Smartphones started the recent technology movement, but now eyes have been placed on the growing industry of wearable technology. From the Google Glass to the Samsung Galaxy Gear Watch, wearable technology is quickly incorporating itself into daily life.
Decades ago, everyone dreamed of glasses that could connect us to the internet and watches that would let us communicate, but today it has become reality.
Google Glass is becoming a widely known wearable computer that allows users to search the web, take pictures, record voice, and much more. It is still under development as Project Glass, but should be out for consumer use this year. Buyers love the idea of a hands-free-smartphone that you can wear as well as the frames you can choose from. Google has also been partnering with Luxottica, owners of the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, to provide an even wider range of frames to choose from.
Google Glass can be used for numerous reasons besides being a luxury. They can be incorporated into the healthcare industry, which is a huge benefit to hospitals because its camera can be used to identify patients and bring up records. Google Glass can also be used to translate languages on the spot.
Samsung Electronics has also entered the race of wearable technology through their Samsung Galaxy Gear (SGG). SGG is an Android-based smartwatch that can accompany Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The SGG works as a phone and can receive notifications from emails also. It also has a helpful feature that allows consumers to find their lost phone.
“Since you need a smartphone for your smartwatch to work at this time consumers are still focused on getting the latest and greatest smartphone. Wearable technology has a niche market right now, same as when cell phones became available in the 70’s only the more fortunate could afford them,” said Orlando Brito, Senior Manager of Store Marketing at LG Electronics.
Rackspace, an open cloud company, conducted research last year on wearable technology. It concluded that while only 18 percent of UK and US respondents have actually used wearable technology, 82 percent of users in America and 71 percent in Britain believed that wearable technology enhanced their lives.
As wearable technology becomes more available to consumers it also brings privacy risks. Google Glass is already banned in many places such as hospitals, at ATMs, and in airports because many fear secret recording or the possibility of taking pictures without others being aware. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear has its own disapproval because many consumers dislike the idea that they have to have the updated smartphone or tablet to accompany the watch.
“I don’t like the idea of Google Glass because it has countless privacy risks. People can now mindlessly take people’s photos without their consent. With Google Glass people can even take pictures of people in dressing rooms without others knowing and it’s downright creepy,” said Valerie Montanez, a junior at MLEC.
Today, countless companies are also coming out with their own wearable technology to enter the race for consumer attention. According to Rackspace smart glasses, fitness bands, and watches are predicted to sell almost 10 million units in 2014, making $3 billion. By 2020, it is said that more than 100 million units will have been sold.