5 Wearable Devices That Pretty Much Failed

Are wearables really about to catch on? We have seen some in the past that did not quite do so well. I listed five, but feel free to add some more in the comments.

The BlueTooth-headset was introduced to eliminate holding a device for communication. The use spread pretty quick, but soon became a object of ridicule, at least here in the Netherlands. When the regular ear-plugs for phones were introduced (especially the popular white one by Apple) the headsets soon vanished. Only cab drivers still wear them from what I’ve seen.


virtual-reality-8Virtual Reality Headsets
When the internet was still dubbed cyberspace and was perceived to be a different space of realm apart from the real world, there was this idea to immerse a body into this virtual reality. Large Head Mounted Displays (HMD) and smart motion sensors enabled the creation of a 3D artificial world that rendered a software created world of objects and other visuals.

The idea and technology was very popular in a small community of technologists, but due to the huge hardware and needed processor power the technology never made it onto the mainstream consumer market. Gaming hardware startup Oculus Rift is giving VR another run for its money.

Xybernaut-Poma-Wearable-PCXybernaut Poma Wearable PC
When the Xybernaut was introduced  at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show, some people actually thought it was a great idea. Bit there were some issues. It ran on Windows CE and cost a staggering $1,500. That was a lot of money (you could buy a really good regular PC with that kind of cash) for a device that completely wraps your body in hardware.

It didn’t live up to the expectations and people didn’t feel comfortable with carrying a backup with additional hardware around. The product was killed and never heard from again.

MSN-Direct-Smart-WatchesMSN Direct Smartwatch
Microsoft had an idea to make everyday household and personal items smarter.  To make that idea come alive, Microsoft introduced Smart Personal Objects Technology, or SPOT. SPOT would enable any Internet-connected device to reel off information that may be important to you like the weather and stock quotes. The information would be streamed to a smartwatch, actually a envisioning idea. The first of these gadget were watches made by Fossil, Tissot, and Swatch. There was one big problem though: Microsoft wanted to charge customers a monthly fee of $60 to use the SPOT service.

Clearly the watch did not pack enough functionality to justify the 60$ a month fee. Especially since mobile phone were also on the rise and clearly one the battle. But will they do this time around?

Released in 2000, the Modo was ahead of his time. Modo used beeper networks to deliver city-specific news, restaurant reviews, and movie listings. Despite strong advertising in its three launch markets—NYC, L.A., and S.F.—the company was forced to close down when its main investors experienced heavy financial problems and pulled out. Not a complete fail however; the software that run on Mobo, eventually was used in the first iPod Apple produced.

7 comments on “5 Wearable Devices That Pretty Much Failed

  1. is it to soon to add the Samsung Smartwatch to this list?
    I’ve held one and it feels large and bulky to me, it’s also dependend on the presence of specific types of Samsung phones or tablets to be functional, offering limited functionality at that.

    i feel this device would stand a better chance of survival if it’d be a stand alone solution

  2. Gawin the funny thing is, if you want to innovate you have to design stuff that afterwards aren’t that good. It’s an empirical process. You learn from your mistakes, and so does Samsung. Creating feedback on your vision of the future is very important.

    Samsung needs to create money to continously improve there products. This isn’t free. Cause in our world everything revolves around money. So for that reason there is a marketing dept. And I think Samsung has one to 🙂
    They are responsible to market the products where samsung had/has to learn from. So the money keeps flowing towards research. So they can keep innovating and now and then release a very very cool or good usable product. For every succes there are a 1000 mistakes 🙂

  3. Jos I agree with you that innovation needs trial and error in order to produce results.
    What I meant is that I feel Samsung pushed their smartwatch to the market before it was actually finished in order to beat Apple to the finishline.

    With the miniturisation of hardware components we see today it should be possible to build a smartwatch that’s actually smart. A device that would be the center of your personal computing and communication, acting as the dataconnection hub for your other devices like smartglasses, the infotainment system in your car, perhaps even your tablet or smartphone. Your personal connection to the internet of things if you will.

    Such devices could mean a new revolution in the way we interact with the world around us. I guess I sort of expected Samsung to deliver on that idea :-). We’ll see where these innovations bring us in the next 3 to 5 years.

  4. I am currently in Sydney and there are still plenty of people talking to themselves in the streets here. Bleutooth headsets me be done for in the Netherlands, but not in Australia.

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