Mobile Gaming & Wearable Tech: Where 2015 Will Take Us by Jessica Oaks
Though nobody would have predicted it just a few years ago (particularly given how lackluster the launch and subsequent adoption of Google Glass was), it appears that wearable tech may finally be catching on. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, wearable devices from Samsung, HTC, Sony, and LG were on display – and this is to say nothing about Apple’s upcoming Watch. That the industry’s heavy hitters are starting to invest real capital into wearable devices should say something about their confidence in this burgeoning consumer industry.
As mobile processors continue to get smaller, faster, and more powerful (as evidenced by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile processor), the promise of mobile, wearable computers becomes less a dream and more a reality. Smartphones have already shown that mobile is the future, but what other potential applications are there? What does the future hold? Well, augmented glasses may have failed to win over the public, but that Dick Tracy or George Jetson watch you’ve always wanted appears to be right around the corner – if it isn’t already available.
A Computer on Your Wrist and Video Games on Your Phone – The Future or Now?
The current digital environment is taken for granted by many, but ask anyone who lived through the personal computer revolution of the late 1980s and early 1990s – when Macs and PCs running Microsoft’s new Windows operating system were all the rage – and they will tell you that the future is now. How else can one explain smartphones, tablets, and smart watches? GPS navigation is pervasive, one device to do it all is in every person’s pocket, and the Internet is available everywhere (your fridge might even be connected). As time marches forward, the industry is going to dive even deeper into the promise of mobile.
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Already, mobile video games are set to outsell console games this year, with an estimated $25B in revenue. By 2017, mobile games are expected to generate close to $40B in revenue, with little signs of slowing down. And these games will likely find their way to smartwatches soon – once game developers can conceive of a UI/UX that works for the platform, that is. Currently, smartwatches are primarily intended for communication and activity tracking purposes. You can check your email, receive phone calls, monitor your social feeds, and keep track of how many steps you’ve taken or calories you’ve conceivably burned, but that’s about it. You can expect that to change.
On the software side of the equation, adoption for these devices is already starting to gain steam with major consumer companies. For example, BMW and Tesla have developed smartwatch apps for their electric cars that allow owners to monitor charge, battery range, and a host of other data inputs right from their wrist. On the hardware side, enthusiasm for these devices seems to be just as strong. Industry giants like Samsung and LG have already brought smartwatches to market, but smaller manufacturers like Optus and Huawei are developing their own wrist sets. If wearable tech does fail to catch on, it certainly won’t be for lack of effort.
Is Wearable Tech Right for You?
Ultimately, this is the question that everyone has to answer for themselves. Though virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift may always have limited real-world applications, the promise of the smartwatch is that it is universally beneficial. At least, that’s what we’re told. Stylish, convenient, practical… even a little bit hip – that is what the smartwatch is being touted as. The year 2015 may finally be the year in which we all find out if this is true or not, as the industry’s big players are loaded for bear and ready to tackle this next big marketplace with everything that they’ve got. Heck, you may be reading this article on your wrist this time next year. If so, sorry for all the scrolling you had to do!