, and the consumer version, originally due to launch this year could now go live in 2015. Some high fashion designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg supported Glass by creating more fashionable versions. Only the future will tell if this support will be enough to elevate the popularity of Glass to levels we see Jawbone and Fitbit trackers enjoying.