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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 FunkyLich ( 2533348 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:21AM (#46637961)

    Wearable devices will not be massively popular unless they will be as simple to use as headphones. Plug and it works and you don't need to think anymore about them.
    There are many people I know who dislike bluetooth headphones just because after a while they get tired from sychronising them with the device, finding the proper frequency, there is noise and interference and whatever have you. Or they need something for a special purpose, such as to cheat at an exam hearing through a tiny invisible earplug deep in your ear what someone else at the next room is reading. But for normal people and normal life, either wearable devices will be as simple as switching on the TV, either the producers should really think targeting not "all the people there is" but selected target groups and usage specific audiences.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:35AM (#46638025)

    Wearable devices will not be massively popular unless they will be as simple to use as headphones.

    Maybe you are different but I don't carry headphones either and frankly I think headphones are a huge PITA. Headphones require all kinds of annoying cable wrangling or if wireless all kinds of unreliable setups that you are constantly dicking around with. Useful? Yes. Simple? Not so much.

    I carry precisely 3 items 99% of the time - phone, wallet and keys - and I'd do away with any of them if I had a reasonable way to do so. I don't mind carrying a fitness tracker if I'm actually doing exercise but otherwise the phone should serve that purpose. I don't want to wear a special purpose device unless I'm doing something rather specific. I don't wear a watch except on rare occasions because they serve little purpose these days (clocks are everywhere) and are annoying to wear if you don't have to.

  • by sh00z ( 206503 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (z00hs)> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:45AM (#46638077) Journal
    Maybe they learned what they wanted to learn, and didn't "need" (in the first-world sense) the device any longer. I put a power meter on my bicycle. After about a year of riding and reading it, I could estimate from my perceived exertion just about what my power output was, so I removed the device.
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:53AM (#46638125)

    My kid still plays the Wii every weekend and it's actually one of the activities they do in his school for gym when it's raining out. My sister-in-law who's in a nursing home uses one as part of her physical therapy. Fad it is not.

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