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?