Tag Archives: wearable tech

5 Reasons Why Snapchat Spectacles Will Become a Hit

Google Glass failed because it was used by uncool nerds in shower and maybe due to some other reasons as well. Snapchat recently announced Spectacles, their first hardware offering.

Compared to Google glasses, I see rosier future for the Snapchat spectacles:

1. Hardware supports existing Snapchat product.

You can immediately envision how the new Spectacles actually enhance your Snapchat user experience. Spectacles are slave for overall Snapchat use case and provide natural gateway to deepen your relationship with brand. Google Glass was more branded as a separate product.

2. They are more lifestyle than technology.

spectacles

The glasses look cool. They totally embody Snapchat brand. Spectacles are so LA. They are not looking like bunch of engineers designed it, which has been the Achilles’ heel of many wearables. Wearables should be approached fashion-first, technology-second. Usually it is great if you can create a tribe of followers, unless they are called glassholes.

3. They are meant for only one thing.

You can only record 10s video with it, that´s it. We don´t need swiss army knife wearables, we need wearables that are good at doing on particular thing. The videos are not just replicas of what you would be creating with smartphone. They are circular, which resemble more of human vision. The videos created with Spectacles are unique.

4. They are affordable.

“They’re positioning it as this fun toy for people to engage with, not something that you need to think about as your next big technology investment.”

– Josh Elman, Greylock Partners

They only cost 130 dollars, so teens are more likely to drunk buy them from eCommerce site instead of Apple watch.

5. Spectacles have nothing to lose, but much to gain

“It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.”

– Evan Spiegel (Snapchat CEO)

The CEO of Snapchat calls the spectacles a toy and there will be limited distribution in the beginning. Snapchat will not live or die with Spectacles. However, if Spectacles will become hit, it could have interesting implications for Snapchat. They could free themselves from the confinement of smartphones. Snapchat has already forced brands to create vertical video, maybe this will change on how we approach digital photography in general. Philosophically it is also interesting that Spectacles are meant for the selfie-generation but the focus is outwards. You are filming what happens around you, not yourself.

What starts now as novelty, could become a true game changer.

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Forget the Apple Watch, This is the Only Wearable that Truly Matters…

Stop jacking off, start jacking on…
wankband
Although I have been an early advocate for wearable tech, some of the recent developments in wearables have been cringe-worthy at their best. While waiting for the Apple watch, the wearable space has been disappointing. Until now…

Enter the Wankband.

As we all know, the main developments in Internet technology have been driven by porn industry. Therefore it is only opportunity, that Pornhub should take the role to be the lighting beacon in the future of wearables with their “Wankband”. The idea is simple: wankband creates power when you love yourself (move the band in up & down motion) and then kinetic charger stores the “dirty energy” which you can use for example to charge your phone.

Although I am quite skeptical that this product will ever reach the store shelves, Wankband still embodies the five success requirements that majority of current wearables are missing at the moment:

1. Simple (Anyone can do the up & down movement)
2. Useful (Your phone is always running out of the battery, isn´t it?)
3. Instant gratification (Although you don´t necessarily charge the full battery, the journey to create “dirty energy” is satisfying)
4. Based on existing behavior (Although no one admits it)
5. Well-branded (Catchy name, good-looking site, mentions in PSFK)

The copywriter for the website and the video deserves extra credit as well with great puns.

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Nuttin But A Beats Thang: Apple to The Next Episode

dredaystickers
It has been a real Dre Day, although it is not February 18th.
After long rumor mill, it is finally official. Apple acquired Beats headphones.  The deal has cause quite a lot of buzz around the globe, but I think the deal makes sense from many perspectives:

1. Beats is a good buy.
Buying Beats is not a speculation. Apple is buying a company, who is dominating premium headphones market with over 51% market share (some estimates have it even higher). As Beats is private company there is no public revenue numbers, but there are estimates of 1B of revenue with probably quite high profit margin. Buying 1 billion business for 3 billion is not a long-shot (like WhatsApp acquisition, which had significantly higher price tag) it is pure mathematics. You are buying market leader with an already established business and fast growth.

2. Beats gives Apple a headstart with music streaming service.
Yes, Apple could build their own streaming service, no one doubts that. Having Beats streaming service gives them great launchpad to go into a territory they have neglected. And I would not also worry about negotiating about the rights again. Apple has been quite effective in doing that in the past. Apple CEO Tim Cook stressed the importance of music in the recent interview:

This is all about music, and we’ve always viewed that music was key to society and culture. Music’s always been at the heart of Apple. It’s deep in our DNA. We’ve sold Macs to musicians since the beginning of Macs. And we accelerated the music industry with the digital music revolution with the iPod and the iTunes music store.

When we talk about Apple today, the music has not been on the focus compared to the heyday of iPod & iTunes. This deal makes Apple´s music offering again interesting. The future of music is streaming (although as an avid record collector, the future and past will forever be on vinyl) and that is something where the almighty Steve Jobs was wrong. This acquisition enables Apple to get on the parity with competitors and on the other hand provides Beats Music immediate increase in interest. It is probably no coincidence that Tim Cook mentioned Beats Music as the streaming service which has “gotten it right”.

