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PC Pro - - Viewpoints - An­drew Fletcher

I read this week that the cur­rent state of wear­able de­vices is a bit like the smart­phone mar­ket preiPhone, in that while the prod­ucts ex­ist, no-one has quite cracked the for­mat in such a ubiq­ui­tous and last­ing way that Ap­ple did. I dis­agree.

As an “early adopter” who has pur­chased four or five watches and bands from var­i­ous man­u­fac­tur­ers, I’m stag­gered by quite how poorly de­signed some of the sim­pler el­e­ments of th­ese prod­ucts are. Two de­vices that I’ve owned fea­tured bands with clasps that rou­tinely came un­done and caused me to lose both de­vices. One had the sen­sors built into the band, which split in two places af­ter just three months’ use and the whole thing went in the bin. I don’t have such prob­lems with my watch straps, which all utilise the same clasp de­sign that just works. Is­sues of this type are es­pe­cially an­noy­ing when you con­sider that the bands often dis­agree on things like step count by up to 30%, and sleep and ex­er­cise track­ing are er­ratic (I once hit 70mph on my road bike, ap­par­ently).

The smart­phone only took off be­cause en­thu­si­asts per­sisted and, as the qual­ity im­proved, more peo­ple bought into them. My early smart­phones look clunky now, but at the time they were amaz­ing de­vices. Wearables will al­ways be a hard sell, but when un­nec­es­sary is­sues alien­ate the core de­mo­graphic, what hope is there for them achiev­ing true adop­tion?

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