Feeds

Google wearables: A solution looking for a rich nerd

Some revolutions never happen. This might be one of them

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Steam and diesel

It amazes technology historians that Britain developed 20,000 miles (32,000km) of railway around the middle of the 19th century. No village in the land was further than 15 miles from a railway station, and many communities had a choice of two. The operating companies were simultaneously the largest companies in the world at the time - I believe LNW, today's West Coast Main Line, was the largest. And yet, because, they were debt-ridden and had overextended themselves, they were also constantly broke. They staggered on because stream-powered rail was a vastly superior technology to horses or canals; it was the only game in town.

But at the first sign of competition, from urban trams at the turn of the 20th Century, the edifice collapsed. The British train companies were "grouped" and then, later, nationalised.

In other countries, whose industrial development lagged behind the UK (ie, everyone), the mind-boggling track splurge never took place, because a more "personal" and convenient transport technology came along: the internal combustion engine. Countries developed urban mass transit, and trunk routes between conurbations, but everything else was left to make internal combustion engine-powered travel easier.

Some pundits (and readers) see an inexorable progression of the dominant technology platform into ever smaller and more wearable things. This enthusiasm was summed up by Martin Geddes recently: "Luggage, portable, mobile, wearable, implantable, ingestible, excretable. One day, you will be crapping computers, the new human parasite". Wearable enthusiasts point to our capacity for carrying multiple gadgets around with us.

But for a Wearable World to transpire, where it is the dominant platform, the smartphone has to give way. We must imagine it will collapse just as the Victorian train companies collapsed. I simply don't see that, for the reason Google has inadvertently illustrated in its video.

In developed markets we already have general purpose smartphones that do everything Google has demonstrated: there's no killer app, which translates into significantly greater convenience. Since voice remains the most popular human communication mechanism, so the phone - or a phone, of some kind - will be with us.

Is this "New Era of Wearable Computing" really just next year's round-up of Earpieces? I'm beginning to think it is. And that doesn't sound anything like as sexy, does it? ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.