Wearable computing devices (like Google Glass, Jawbone Up, Nike+ FuelBand, iHealth, and Samsung Galaxy Gear, among others) have made a big splash in the consumer market. My colleague Sarah Rotman Epps’ analysis shows that Google Glass could be the next big App Platform. Fitness wearables might be a bit overhyped, but it’s nevertheless becoming common to see people sporting Nike+ FuelBand devices everywhere you go. No less a tech industry luminary than Mary Meeker recently declared wearables the next wave of computing (see slide 49).
At an event in Berlin today, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Gear, a $299 smartwatch that improves upon the decade of smartwatches that came before it (Pebble, Sony, Metawatch, Microsoft SPOT) but still doesn’t give consumers a convincing reason to buy one. As expected, it syncs with some Samsung smartphones, showing alerts and letting users send and receive calls, and check emails and text messages. But the watch gets only one day of battery life, which means you have to charge it nightly like you do your phone (and having tested various wearables that have this requirement, it means you are much less likely to get into the habit of wearing it than a wearable with 10-day battery life like the Fitbit Flex). It also may not live up to the durability claims of other watches like the Casio G-Shock, although I haven’t tested this personally—again, a deal killer when it comes to wearables.