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Portables Technology

A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them 180

An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian reports on research (PDF) into the (alleged) wearable device trend: fully one third of customers who bought one stopped using it within six months. Activity trackers fared even worse: half of them are collecting dust. 'For comparison, you wouldn't find people from the early days of the smartphone saying that they'd abandoned their BlackBerry, Treo or Windows Mobile or Symbian phone. They were the early adopters, and they found utility in having email and (sometimes) web pages on the move. The idea of giving them up just wouldn't occur to them. ... So far, there aren't clear signs of quite what it is that smartwatches and fitness trackers are replacing, in the way that [early] music players did. Useful new technology has to replace or simplify some function, ideally; otherwise it has the challenge of persuading us that we need this entirely new thing. Smartphones are simpler ways to collect your email – and also make phone calls and surf the web (and so on). Fitness trackers... let you track your fitness. But given that 41% of people run with their smartphones, you might get by with a movement tracking app instead. The trouble with devices that claim to track your steps is they're so easily hoaxed by waving your arms around.'"
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A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

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  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:19AM (#46637955)

    Same as my experience with Wii owners, or other fads, like slap bracelets.

  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:32AM (#46638009)

    Pants have pockets. Phones fit in pockets. Problem solved. And I know that women tend to not use pockets - I cannot understand why - but they have purses and handbags that are specially designed to hold many things including a phone. Either way, the problem that a wearable smart gadget tries to solve is not a problem in the first place.

    Also, I don't have to track my fitness, because I am usually there myself to observe my fitness with my own eyes.

  • Women's clothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:44AM (#46638071)

    And I know that women tend to not use pockets - I cannot understand why

    Because a lot of women's clothing tends not to have pockets. Can't use it if you can't buy it. Furthermore there are aesthetic reasons why they tend not to use pockets. Women have a different set of social pressures for appearance than men do.

  • by nucrash ( 549705 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:44AM (#46638531)

    The iWatch will be the precedent to decide if Apple is Apple without Steve Jobs. There are many factors to what Steve did which made their products something to be a part of a person's environment. Wearables have to provide a service that people really want. While the submitter and the article mentions about how 50% of the wearable market is sitting on the shelf, people should take note of every other market before Apple entered it.

    Anyone remember the Tablet PC in 2003? That thing was a giant pile of steaming crap that people bought into, but barely used.

    Smartphones were alright, but passable. I didn't see much of the advantage and waited until the technology matured. Microsoft nearly killed it, Blackberry saved it, and Apple allowed it to flourish.

    Anyone remember the first MP3 players? I had one. They were terrible. I didn't see the point of having a 64MB device that was a nightmare to use. Apple introduced the iPod and everyone else followed suit.

    People can trash wearable tech all they want, but I am not going to write it off until Apple fails at it. This will prove that the magic of Apple is truly gone, or ... there really is no point to wearable technology.

    From what I see of the leaks though, Apple is doing what they do best so far. They are making the technology simple, small, unobtrusive to one's lifestyle. My iPhone to me is the same way. I don't have the device latched to me in such a way that it feels like an anchor. It's either there or not, but if it's around, I want to use it. Some of the wearable tech that I have seen so far appears to be large, clunky, has a terrible battery life and while might have a lot of functionality, requires too much effort to get anything useful out of.

  • by thevirtualcat ( 1071504 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:04AM (#46638711)

    I avoided bluetooth for years becuase it was unreliable and awkward. The headsets were expensive and uncomfortable. Some didn't work in that they required pairing every time you turned it on. (Both the phone and the device completely forgot about each other.) Buying a corded headset was far cheaper, had far better quality, and was far more comfortable.

    But times change, as do needs. Most bluetooth devices now have just enough non-volatile memory to remember what they were last paired with and most bluetooth hosts will quite happily keep a list of every device it's ever pair with. Other than the initial setup (which can still be awkward and annoying) it's quite simple to use now. Hold the button for a few seconds until the light blinks and/or the sound chimes. Now I have a whole host of bluetooth devices. A headset, a car, a smart watch, a pair of headphones and a keyboard.

    Wearables are very much in that early adoption phase. Everyone who owns and actively uses one knows this, I should think.

    "Why would I want to read a text message from my watch? I've got a perfectly good phone in my pocket."
    "Why would I want to check my email from my phone? I've got a perfectly good laptop in my briefcase."
    "Why would I want a laptop? I've got a perfectly good computer back at the office/at home."

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:05AM (#46638721)

    The kind of person that thinks wearing some electronic spectacles is equivalent to being Copernicus is indeed a Glasshole.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?