Clearing up wearables confusion

Staff Writer By Staff Writer - November 3rd, 2014
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With the launch of any new tech product category comes initial confusion, specifically around exactly what it's designed to do.

Remember the launch of the iPad? The so-called 'oversized iPhone' was hardly hailed as a game-changing device, but it went on to sell millions in the years since. In fact, the fourth quarter of 2013 saw 14.1 million iPads sold, compared to 4.6 million Macs.

Another new device category has now entered the ring, and it's certainly the subject of much discussion - wearables.

Defining a wearable device

The first step to clearing up confusion is defining exactly what a wearable device is. According to, they are "electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body."

This definition obviously paints a picture of people wearing computerised clothing, but the majority of current wearables are smartwatches. 

What do they do?

Wearables are currently in a strange position when it comes to function, similar to the iPad when it launched. Like the tablet, they're taking some of what smartphones do and improving it. For example, the iPad made mobile web browsing more enjoyable by utilising a bigger screen.

Wearables, on the other hand, transition notifications from the phone to the wrist, so information is only a glance away. The basic idea is that SMS, email and social alerts are sent subtly to your wrist, so there's no need to pull out your phone.

Where are they going?

The wearable market is certainly growing, with a substantial number of units expected to ship this year. Research by Canalys in February found 1.6 million smart bands shipped in the second half of 2013, with a prediction of 17 million shipped by the end of 2014.

This is only the beginning for wearables, and with focused efforts from major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Motorola and LG, they're certain to continue growing and improving.

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Staff Writer

For the words, not the glory!

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