Where is Microsoft's wearable tech?Written by Mark Wilson on January 14, 2014 - 04:43AM @MarkWilsonWords
Throughout 2013 we saw the arrival of a raft of wearable device. The likes of Pebble and Galaxy Gear fought for space on wrists all over the world, but it is probably Google Glass that is causing the most excitement. Amongst all the names showing off watches, glasses and other devices that can adorn the body, there's one name that have been notable by its absence: Microsoft.
There have been rumors for some time that Microsoft is working on its own version of Google Glass, and it would certainly be interesting to see what sort of dent the company would be able to make on the market. Wearable tech is still very much in its infancy, but 2014 could well the year that things really start to take off.
But the question that needs to be asked is "is it what people want?". There have been a few problems with wearable devices so far. Really, they are not problems unique to this market, but looks and price are major sticking points. Any developing technology is bound to be comparatively expensive, but there is the risk that it makes the technology elitist.
Looks are important to the success of any wearable device. Units that are ugly are going to have very limited appeal, after all. The problem with smart watches being super bulky are starting to be eliminated, and there are now various devices to choose from which are not significantly bulkier than a regular, dumb watch.
Watches are great, but the futuristic look and feel of a pair of glasses like Google Glass really does get people excited. With early adopters used to paying a premium, there has to come a time when pricing levels out to a point that makes it accessible to a wider range of people. We all love the idea of a HUD accompanying our day to day activities, but what price tag would be appropriate?
We already know that headsets and watches are incredibly popular, and it's likely that Microsoft will go down one or both of these routes at some point in the future. But what other wearable devices would you like to see? Could intelligent jewelry take off? Imagine a necklace or bracelet that acts as portable storage, transferring files using NFC.
This likes of Xbox One's Kinect show that Microsoft is already capable of producing some impressive smart hardware, and there is potential for use in business as well as the home for the right product.
Shoes with built-in pedometers and other trackers would be another interesting option, but would probably require collaboration with a footwear manufacturer. There's scope for plenty of other wardrobe additions. Rather than using a plethora of gadgets to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature etc, how about simply donning a smart t-shirt that could beam this information to your phone.
What are you looking for from wearable tech? Share your thoughts and ideas below.