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Posts suspended for a bit while I settle into a new job. . . 

Entries in Wearable (4)


What Contributes to Wearables Success? 

 This post in Gigaom posits three factors --

  1. habit formation -- helps the wearer develop and persist wit new habits,
  2. social motivation -- the rationale behind the popularity of social media, and 
  3. goal reinforcement -- helps the wearer achieve defined goals -- 

underlying the ultimate success of a wearable. This categorization, of course, ignores the seeming success of a prominent category of wearable: smartwatches. I don't lean on my Pebble because it trucks with the three factors. Rather (apart from telling the time), it frees me from having to look at my smartphone to see who's calling or texting or what email is coming in. 

The three critical factors wearable devices need to succeed

by Michael Davies, Endeavour Partners  

SUMMARY: Wearables may be the tech du jour, but the next generation of devices and services needs to focus more on keeping users engaged in the long-term. These three factors, based on behavioral science, can help them do just that.

At least 10 new wearable devices were introduced at CES in January, from makers such as Sony, Pebble, Meta, LG, Garmin, Razer and more. Yet despite the enthusiasm in the market, the dirty secret of wearables remains: almost all of the current generation of products fail to drive long-term, sustained engagement and behavior change.

Endeavour Partners’ research recently found that while one in 10 US consumers over the age of 18 now owns a modern activity tracker, one-third of US consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months, and more than half of US consumers who owned an activity tracker no longer use it. Consumers are buying them and trying them, but rarely end up relying on them.

Post continues at link. 


2014 CES and Wearables

Clearing out post-CES items. . . 

Via PCWorld, a nicely written recap of wearables at CES. 

The 5 critical lessons CES taught us about wearable tech

Jon Phillips @jonphillipssf Jan 9, 2014 5:00 AM 

LAS VEGAS—If you begin to see smartwatches dangling from tree branches, and activity-tracking wrist bands collecting in rain gutters, then you can thank the Consumer Electronics Show for belching out something akin to a pyroclastic flow of wearable tech over half the earth's surface.

Every CES needs a pre-packaged narrative, and this year the hardware industry decided wearable tech should dominate the script. Wearables are novel. They're visual. And manufacturers are juicing the category with R&D and capital, so we need to scrutinize the hell out of wearables, and figure out exactly how and where they fit into our lives. The Neptune Pine smartwatch is large and in charge, and doesn't care who knows. (Jon Phillips)

I'm leaving CES with five key takeaways. Your data analysis may vary, so aim your contrarian tweets in the direction of @jonphillipssf. Together we can stay ahead of the curve before the wearables ash cloud covers us completely.

See link above for full story. 

The five take-aways are 

  • Big tech -- e.g., Intel -- is moving aggressively into this market, in addition to little tech as one would expect
  • There are lots of activity trackers out there 
  • Smartwatch vendors don't get fashion 
  • Smartglasses are still just an idea 
  • Wearables are nonetheless an exciting market 




Wearables for 2014

I think smartwatches, as one type of wearable (others including wristbands and glasses), definitely has legs in the market, notwithstanding naysayers. . .

Via TechHive, here is a thorough, 25-slide survey of some wearables destined to come to market during 2014. Jon Phillips, the writer/compiler, wisely "generally avoided eyewear that isn’t designed to be worn throughout the course of a normal day [like the Oculus Rift and, arguably, Google Glass], as well as fit-tech devices with narrow, ultra-specific use cases." 

Prepare your body parts for more! 24 wearables to watch in 2014

Jon Phillips @jonphillipssf  Jan 14, 2014 

They’re coming for your foreheads and wrists

Don’t be alarmed. At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the tech industry effectively proclaimed 2014 will be the year of wearable gadgetry, but your body parts are still safe from exploitation—at least until all the gear in this slideshow begins to ship.

Follow along as I reveal the more intriguing wearables I saw in Las Vegas. This is by no means a complete representation of all the face- and wrist-mounted gadgets demoed at the show.

See link above. 

Here are three I find particularly interesting. (Click images for full size.) 

Sony Core Smartband 

Peeble Steel smartwatch (I really like my original Pebble)

Garmin Vivofit activity tracker



Wearable Technology

I have a Pebble smartwatch; it connects to my Android smartphone via Bluetooth.


