Wearable Computers Struggle to Go Mainstream: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-02-21 Print this article Print

5. Lack of knowledge

Aside from Google and Apple, the wearable technology market is made up mainly of small companies, which don’t have the marketing dollars needed to convince the average consumer on the value of their products. That’s a major issue. Until wearable device makers have the resources to launch convincing marketing campaigns, the general lack of knowledge will hold it back.

6. Many devices aren’t being marketed as such

Speaking of marketing, an odd issue is developing in the wearable technology space: devices are being marketed as end-to-end solutions and not as something customers should wear. For example, the iPod Nano can be worn as a watch. But Apple has added that only as an extra feature. Folks get into the Nike+ craze, but so far, that company has balked at calling anything it does “wearable technology.” Oddly, “wearable technology” seem like bad words in today’s IT industry.

7. Some ideas go too far

The companies behind wearable technology seem to have no restraint or focus on the practical. Each year, they show up at the Consumer Electronic Show with ideas that go beyond the realm of practical. For example, would you really want to wear a fully tech-equipped vest or jacket? Would light-up clothes appeal to you? It’s time to take the whole wearable technology idea down to earth if the market is going to appeal to the mainstream.

8. Blame it on the jetpacks

Wearable technology is by no means new. In fact, the idea of it has been around for decades. The trouble is, it started on television shows where people wearing jetpacks on their backs flew off into the sky looking more like cyborgs than humans. The result? Wearable technology became a running joke. And now, the industry—which definitely has some legitimate produce designs—is having a hard time shaking off its past.

9. It caters to so-called “geeks”

Another problem is that the wearable products currently under development look as though they were designed with so-called “geeks” in mind. That’s not a bad thing, of course, but it’s something that vendors will need to address if wearable technology is to hit the mainstream. Right now, tech-obsessed folks out there (like yours truly) are the only ones who really care about wearable technology. Everyone else sees it as something that that only confirmed “geeks” would wear and use. That needs to change.

10. An ecosystem hasn’t been built yet

If the recent success of products like smartphones and game consoles has taught us anything, it’s that if there’s any ecosystem built around a product, consumers will be more likely to buy it. For now, wearable technology relies on information shared with it from other products. That needs to change. Companies need to think more clearly about how their wearable products can be integrated with other services it owns to deliver the best overall experience.

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