Feeds

Google wearables: A solution looking for a rich nerd

Some revolutions never happen. This might be one of them

The essential guide to IT transformation

+Analysis If you've spent any time looking at transport technology - how cars and trains got here - you've got a head start over most VCs and pundits in understanding wearable computing. I'll explain why.

Google's Android Wear is the biggest deal in wearable computing since Microsoft's abortive SPOT 12 years ago.

And Google hasn't waited for technology to get smaller or better or cheaper - it's forging ahead, creating a platform while others hesitate. It wants to tame the Wild West that is wearable computing today - or, more accurately, own it. So instead of "inventing" wearable computing, Apple will now be obliged to "re-invent" it. And looking at the developer documentation, Google's done a nice job.

But the really big questionmarks over this market haven't yet been addressed. Beyond the fitness/health niches, all the general purpose wearables today are really a consumer "solution" looking for a problem. The benefits (current and future) accrue entirely to the manufacturer. They get more data about us in their vast data warehouses, or increase their footprint in areas which might be useful in the future, such as home automation. This is all still technology push.

What's in it for us?

No doubt it's good for Google, as the world's largest personal data collector, for us all to convert to Android Wear. It will be another gold mine for the spooks. The data industry finds another part of the analog world to record and analyse. But there's no sign of any significant demand, or pull.

That's because the wearables today simply don't add much convenience to our lives - but still incur a add a considerable cost and inconvenience of their own. Give me a wearable that I didn't ever have to recharge, or only needed to recharge once a month, that cost under £20, and that gave reliable notifications of calls or messages received on my phone, and instantly gave me a zoomable map - and maybe then we're talking.

Has Google solved any of this with Android Wear? Well, look at the video - and you tell me.

In this 90-second video, you will see a smartphone just once. At 10 seconds in, somebody is looking at a phone as they board a bus. (Is it a Google Bus, about to be overturned by anti-capitalist protestors? We never find out).

The most striking thing in this phone-less imaginary world is how much convenience the Android Wear watch offers over having No Phone. But how little it offers to anyone already carrying a phone - especially carrying one in their hand.

These are what people in the video use their Wear device to do: receive traffic info, receive weather info, an electronic boarding pass, send a text message, ID music, and open a garage door. How many of these applications or services were touted by Microsoft for SPOT 12 years ago? Almost all of them. How many are not in smartphone apps we already use daily? Possibly the garage door. That's it.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Next page: Steam and diesel

More from The Register

next story
Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins
More USB ports than your laptop? You'd better believe it...
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?