Nov 15, 2018 | By Allyson Rees
Experience Lifestyle & Interiors on WGSN.
Jan 08, 2017
For the past few years, CES has been an reliable measure of the latest trends and innovations in wearable tech. Starting with the excitement around Intel and Opening Ceremony’s bracelet MICA in 2014, and continuing with the rise of pioneer brands such as Misfit, Fitbit and Pebble – as well as big launches from tech giants such as Samsung – every year has seen wearables become more advanced and more hyped.
But the most common complaint – that wearable tech is not beautiful enough, or tactile enough – has persisted. Each year, we see headlines asking if wearable tech will finally become ‘wearable’. This year, smart bracelets, bands and watches looked better than ever. At Fossil Group’s booth, product showcases from Misfit, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Skagen included handcrafted leather and gold smartwatches, fine metal bands and woven textile bracelets.
Today’s wearable tech looks like ‘normal’ fashion, and it’s getting more functional too. The usual painpoints are evaporating – the latest products can retain their charge for up to six months, be worn in the shower or while swimming (even in seawater), and analyse a mezze of biometrics as standard.
And yet – the palpable excitement around wearables was entirely absent from CES this year. Other than Misfit’s new touchscreen smartwatch, Vapor, there were no major launches. After big introductions in hardware last year, Fitbit this year focused on a software update – introducing a Community feature as well as personalized workout videos.
Outside of the big brands, in the smaller booths, innovations were alive and well – we’re excited by the potential of the Tapdo wristband, which lets you assign touch control to different areas of your hand – and smart clothing continues to advance.
Revolution has become evolution: changes are more subtle, and so are not grabbing headlines right now – CES this year is all about the robots. But wearable tech fans shouldn’t give up hope yet – when a trend becomes so normal that it’s barely talked about, it can simply mean that the hype cycle has passed, and now the real mainstreaming of the technology can begin. Maybe this even means that the word ‘wearable’ will be retired (I can always hope) – and that tech will come as standard in the clothes and accessories of the near-future.
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