BreakingModern — Samsung predicts wearables will redefine “power dressing” in 2015, encouraging competition among friends as everyone rushes to be the first to have the latest smartwatch or fitness band. However, for the technology to go mainstream, it needs to also appeal to the portion of the population that has so far been disappointed in the physical appearance of wearables. Smartwatches and fitness bands have, up to now, been mostly geared toward techies, with design features that make them more functional than attractive.
Perhaps realizing this, manufacturers have begun stepping up their game, launching products that don’t fit the traditional wearable color scheme of black or gray. These wearables are bringing new design options to consumers everywhere, increasing products’ appeal to both technophiles and style-conscious consumers.
Google will reportedly refresh its Glass wearable in 2015 with Intel hardware inside. This report followed concerns that the product would suffer an early death due to its chip manufacturer ending support. For an additional $225, Glass owners can now add a little style to the eyewear with a selection of frames that extend color options. Sunglass options are also now available to provide wearers comfortable outdoor wear. And they look so good.
For customers who wear prescription lenses, Google Glass frames can be equipped with prescription lenses. An eye care provider is required to switch the non-prescription lenses for a prescription version.
Techies have long been excited about the connectivity promised by smartwatches. What could be better than reading texts and emails or taking calls on a small wrist-bound device? So far, these devices have been largely unattractive, with plain black bands and large screens. The Asus ZenWatch features a sporty brown band, but it’s hardly fashion runway material.
The Apple Watch, due in early 2015, will finally bring visual appeal to the smartwatch space. In addition to its gold, aluminum and stainless steel watches, Apple gives buyers a wide variety of band choices. Customers can opt for a link bracelet, sport band, leather loop, classic buckle, modern buckle or Milanese loop. When combined with a choice of 11 different face styles, each customer can create a look that matches his or her unique style.
When a consumer wears a fitness tracker, it becomes part of that person’s daily jewelry. Yet many fitness trackers more closely resemble a prisoner bracelet than a piece of fashion. One of the most-popular trackers, Fitbit Flex, tried for fashion by issuing its band in different colors, but each Fitbit still bears the same basic look.
Now that fitness-tracking capabilities are built into the iPhone, manufacturers must find ways to remain relevant. Sensoria builds its trackers into items consumers wear to work out, including socks, sports bras and T-shirts, but this limits wear to workouts, when most consumers want to track fitness throughout the day. Both the Garmin VivoSmart and Nike+ FuelBand are sleek and attractive although limited in color choices.
Wearables are moving beyond simply tracking users’ fitness levels. They can now be used to track seizures, check smartphone notifications and detect medical issues. As they become more popular, they’ll also need to become fashionable in order to appeal to the mass consumer market. These wearables are a great start toward that goal.
For BMod, I’m Stephanie Faris.
First image: © momius / Dollar Photo Club
Second image: “Google Glass with GPOP charcoal skin” by brownpau via Flickr Creative Commons
Third/Featured image: © Innovated Captures / Dollar Photo Club
Header image: By Jobu0101 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons