Computer clothes. Sounds a little silly, but that’s where we’re headed.
Once the laptop allowed us to take our Word docs and photo albums and email accounts with us, the push toward smaller, lighter and more portable tech options has inspired the creation of smart phones and tablets. And we already have the first wearable computing options with the Sony SmartWatch.
What’s the next step? Google’s Project Glass video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4) provides some enticing possibilities. We’re not there yet, but one analyst, Forrester’s Sarah Rotman Epps, predicts, “In three years, wearables will matter to every product strategist.” That includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.
As with previous breakthroughs, someone will have to step up and take the risks and rewards of being first-in, followed by the subsequent versions and adaptations that will emerge from competitors once the market has been established. Rotman expects Google to be a major player because of the open nature of its Android platform. However, given Apple’s track record of turning big ideas into practical products, we would not be surprised if the first wearable computing fashions and accessories had the Apple logo in place of the Izod crocodile.
Rotman advises developers to start cutting deals now with companies like Nike and Adidas, not to mention sunglass and eyeglass manufacturers, which should be at the forefront of this next step in high-tech devices.
One thing is for certain – the smaller we make our computers, the easier it is to lose them. Losing a laptop, or having one stolen, may not be a common occurrence – but how many of us have lost a cell phone or a pair of sunglasses? Once important personal information is uploaded into these devices, they are as vulnerable to a security breach as any desktop computer.
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