Originally published at: http://www.sitepoint.com/wearables-wont-make-it/
In recent years, wearable technology has grown more popular. In addition to a wide array of scientific, healthcare, and law enforcement fields, wearables are also starting to appear in consumer markets. Google, Apple, Samsung, and a host of other large technology companies have begun to develop their own consumer targeted wearables, many of which have access to web technology. As web developers, it’s important that we take a deeper look into this emerging trend, considering if whether or not we should invest in learning the skills needed to build for these new devices.
Defining the types of devices
Now before we go any further, I think it’s important to determine what defines a wearable. For the purpose of this article, a wearable is a piece of technology designed to be worn and for multipurpose everyday use by a consumer. Examples of these would be Google Glass, Smart Watches, and all day fitness trackers like Fitbit. Many of these devices run an OS, have marketplaces for users to download apps, and are designed to simplify daily life. There are several other electronic devices that can be classified as wearables, but are designed to solve real problems for specific use cases. In this article, we are not referring to these types of devices. Examples of these would be items such as body cameras worn by police officers, medical devices, and Polar heart rate monitors (I wear one of these when I go to the gym, and it is exceptionally accurate and useful). I’ve done a lot of thinking on this subject, and as far as I can tell, 2015 is going to be the year that the wearables market falls flat on its face. Lets take a look at a few reasons why.
Problem 1 – Web Browsing
Yes, your wearable device can browse the web. The problem is the that your browsing experience may be severely limited. If you’re using some form of smart eyewear like Google Glass, interactive components like hover states and keyboard events can be problematic. It is because of these types of limitations that Google Glass has implemented a “view only” model of web browsing, where users can zoom and scroll through a website, but they cannot interact with it.
The problem of web browsing worsens for smart watch users. While keyboards and touch interactions are available, the real problem is fitting everything in the viewport. It is in this application where we start to run into things like keyboards that don’t fit on the entire screen, and a myriad of vertical height and zoom constraints.
Sure it might be possible to browse the web from a wearable device, but with all of the difficulties involved one has to ask, why not just use a cellphone?Continue reading this article on SitePoint