3. Beats will be an important part of the Apple´s wearable tech puzzle.
You seldom buy companies because of their current state, but because of the current potential. That is where I think this gets really interesting and I am quite sure that Apple will be having some tricks on the sleeves and not just concentrating on music with this acquisition.
iWatch has been rumored for a while. It will probably arrive when you least expect it. It is certain that Apple will enter to the wearables and they will probably do it right as well. Although the wearables have not yet really taken off, believe me eventually they will. We overestimate technological disruption on a short-term and underestimate it on a long-term. Apple has also been massively successful in fulfilling needs of the people, they do not even realize they have.
Beats headphones have been one of the best examples of wearable tech, because they have really nailed the lifestyle aspect. Sound quality is one thing, but you really want to be seen with your Beats headphones. This is something the first wearables have not really grasped. When wearable tech looks ugly only the geekiest early adopters will wear them. And no offence to geeks but they do not start trends. Wearable technology is even more fashion than technology.
Apple has definitely understood this as they have also been recruiting fashion specialists from YSL and Burberry. I don´t believe that is an isolated strategy from the Beats acquisition.

4. Buying beats is getting the right talent
You are hiring Dr. Dre, one of the most legendary music producers ever and Jimmy Iovine, who knows the ins and outs of the music business. Iovine has been also key partner with Apple during the launch iTunes Store. Both are visionaries and can definitely help Apple to shape the future of music and wearable offering. Will they fit in Apple corporate culture? Who knows, but at least you could not hire more capable talent to help you in your future endeavors.

Also I do not really get the talk about how uncharacteristic this acquisition is for Apple.
Yes, they are usually buying smaller and more obscure companies (at least for mainstream audience). Nevertheless they are buying companies.
If you have loaded cash reserves, I don´t understand why you should withdraw from buying other companies. If it makes sense and in this case it does.
Necessary part of evolution of a company is to know when to do something surprising. This was surprising move (initially, not necessarily today because it pretty much just confirmed the rumors), which showcases that Apple does not sway away from being bold.

So put on “The Chronic” on your turntable or your favorite streaming service and:

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Wearable Tech: The End of The Mobile as We Know It?

When observing people playing with their smartphones, tablets and phablets*, it is quite hard to believe that handheld mobile phone is only 40 year old invention and has been in mainstream use only for the last twenty years depending on the country. The influence of mobile phone to human behavior has been profound. When comparing current smartphones to the first bulky ones, they are quite far away from its original purpose of speaking to each other. New devices are definitely mobile, not necessarily that much of phones anymore.

So enter the wearable tech. It will be the next step for the mobile revolution.

Phone has been just a transition period with mobile. Mobile consists of three important elements: freedom, access & connection. You can achieve those with multiple devices. When assessing the future of mobile, there are two major shifts happening. Firstly, we are moving to the age of different screens. Secondly, we are totally defining mobile in a new way. It easy to dismiss wearable tech as a fad, but Sergey Brin raises really important point in this comment from Ted Conference few weeks back:

“Is this the way you’re meant to interact with other people? Is the future of connection just people walking around hunched up, looking down, rubbing a featureless piece of glass? It’s kind of emasculating. Is this what you’re meant to do with your body? You want something that will free your eyes.”

Using of smartphone has created new behavior patterns for us (aptly documented in the excellent Curious Rituals). Wearable tech is ideologically step backwards from smartphones. It is technology adapting to existing human behavior instead of actively changing it. In a way, wearable tech is more natural than using smartphone.

When thinking about possibilities of wearable tech, I would closely benchmark sports companies. Quantified self –movement naturally started from sporting and has evolved lately to other areas. Nike FuelBand is one of the first crossover wearable tech products, which has its roots in sports but expands to other areas as well. The really big potential is with the normal people. Being a sports fanatic myself it is often hard to forget that the target audience of us is lucrative but still quite small. The wearable tech company who is able to tap the mainstream audience will win. And win big: the wearable tech industry is estimated to be worth of $6 billion by the end of the year 2016.

When creating wearable technology, we have to think quite deeply about the issue of what people would wear and what they are wearing now? Looking from that angle, the wearable tech products most likely to hit mainstream should be quite familiar product types. My hunch is that they will be either watches, glasses or clothing (or combination of all of these):

The Revenge of the Watch
Watch has been relevant for hundred of years. You do not necessarily use it to its original purpose of timekeeping, but it has still maintained its role as a status symbol for many people. If you check time from your mobile phones, why would you not send your WeChat-messages from your watch? It will be interesting to see will certain existing watch manufacturers with strong brand equity challenge the technology companies in this field?
Watch out for: Kickstarter all-star Pebble, The rumoured iWatch, traditional existing watch manufacturers, sports watch brands (such as Polar or Suunto)

Using Glasses to Look Be Smarter
What can I say about Google glasses that is not said in this video (NSFW)?

Nevertheless, I want to acquire one pair, despite all the privacy concerns.Google Glass has already competitors as well, but all the eyes will be on the Google on this one.
Important players: Google Glass, Luxottica (world´s largest eyewear company)

Maxwell Smart was Right
With clothing technology this rubber boot phone is definitely the most interesting one:
Rubber Boot Phone
(Designer Sean Miles project for O2)

Jokes aside, the smart clothing has more supporting function with wearable technology accessories (maybe excluding bracelets). Different sensors can track things in clothing, but it is unlikely that we use our underwear as the main starting point for our mobile communication or access. That being said, combination of smartphone and smart clothing will probably be quite crucial in the transition period when moving to the new era of mobile. Especially if quantified self- phenomenon continues expanding to even more mainstream audiences.

Will wearable tech be the future of mobile?
I truly think so. The question is when that future is evenly distributed to the whole world?

* Contender for the most annoying word invented in last couple of years.

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