Wearable tech is, at the risk of going all Derek Zoolander. It’s so hot right now, it seems nothing can take away its coolness. Nope, not even that shower picture. However, there’s a reason for this: it’s because there are only a few examples we can all buy. Once all the tech giants get their acts together and start releasing wearable tech products – and there will be a lot – the cool factor is in danger of disappearing very quickly.
The trouble is, tech fans are a vulnerable lot, and when we see shiny new gadgets, it’s tough not to want (no, need) them.
Why? Because we don’t know when to stop. Think about it, you can look cool with a Nike Fuelband or a Fitbit Flex on your wrist. You look sporty and concerned with your health, plus you’re showing your geeky side. But what about your Pebble? Hmm, you’ve got another wrist, so that’s fine. Fast forward to early 2014, and Google Glass is about to go up for pre-order. You struggle through Google Play’s inevitably painful ordering process, and a few weeks later, a computer is resting on the bridge of your nose.
But the Fuelband and the Pebble are still on your wrist, aren’t they? That’s three devices, and they all connect to your smartphone, adorning your body. Apart from the effect it’ll have on your phone’s battery life, all of a sudden you’ve gone from being sporty, health conscious, and a bit geeky, to a tragic nerd. Nobody will want to speak to you because they know you won’t be paying the slightest bit of attention. This scenario is based only on the hardware we know about today, not what wearable horrors tomorrow holds.
Marketing teams want your body…
While we want to believe no-one will do this, manufacturers are fully aware the space on our bodies is limited, so expect all sorts of cunning tricks to make you put on fifteen different pieces of connected rubbish every morning. Right now, in a conference room somewhere there are teams of marketers figuring out all the places where else a gadget can be strapped to, worn, or even hung from (steady). Let’s face it, the battle for your wrist and your face is already seen as half over.
We’ve been given a couple of hints this activity is already going on. A Samsung trademark reveals it’s planning a range of wearable technology products under the name “Samsung Gear.” Gear is a worrying word, as it instantly brings to mind the things motorcyclists who’re keen to stay in one piece have to wear. Helmets, gloves, massive great big jackets, waterproof romper suits, and more; and all could be on Samsung’s list of things to make into ‘smart’ gadgets.
For proof that things are about to get weird, even Dell is exploring wearable tech. Yep. Dude, some people could be wearing a Dell.
The news Apple has hired former Saint Laurent Paris boss Paul Deneve is also a concern, especially for those with a weakness for Apple products. He’s apparently going to work on, “special projects,” and given his background – he’s also worked for Courreges, and Nina Ricci – it could be the iWatch or other luxury wearable products. What’s to worry about, you may ask? At one time or another, this man presumably thought these glasses (Courreges Vintage Eskimo sunglasses, in case you were wondering) were a good idea, and made a living out of convincing people of the fact. If you’re an Apple fan, you don’t stand a chance.
A tech fan’s guide to wearing wearable tech
So what’s to be done? We’ve all got to sit down and work out a plan. Wearable tech isn’t like buying, and being satisfied with, a single laptop or smartphone – it’s too closely aligned with the fashion and jewelry industry for that – the temptation to wear too much will be palpable. It could sneak up on you, too. One day you’re checking your watch for notifications, and the next your sneakers are telling you to speed up, your helmet’s warning you you’re about to miss your turn, your boss is trying to Hangout on Glass, and your mom’s sending your jacket a hug.
To avoid this nightmare situation, and the fashion faux pas which would go along with it, we propose some kind of unofficial guide to keep us safe from accidentally becoming instantly unattractive to the opposite sex, and lessen the chance of being cruelly beaten and robbed on a regular basis. For example, a smart watch on its own is fine, but shouldn’t be complimented by smart glasses, but glasses and a fitness tracker would be acceptable. Smart body wear could go with one gadget, but not two or more.
The trouble is, tech fans are a vulnerable lot, and when we see shiny new gadgets, it’s tough not to want (no, need) them. This way, we can still buy all the wearable tech we want, but the rules on which ones to wear at one time will be clear. Tech land is already crossing over into the fashion world, so we need to learn one of their own rules to survive – that accessorizing well is an exercise in subtlety.