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5 forward-looking wearables

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This sponsored post is created by SchneiderMike, VP of Marketing at Skyhook Wireless Inc.

The wearable-technology industry is full of competition, and the toughest challenge wearable manufacturers will face is standing apart from this crowd. Credit Suisse reports that the wearable market is already worth up to $5 billion today and is expected to grow to as much as $50 billion in the next two to three years. The winners will make products that people want to wear and can’t live without, like today’s smartphones. For wearables, 2014 will be “The Year of Natural Selection.”

Some wearable companies are already developing devices that work better than their competitors – and are set to shoot by them next year. These advantageous features include operating without a smartphone, app compatibility, the use of Wi-Fi and location, and a battery-conscious design.

Here are the top five forward-looking wearables:

Recon Jet/Snow

A manufacturer that provides both smart snow goggles and smart glasses, Recon has an app platform that enables their customers to have a consistent experience with the apps they already use in their everyday lives. The Recon platform and SDK empower third-party developers to create apps for any activity, providing the same capabilities as smartphones — including native location thanks to GPS and Wi-Fi.

“Third-party apps, especially those made by small companies and dedicated individuals, will take a central role in the wearables category,” Recon CPO Shane Luke said. “We see this with Recon Snow products today, where people have built things as diverse as ultralight aircraft navigation apps and search-and-rescue apps on our hardware”.

With built-in Wi-Fi, the Recon Jet and Snow enable users to track their activity in relation to location as well as connect to the Internet anywhere. Location data at the device level provides an extremely valuable context layer that elevates the Recon Jet’s user experience, providing a complete picture of data. The Recon Jet smart glasses consist of a standalone microcomputer with sensors and networking capabilities that people would expect from their smartphones.

Fin

A wearable transmitter that turns your palm and fingers into a touch interface, Fin helps people control their household and mobile devices with their hands. It’s not just pairing with smartphones and apps but integrating with hardware such as car radios and smart TVs. The Fin is building a gesture platform for other smart devices, enabling people to control up to three devices at a time using only swipes and taps. The ring-shaped wearable device sits on the thumb and communicates with devices using Bluetooth.

Fin’s battery-conscious design enables the device to last up to a month on one charge when it’s in power-saving mode. An SDK is in the works for release in September, which should enable third-party developers to create their own compatible apps for Fin.

Vuzix M100

The Vuzix M100 smart glasses come with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The smart glasses enable wearers to launch apps from their smartphones, displaying them on the 800-by-400 pixel screen. The M100 is compatible with thousands of existing Android apps, paving the way for people to access apps they love such as Instagram and Evernote.

The Vuzix M100 comes with easy access to developer resources so third-party developers can create their own apps that connect to the Vuzix M100.

The Vuzix M100 comes with an integrated head-tracking and GPS system that not only provide apps with your location but even the direction and angle of your current view for unprecedented situational awareness.

Razer Nabu

A combo of a fitness band and a smartwatch, the Razer Nabu “smartband” has a battery life of seven to 10 days while offering features such as counting steps, distance, and calories and even registering altitude and monitoring sleep quality.

Nabu’s open development platform gives third-party developers the tools to create engaging apps, such as a gaming app that transforms the world into one huge playground or a shopping app that lets you pay for your purchases by simply walking out of the store.

Kiwi Move

The clip-on wearable device Kiwi Move senses motion, temperature, and sound while maintaining battery life for up to five days. The Kiwi Move has Wi-Fi and pairs with Android and iOS devices.

Kiwi provides a developer platform for the creation of third-party apps ahead of their official launch, so that when they do launch, people have apps that they can start using immediately. The Kiwi Move has already inspired people with many sensor-based apps of their own, including fitness improvement, sports tracking, and voice input apps that show what the Kiwi move is capable of. The Gesture app enables people to create their own gestures to control the app, Internet, and home appliances and the When/Do app automates activities like “when I wake up, make coffee.”

In 2014 …

We will see wearables expand their capabilities and begin to compete on overall user experience of their devices. Better UX means integrating into people’s lives and developing ways for them to interact with the third-party apps they already know and love. Soon, consumers will expect much of the same functionality from their wearable device as they do from their smartphones. In such a competitive market, better user experience means better user adoption.

To learn more about the wearable technology industry in 2014 download Skyhook’s eBook: How Location Data is Fueling the Wearable Revolution.


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