For me, the Pebble is not so much a second screen (for my phone) as it is a "notifier" of phone activity. With the Pebble, I keep my phone in my pocket, muted, and use my watch to track who's calling and texting, what emails are coming in -- and then decide if I engage.

In addition to being a great notifier, the Pebble -- for me -- also reduces distraction, since I don't have to look at my phone necessarily.

The Pebble has an "e-paper" display (think, original Kindle) that both makes it readable in direct sunlight and conserves battery. (In the dark, I flick my wrist to pulse the backlight.) The battery life is five days, easy. 

I've installed (via the Pebble phone app) 

  • several different watchfaces varyingly displaying a local weather summary (as I write this, 13 degrees F, Fair), number of unread (priority or all) emails, number of unread texts, number of new phone calls, smartphone battery life, time, and date, in digital and analog styles; 
  • a music controller ("next song," etc.); 
  • alarms, timers, and stopwatches; 
  • a Facebook News Feed client; 
  • a Twitter client; and 
  • an app that mirrors smartphone notifications generally. 

The Pebble natively shows who's calling and the first few lines of emails and texts. (The Pebble can be set to either vibrate or pulse the backlight, or both, to signal a notification.) I don't use the Facebook and Twitter clients much -- the Pebble screen is too small to make that really sensible. I don't do music on my smartphone, but I understand the Pebble controller for that works well. 

The last-listed app -- that mirrors smartphone notifications -- is key. With it, I can option whatever phone app that does notifcations, to get mirrored on the Pebble. That makes the Pebble a notifier for almost anything that the phone can do, which is really powerful. 

I'm betaing an app that uses the Pebble's bulit-in accelerometer to feed my phone's exercise app to track the number of steps I take. 


Bill Waski, via Wired Gadget Labs, posts a meaty, good introduction to wearable tech -- of which the smartwatche is one example; others include devices such as Google Glass and the Fitbit -- and why it is important. 

Why Wearable Tech Will Be as Big as the Smartphone

BY BILL WASIK | 12.17.13 Google Glass was just the beginning. A new generation of wearable tech is coming—and it will transform the way you experience the world. (Photo: Ian Allen)

Data will not help you if you can’t see it when you need it. For Dan Eisenhardt—a competitive swimmer for more than a decade, beginning as a 9-year-old in his native Denmark—the data he needed in the water, what he could never know in the water, was his splits. His event was the 1,500-meter freestyle, the longest slog in the sport, a near-mile of grinding exertion divided into 15 laps of 100 meters apiece. As with every distance sport, pacing is all; lag your target time on the first two laps and you may never catch up, but accidentally beat it and you’ll load your tissue with lactic acid, doom your endgame. How fast was his last lap? How did it compare to his usual pace? His coach up on the pool deck could know, his parents in the stands could know. But Eisenhardt, at war in the water, could only guess.

The rigors of engineering school eventually forced Eisenhardt to stop racing. He worked for a while as a management consultant. But later, during business school, while he was spending an exchange semester at the University of British Columbia, the problem nagged at him again. For a project in an entrepreneurship class, he pitched a business plan: data-enabled goggles for swimmers like his former self. He teamed up with some other students, and they soon concluded they had the wrong sport. Swim goggles were too small to support a screen, plus the athletes were too few in number—and too unaccustomed to shelling out for expensive gear. Close at hand in wintry Canada, though, was a better idea. In January 2008, after a year or so of tinkering, four of the classmates founded Recon Instruments.

Their first product, Recon Snow, is a heads-up display for skiers and snowboarders. From the outside it looks just like any set of ski goggles. But tucked below the right eye is a little display, controllable by a simple remote—snow-proof with big, chunky buttons—that clips to a jacket. The main screen is a dashboard that shows speed, altitude, and vertical descent. There’s also a navigation view that uses the built-in GPS to plot position on a resort map, as well as an app screen that offers access to a camera. Through Bluetooth, the display integrates with a smartphone, letting skiers play music, answer calls, and see text messages or other notifications. Recon has sold 50,000 of the Snow so far, and the second generation, Snow2, came out in November. The company’s next product—Jet, designed for cyclists, with voice control and gaze detection for hands-free use—will ship in March.

Article continues at link.