Everywhere I look these days there’s news about wearable computing.
Wearable computers are those mini computers that attach to you somehow. In the current form that includes Google Glass and smart watches, I mostly mention Google Glass in this post.
Is Wearable Computing Really Our Future?
Yes, and no. It’s in our future, but it’s not the future.
For some it will become a normal part of life, that will be a relatively small population though.
Wearable Computing does some wonderful things and will open doors for many people. One excellent use I have in mind is a virtual field trip. Check this video out, it’s pretty amazing.
It’s going to be in our future forever, but for specific uses, not to wear all the time or even take with us everywhere we go.
Wearable Computing will never replace smartphones.
What We Use Our Smartphones For
Think for a minute what feature of your smartphone you use most. Text messaging, email, calendar, news, weather, Twitter, Facebook?
Admittedly they’re all important, and used a lot, but there’s one big one that’s a feature I’m not willing to do without.
The consensus from my research whether it be surveys or just personal blog posts seems to point to one thing: we can’t do without the camera.
Besides texting or possibly writing emails, taking photos is the next most frequent content created on a smartphone according to a survey done at the University of Colorado, Boulder (link was removed). The survey isn’t conclusive evidence though so you’ll have to ask yourself how important having the camera is to your daily life.
The camera is one of the most important features for me, and I just can’t live without it. I like to point, and shoot. With Google Glass I’d have to look, and shoot. I’m not sure if any of the current smart watches even have a camera.
Here’s what taking pictures with wearable computing looks like:
The video is comedy, but it’s really quite real. It’s not practical. I move my phone all over the place to take a picture, it never stays at eye level.
Wearable Computing’s Future
It will never replace or become as important as my smartphone, it will have to read my mind first, and of course take a photo from wherever I choose.
Think about the video above, hopefully you enjoyed as much as I did. It’s a bit ridiculous, yes, but it also says a lot about the limitations of wearable computers.
Wearable computing adds one more thing I need to take with me in the morning. In other words, it would make my life more complex. People want technology to enrich their life, and simplify it. Google Glass doesn’t do either of those things for the public. It also doesn’t help that it’s prohibitively expensive, even though it will become much cheaper.
I don’t want to take another device with me in the morning and I’m guessing more than just me feels that way.
Wearable computing, no matter how awesome, will never gain the same level of adoption smartphones have.
More to Carry
Smartphones minimized the devices we needed.
Before Smartphone: phone, address book, digital camera, PDA, MP3 player, camcorder, and the list goes on.
Now we need one device and the possibilities are limitless. Why would I want to add more tech back to the list?
You won’t see me with Google Glass unless it’s free or very inexpensive (sub-$200), even then I will only wear it if I have a an immediate purpose. Having to speak any text into the device is enough of a barrier, I have that now and never use it.
Am I alone?
I know this is new tech and raising a lot of discussion, but I can’t be the only one that believes it’s not the next big thing, just the next big niche thing?
I think it’s great, I see great purpose in it, but I don’t think it will revolutionize anything for the public, or change the way we work.
Don’t get me wrong though, I think they’re great for some, and I’d love to play with a pair myself. Keyword is play though, a great toy or teaching aide.