HONG KONG- “Wearables” are in a neck-and-neck race for “The Connected Home” as the hot topic of the mid-April 2015 Hong Kong Electronics Show (Spring Edition). There’s a lot of talk about wearables – what wearables can do, what wearables will do, and how wearables will change the world.
The Apple Watch, as everyone knows, is on the brink of introduction and is the source of much of the buzz about wearables. But since only Apple is making those and they aren’t even available yet, what people are really talking about at this Show is exercise bracelets and Bluetooth-enabled watches – the bracelets (like FitBit) measure your heart rate and how much movement you’ve done. The watches add email and text notifications, the ability to initiate calls, reminders of how long you’ve been sedentary, and other controls that are part and parcel of Bluetooth. In booth after booth, you can see Bluetooth watches of every conceivable shape and color, all sharing similar feature sets.
But even within those feature sets, there can be problems. One vendor, whose name and product line I will keep anonymous to spare him any repercussions, was unusually candid when speaking about his line of fitness bracelet as a heart monitor: he said that to get an accurate measurement, you need a tight fit, as with a chest band, and bracelets aren’t designed to be worn tightly, but rather comfortably, so that customers won’t resent using them. One client thought his bracelet was telling him he had an irregular heartbeat, and called his doctor in a panic.