Wearable technologies’ roller coaster

Recently Nike made an abrupt exit from the crowded wearable technology market. The sportswear giant fired much of the team responsible for the development of its FuelBand.

Since the new of the discontinuation was made public, the rumors about that the company’s Fuelband software could end up in the Apple iWatch have increased and, with them, the speculation that Apple will launch its smart-watch later this year.

Almost at the same time, last Tuesday, Seattle based tech giant Amazon announced the launch of its Wearable Technology store, an online storefront designed to be a hub for the buzzword-worthy world of wearable devices.

Post-Wearable Tecnology roller coaster

Credit: blog.utest.com

Over the last years wearable technology has become an exciting field with rapid innovation. From smart glasses to fitness bands to watches, wearables are poised to generate nearly $3 billion in 2014 and research firm IDC predicted in 2013 that the wearables market will reach 112 million units in 2018 according to Time.

Even if the wearable market doubles or triples over the next years, it is still very small and exactly what form it will take remains to be seen. A recent research from Endeavour Partners in the US featured in The Guardian, found that one-third of American consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. What’s more, while one in 10 American adults own some form of activity tracker, half of them no longer use it.

What’s the problem with smart-watches and fitness trackers? Are they just too early? Or is it something more fundamental?

What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments!

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Apple’s plans to redefine mobile health

The lure of wearable technology and its application to health is tremendous. So tremendous that even the richest company on the planet, Apple, can’t resist it.

The company’s interest in healthcare and fitness tracking will be displayed in an iOS 8 application codenamed Healthbook capable of tracking several different health and fitness data points. Which data will the app monitor it is not clear but over the last weeks, speculation and mockups have intensified. Some say it will track bloodwork, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, physical activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and weight.

Healthbook will read health and fitness data from wearable devices such as the iWatch Apple is also developing. The smart watch will serve as an accessory to the iPhone and other iOS devices, giving users easy at-a-glance access to common functions without having to take their larger devices out of their pockets or bags. It will also incorporate a number of sensors and biometrics. Rumors have suggested that the iWatch could also serve as a control device for home automation and there are reports suggesting it could come in multiple sizes for a customized fit.

Getting the “iWatch” and this app into the hands of consumers may take some time. Apple is not only on its own timetable for this product, but it will likely need to follow the schedules of governments. The company has begun meeting with the FDA regarding medical applications and last February was seeking people to test health related software.

Seven years out from the revolutionary iPhone’s introduction, Apple’s entry into the health and sensor world is not a matter of if it will happen, but it comes down to how long it will take for the company to implement its vision of reinventing mobile healthcare.

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Recreation of a screenshots of the Healthbook. Credit: 9to5mac.com