March 6, 2014

Smartwatches and the future of apps

Written By Martin Sandhu

Wearable Tech

Wearable tech was the star of the show at CES earlier this year, with smartwatches and dominating.

The wearabilty of smartglasses does seem to be hindering its success though – many consumers are worried that they’ll look a bit daft walking around like something out of Star Trek – it means that smartwatches are proving to be significantly more popular and a much more discreet option.

They offer a middleman between the user and their smartphone, allowing them to carry out simple tasks like reading text messages or making calls, without the need to get their smartphone out of their bag or pocket. Many also act as a traditional watch (remember those!) and some offer the smartwatch specific apps too.

Pebble launched its app store last month with around 1,000 apps, including FourSquare, ESPN and a plethora of fitness applications. There’s even a banking app that vibrates to let you know when you’re close to reaching your overdraft.

As technology becomes a more integral part of our everyday lives, consumers look to devices and apps that can support them in their daily routines. The popularity of the Nike Fuelband on its own proves just how willing users are to have a device around their wrist 24/7, one that is linked up to a smartphone provides a whole host of new opportunities, both for consumers and app developers.

Currently only Pebble and Razer Nabu have opened up to allow developers to create apps for their devices, but as the wearable tech market grows it goes without saying that more will follow suit – the more apps a device has the more appealing to consumers it is.

Currently those wanting to create smartphone apps are faced with some challenges, the screen size is an obvious one, but power, battery life and compatibility all need to be overcome too, perhaps limiting what apps can do initially.

It’s likely that health and fitness apps will continue to lead the way, but as developers begin to get more comfortable with smartwatches and start to understand how they are used, the technology is ripe for experimentation.