Author(s): Peter Bryer
Wearables continue to mature. The core functions are being camouflaged by top style brands and designer good looks.
CCS Insight has previously highlighted that wearables need to fashion flare before being taken seriously by the masses (see Blog: Wearables Must Be Fashionable or Invisible to Succeed). Looks now matter as much as function, and the makers of wearables are now rolling out lines of gadgets based on well-known fashion brands in an attempt to better appeal to women. However, it's too early to tell whether it's enough to engage a broad market of women as opposed to early adopters alone.
It's official: the wearables segment has moved beyond its ugly phase (see Daily Insight: Beauty and the Beast). Devices like Google Glass had a high price and a painfully technical take on conspicuous consumption, and the awkward look of the device identified the wearer as a tech innovator. But that stage has passed.
Now the makers of fitness trackers are designing devices intended for more than just occasional use. Partnerships are being formed to raise looks to the level of features. Wearables companies are making the rounds, pairing up with popular women's brands to let the world know that wearables have grown up.
Misfit has recently partnered with brands such as Swarovski and Victoria's Secret to bring out round and sleek new editions of its Shine fitness monitor. Fans of early wearables wouldn't recognise them.
Bellabeat makes an activity tracker called Leaf, which looks nothing like a connected device and is intended to be worn as a pendant or a bracelet. Mira makes a bracelet called Band that has space for a detachable tracker with a small LED display that looks nothing like a screen. It's all about being discreet.
It's encouraging that wearables have become a more natural extension of real lifestyles. This generation of devices will be a useful barometer of wide-scale demand. Wearables are being embedded into jewellery and clothing, hiding the tech below layers of looks. Devices for women and men are looking good.