What's New in Technology for April 2014

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Will Wearable Technology go Mainstream?

Predictions that wearable smart technology is about to become a major force in the industry have been around for a while. Previously regarded as a niche market confined to fitness and wellness enthusiasts, many industry analysts expect Google’s much-anticipated Android Wear to propel smart tech wearables into the big leagues. Here’s a summary of the industry buzz.

  • Google’s wearable software is expected to be available to consumers in the form of watches marketed by Motorola and LG by the second quarter of 2014. The platform is currently being rolled out as preview software to developers within the industry.
  • Google’s initiative is by no means the only one underway to develop similar products using the Android smart phone platform. Other industry leaders such as Samsung and Intel are also partnering with Google to launch other devices.
  • Unlike existing products that are primarily time or task trackers, Google’s supremacy online should make syncing this new smart wristwatch with other online tools and user profiles a snap. Experts believe this comprehensive capacity – far beyond the fitness-orientated products that are available currently – will catapult Android Wear into the mainstream and make wearable technology the next must-have for consumers.
  • Google Now helped boost the Android phone’s appeal. A similar capability provided on a small wrist-mounted display should garner even more fans. Glimpses of the software promotions reveal simple, colorful display features for GPS and messaging as well as activity tracking.
  • Android Wear responds to both voice and touch commands and it remembers users’ preferences. It also gives users a clear view on a simple screen.
  • Motorola is responding to consumer interest with the launch of Moto 365, which marries a traditional watch dial design with smart watch technology. The Moto model is designed to provide quick information updates to its users – serving as an adjunct to larger hand-held devices. Analysts also believe that Apple will launch an iWatch later in 2014 to rival the Google/Android initiative.
  • With the advent of “smarter” bands offering more features, proponents expect the overall market for wearable technology to increase from about $5 billion to $50 billion within five years.

Perhaps the time is right for wearable technology to realize the potential analysts have forecasted for it. Naysayers, who previously considered wrist-sized screens impractical and anticipated issues with size and weight, can’t ignore the boom in sales of fitness/wellness smart bands. Many industry experts believe the success of wearable bands like Fitbit suggest that consumers are ready to embrace more sophisticated smart bands with higher price tags.


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