Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (74%)
Vertical is the killer app
Jason Perlow: My esteemed colleague fears that because Glass has fallen on its posterior, it will potentially take the rest of the wearables industry down. I think we are being a bit too hasty here.
First, I think we all can agree that wearable computing covers a number of form factors, not just augmented reality monocles like Glass. These include those systems being tested by the military and police forces for anti-terrorism operations, numerous engineering and field scenarios as well as medical/hospital use. Wearable computing includes simple sensors like the Fitbit, smartwatches like the Pebble as well as more vertical-purposed and much more higher-end devices than even Glass.
Vertical has always been the killer app for wearables. And in vertical scenarios nobody cares if you look bizarre wearing one or if the user is pointing a camera at you. In short, in a purely vertical scenario, nobody is being a Glasshole. The wearer is simply doing their job.
The problem we need to solve is not with the wearable technology itself, which we know can and will improve with further development. It all has to do with the behavior of the wearer and social acceptance of its use.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: We've spent the most of this millennium making devices smaller. Now that these devices are about as small as they can get, we're reversing the trend (maybe because we ruined out eyesight on those small screens in the first place) and this leaves a gap in the market for small devices, which are collectively known as wearables.
But the current crop of wearables are fatally flawed. Not only are prices too high, and stylistically they look a mess, but on top of that most do little more than duplicate features already present on smartphones and tablets, but with the added limitation of not being able to function independently of another device.
In an era when we've seen so much convergence in the tech world, with so many features being packed into a single device – the smartphone – the wearables industry wants to turn that around and get people buying companion devices once again.