Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
You are walking down the street 10 years from now. What do you think you will be wearing? Would you believe that everything you wear would be somehow integrated using technology? The answer is unclear right now, but some believe that everything from our shirts to our shoes will all be synced through the use of wearable technology, also known as wearables.
Wearables have become one of the hottest trends in both technology and fashion.
Matthew Canales is an owner of the Nike FuelBand, a newly released wearable.
“As an athlete, I wanted something that could track my daily progress, but also be comfortable to wear. This product is better than I could have imagined and is worth every dollar. I would suggest this product to fellow athletes or anyone interested in fitness,” Canales said.
Today people are looking for quick, convenient access to information and technology. They are constantly shifting their eyes from screen to screen looking for news, text messages or watching television shows. Wearables are the next step in convenient technology.
A wearable can be worn around one’s body. Some of these wearables have the ability to alert the owner of text messages, e-mails and phone calls. Some are also able to track heart rates, count steps taken, monitor blood pressure and study sleep patterns.
Wearables have been around since the invention of the calculator watch in the 1970’s. Wearables have been rapidly growing and changing and with this increased growth of fashionable technology, it has made its way into mainstream society after being used only by people who could afford the product. This year saw the sales of 19 million wearable products. Over the next five years, the market is set to increase by up to 500% The increase in availability and comfort of wearables has led to an increase in purchases and usage. The use of wearables increased by 100% since 2013.
Wearables such as Google Glass, FitBit, Jawbone, Nike FuelBand and Samsung Galaxy Gear have made their way from being just an idea to now being worn and used every day. Being able to talk to someone through the use of a watch was once only seen in science-fiction movies, but is now possible today through the use of wearables.
Being able to own some of these technological wearables comes at a price, however. Some of these gadgets have the price tag of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Are these wearables worth the money? We will take a look into some of the new wearables on the market today.
Google Glass was announced by Google in 2012, released to a select few in 2013 and has been made available to the public in 2014. It is a hands-free headset that is worn like glasses. When Google Glass is worn, you are able to see a small screen in the corner of your eye. With this screen you are able to receive phone calls and read e-mails, along with many other things. It has a built-in camera and the user is able to use voice commands. The price tag of Google Glass is $1,500.
Approximately 10,000 Google Glass units were sold in 2013. So far in 2014, over 800,000 units have sold. Although the purchase of Google Glass rose dramatically over the past year since its release to the public, it is not frequently seen.
When Google Glass was first released, it was seen as the future of technology. Many people believed that everyone would one day use it. More recently, Google Glass has slipped out of the spotlight and is now on the forefront of every sceptics’ mind.
Health and fitness wearables are the most popular items on the market today. Health and fitness wearables have earned over $1 billion in retail sales this year. Items like Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike Fuelband are a few of these wearables that monitor people’s daily physical activity.
Fitbit is a physical activity tracker that is meant provide better health. It tracks footsteps, monitors eating habits and sleeping patterns. Fitbit is a small device that can be worn around the wrist like a watch. There are several different types of FitBits that range from $50 to $300.
The Jawbone is a small rubber wristband that tracks a person’s physical activity. The Jawbone can be worn around all day, then plugged into a computer or other device to track that day’s activity. Jawbone wristbands range around $100.
The Nike FuelBand is another physical activity tracker. It features a display screen that can tell you the time or read your daily progress. The Nike FuelBand is priced at $100 and up.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is a device that is shaped like a watch, but features a small screen instead of a traditional clock. It is referred to as a ‘smartwatch’. The Samsung Galaxy Gear can be connected to your smartphone using Bluetooth. The screen gives the owner the ability to read text messages, view calendars, check the weather and many other things.
David Ashraf is an owner and user of the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
“This smartwatch has become as much a part of me as my arms or legs. It is an amazing piece of technology that is highly fashionable. I am able to check my text messages or the weather. I could just check the time or answer phone calls,” Ashraf said.
Companies that produce wearables have recently changed their methods in the making of these products and are now focusing on the fashion aspect of these wearables. The more fashionable and comfortable the product is, the more likely the item will be purchased and used.
Sales are projected to increase over the next few years, which will lead to seeing more and more wearables being utilized every day.