When you think of wearables, the products likely to come to mind first are fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit. However, wearable technology is developing fast and there are now gadgets to carry out a whole host of tasks, which can be worn on your person. These internet-connected gadgets can do all sorts of things, from organising your diary to ordering shopping and from monitoring your health to controlling your smart home. So what is the future of wearable technology, and what should the consumer market expect during 2017?
Top wearable technology for 2017
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, wearables were one of the key topics up for discussion and there were some great products revealed. Below are some key trends to watch out for in the coming year, including some exceptional products from top manufacturers.
Fitness trackers and app-powered watches are still big news, and the Apple Watch in particular is expecting a boost to sales after a recent update. It also has some stiff competition. The Casio WSD-F20, the Misfit Vapor and the Fenix 5X are all championing features like GPS maps and wearer tracking, along with access to apps for streaming music and other entertainment, and for organising your schedule.
Despite modest success, smart watches have not really hit the mainstream yet, and manufacturers believe this is because of issues with battery life – once removed, users tend to forget to charge and replace the watch. “Once you have to take the watch off and charge it, it becomes a barrier to putting it back on,” said Matrix’s Akram Boukai in a ZDNet interview. However, the new generation of smart watches will feature smaller batteries with longer lifespans, making them suitable for 24 hour use and even longer. This could be the breakthrough which the sector has been seeking, and encourage smart watches to replace the standard wrist watch.
After virtual reality reappeared on the scene last year, and devices like the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR were released for general purchase, it was expected that VR would take off in a big way. However, the ramping up of VR use has been slower than anticipated – although augmented reality apps, such as Pokemon Go!, were certainly popular. This year might just be the year for virtual reality, however. New and exciting headsets are coming to the market, with prototypes by Lenovo, Dell, Acer and HP on display at CES.
Virtual reality is going to be used for much more than just gaming in the future. VR can be used in marketing, and has proved very popular in the hotel and hospitality sector where guests can be given virtual tours of destinations and venues. VR will also be used in the future to make driving tuition more safe and to assist drivers with various skills. Many new VR sets are designed to be compatible with Android and iOS devices, so as new VR apps are developed the headsets will become increasingly useful.
What to expect in 2017
In addition to watches and headsets, wearables are taking all different shapes and forms. The Motiv ring, for example, is a lightweight and small version of the standard wrist-worn fitness and health tracker. It fits like a normal ring, but includes a series of heat sensors, a heart rate tracker and other biometric features to monitor the wearer’s health and fitness. At the other end of the scale, sportswear brands are teaming up with tech startups to create fully biometric clothing which can be used in sport, at work or at home. It is hard to predict exactly what will happen in the wearables sector over the coming twelve months, because the industry is developing at such an incredible rate. However, you can be sure that we will bring you news on the latest products and gadgets as they arrive!
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