Final Words

While consumers may see the wearable market as early or immature, their proliferation seems inevitable. Wearables have not quite crossed the chasm yet, but the investment major consumer companies are making is only going to grow. Functionally, some use cases such as running are fairly well addressed now, and if you’re an avid runner you could be quite pleased with the developments of 2014. For other use cases such as smart watches or weight lifting, there is still a ways to go. Socially, people have accepted passive activity trackers like Fitbit but are still getting used to wearables such as smart watches or Google Glass.

Tracking the market through 2015 will be interesting as Microsoft’s Health platform does battle with Android Wear and Google does battle with Tizen. The Apple Watch launching in early 2015 could also be a watershed moment for wearables if those devices enter the main stream. All the while, smaller (but more established) players like Fitbit and Pebble continually improve to prevent gains by the big three.

You may have noticed that AnandTech has only performed one comprehensive wearable review. Admittedly, part of the reason has been finding time between all the other important launches, but another reason is we would like reader feedback on content. What do you desire from an AnandTech wearable review? Battery life testing is obviously important, but what about other tests or subjective analysis? Is wearable screen quality important to you? Voice recognition? Durability? Obviously all things are important to some degree, but providing feedback will help us focus. Please use the comments thread below to describe why you are, or are not, interested in wearables as well as aspects of wearables that require evaluation for you to find value.

I mentioned I have a Moto360 in house and have requested some other samples. Your feedback and these devices will combine for increased wearable content in 2015.

Wearable Products in 2014: Microsoft, Apple & Others
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  • zachrohlfs - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    Good article on the devices. My one thought running through every page is who still wears a watch? I know a lot of people who do not wear or do not like to wear watches.

    I think I am more curious about when the in ear bullet will arrive with a phone in your pocket that can translate on the fly people speaking around you and have your smartphone push selected notifications to it.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    First they need to make an in-ear device that doesn't leave my ear aching after an hour of talking. Maybe that's just me, but there's a reason hearing aids require special fitting and cost a ton of money (relatively speaking). Reply
  • Stephen Barrett - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    yeah I just had to return some in ear headphones cause of that. really not a fan Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    I can use non-custom in ear headphones for more than an hour without ache, it's highly subjective, tho also highly dependent on the design and tips used (and IEM usually have a far wider variety of that than BT devices).

    That being said, for greatest comfort you'd want an actual in ear (canal) type of fit and not something that's resting outside... I'm not sure most people want that level of isolation on a 24/7 basis just to interact with their phones...

    At least not until geeks start falling in love with operating systems.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    I wouldn't call the comfort of in-ear devices subjective so much as highly dependent on the shape of your ears (and the device being used). I have clear differences in my ear shape on the left and right, oddly enough, so I can't even use my Bluetooth headset properly on my left ear unless I change the little piece that holds it in place. Fun times. :) Reply
  • eanazag - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    Agree. An in ear that isn't a pain in the @ss. I can do less than an hour.

    I'm not a fan of cables and charging an in ear too.

    I have a Plantronics over the ear hands free headset at work that has a portion that goes in the ear and I can leave it in all day. I have almost left the building with it on. But, I leave it at work and am happy to do so.

    I wouldn't be interested in an over the ear outside of work. I guess I am just not cool enough to be one of those people who walk through the supermarket on the phone the whole time.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    People are discussing wearables and are blindly talking about "finding the next big thing" without catching statements like yours.

    Hearing aids require special fitting. They're expensive. They're also medical devices.
    There is a lot a design company can do when it comes to redesigning medical equipment. Instead of weird cylinders or sloped rounded shapes, a big tech company could do some research with ear doctors to find a really good way of making generalized in-ear devices (several sizes, or different attachments). That kind of design is what changes an industry. It'll allow new form factors AND the regular old stuff, but at vastly-reduced prices and with far more style.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Custom fit is ultimately the best solution, and it doesn't have to be that expensive... Used to be you needed to drop a grand for any decent CIEM, whereas you cab get them for under $400 these days.

    Hell, Etymotics has an offer where they make you custom tips for their hf line of IEM for $100 all in, you just give the voucher to the ear doc and they take care of the rest... If a small outfit like them can manage it for $100, surely larger companies can do it for less.
    Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    Bragi Dash (http://bragi.com) is most of the way there. In-ear wireless speakers with a bunch of sensors that connects to your phone over Bluetooth. It uses a bone-conduction mic, though, so it wouldn't work for your real-time translation scenario. A clever app dev, though, could probably come up with a way to use the phone's mic for that. Place the phone on the table between you, stick an ear bud in, and start talking ... the phone translates and plays it back through the ear bud.

    They also have support for notifications and whatnot. And Google Now running through it covers a lot of ground.

    Downside is only 4 hours of battery life. You can double that if you use only 1 ear bud at a time.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    For the last fifteen years, I've only worn a watch when dressing up a bit for social occasions etc... But even the basic out-of-the-box functionality of the 360 lured me to wear one on a daily basis again and I really like it.

    Heck, I even kinda like not having to dig my phone out to tell time... The overall package is definitely a luxury convenience, I could live without it for sure, but it makes certain busy days a whole lot easier.

    Ultimately it's a personal thing, how much value you see in smart watches will depend a lot on your job, how much time you spend in front of a computer or with your hands busy, etc. To dismiss it at face value because you don't wear a watch anymore is pretty short sighted tho.
    Reply

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