Where Google Glass Went Wrong and Android Wearables Went Right
As the market expands to wearable devices there are a few more things to be concerned about then how close we are to being able to our very own personal Jarvis. Wearable Devices hit the market last year with Google Glass. Before GoPro could panic after seeing the promotional videos, consumers started finding problems with Glass.
Besides the insanely high price of $1,500, Glass implemented an interface that the market just wasn’t ready for. The voice recognition software removed the element of anonymity, and the screen become an obstruction rather than an assistance to daily life.
Apple and Android proposed their own solutions by creating watches instead of glasses. This more minimal approach helps consumers ease into the idea of wearables working alongside their current devices. Android wearables are already on the market with big name competitors: LG, Samsung, and Motorola. The Apple iWatch is coming “Early 2015”.
While moving the screen off of our faces and back closer to our hands has dramatically helped the market, Android Wearables haven’t quite hit the nail on the head. And sure most reviews complain about the graphics and overall user experience, there are a few more pressing concerns that need to be addressed before Wearables can claim a stronger hold on the market.
Wearables connect via BlueTooth to mobile devices. BlueTooth has been around since 1994, and as such even the NSA has compiled a list of things to know about keeping safe while transmitting wireless data. BlueTooth assures that is is safe, but if we’ve seen anything in the Tech World it’s that if it exists, someone will hack it.
Even if Android remains aloof and unhackable, there still exists the problem of other people in the vicinity. With wearables relying heavily on speech to text technology, keeping information private in a crowded place just became harder.
Wearables have attempted to reduce the speech necessary with lots of touch gestures and by encouraging users to still reach into their pockets to pick up their device. But what’s the point then? Does this not reduce the device to a fancy looking pager?
The Android interface functions around the user of “cards” which can be swiped on and off the screen of the watch. But currently, the gestures are limited and many users complain that the experience is not very user friendly. Once notifications are dismissed, they can not be recovered. Cards representing widgets pushed off the screen also can’t be recovered, and the user is left without a weather app until the device decides to refresh itself.
While these can all be chalked up to user errors and first time mistakes of creating a new product, they are still things developers needs to address. A watch face is simply too small to have a fully functional keyboard and offer the same experience as a smart phone.
This seems to be one of the smallest concerns the market has, mostly because the battery life offered is simply small. Most users can’t get more than a day out of their watches before charging. The most recent wearable, Moto 360, boasts a much higher battery life of up to four to five days.
Battery life will always be a concern. The Devil’s Advocate can argue the same thing about mobile phones though.
The purpose of Google Glass was to replace the computer. To always have something on you, right at our disposal. Android’s Wearables don’t aim for that though.Their function is to enhance the use of your smart phone.
The market quickly rejected Glass as nothing more than a fancy toy, because it couldn’t find a use for it. Wearables though, allow for an enhanced experience by allowing users to hold onto what is familiar. Because of this “hand holding” into newer technology, the market has already surpassed the Google Glass despite only just being released in the last quarter.
New tech always creates new problems. As of right now, most of the wearable market is composed of techies. As the devices transfer down to the average user who isn’t quite as interested in the backend details, we’ll find out just how well Wearables can battle the Google Glass.