wearable computers

Wearable computers

A report released by Forrester Research says that the wearable computing wars are about to begin. They predict that consumers will begin experimenting more with wearable computers over the coming year, specifically around health and fitness, navigation, social networking and gaming. This new theme among consumers will hasten big tech companies to begin creating wearable computing products.

In a blog post on the Forrester Web site, Sarah Rotman Epps, the personal computer analyst who wrote the report, said that wearable computing was about to move into the mainstream and the big technology companies in Silicon Valley would help hasten its adoption.

“Wearable devices, or ‘wearables’ for short, have enormous potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media,” Ms. Epps wrote in the blog post. “Imagine video games that happen in real space.  Or glasses that remind you of your colleague’s name that you really should know. Or paying for a coffee at Starbucks with your watch instead of your phone. Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways, trivial and substantial, that we are just starting to imagine.”

The report says that Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, along with each company’s developer communities, will bring about a new platform war — not dissimilar to the mobile battles that are taking place today. The race to own this new computing space will help accelerate the creation of wearable computers.

In the report, Ms. Epps outlined how each company can benefit consumers with its current war chest. “Apple has the most polished marketing, channel and brand,” she writes, “Google has an open platform and license to dabble. Microsoft has the best depth sensor yet. Amazon has information on more than 100 million products and their buyers. Facebook has a Rolodex — and facial recognition — for 800 million people.”

These companies will likely be paying attention to the lessons they have learned from the smartphone wars.

As I wrote in a Disruptions column last year, wearables will likely seep into mainstream over the next five years and become commonplace over the next decade. The Forrester report predicts this could happen much faster.

Earlier this month Google finally pulled back the curtain on a secret project called Project Glass that can augment a person’s vision through a computerlike pair of glasses. The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.

Via New York Times