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Geek Chic

Smartwatches

10/3/2012

What is this, 2005? Put away that Bluetooth headset, you’re not impressing anyone. What was once a status symbol of geek chic is now a cliché.                

Headsets are often mocked as a symbol of the corporate lifestyle and not being able to escape work or making people look like they’re talking to themselves.                

So, what we need is less Mission Impossible and more Dick Tracy. Something discreet, yet embraces the traditional sense of fashion. That’s where smartwatches come into play.                

Instead of strapping a Borg implant to your face and looking like the recipient of a practical joke, smartwatches disguise themselves as something we already wear (or wore) and connect to your phone to display info and let you control your music.                

Is there a market for such gadgets? Pebble’s Kickstarter pulled in more than $10 million and proved that there’s a market for a new wearable device, with a dozen more competitors on the horizon.                

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Backers of the original fundraiser should expect their units by the end of year, but what can we expect to do with them? Initial demos are showing use cases for fitness, syncing with your phone’s fitness apps like RunKeeper (already confirmed) and pushing email/SMS to the watch’s display. After years of carrying gadgets in our pockets, we’re just now perfecting wearing them.                

But what comes next? If scifi stories are to be believed, it shouldn’t be long until we’re implanting devices that augment our natural abilities. Wear contacts to correct your vision? How about contacts that not only improve your vision, but also give you a heads up display to annotate the world around you?                

While putting this into contact lenses seems far fetched, wearable glasses with superimposed augmented reality projections are already generating buzz following Google’s Project Glass demonstration this summer. How much longer until we’re routinely looking at a bar and knowing how many people are checked in and talking about it? CV

Robert Anhalt is Director of Content at Geek Speak Forum and contributes to Cityview.

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