Why Wearable Tech Is Not as Warmly-Received as Mobile Computers

smart glasses

By Glogger (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Mobile computers such as smartphones and tablets have become very popular. The technology behind them are progressing at unprecedented speeds. Their prominence has even led to the imminent extinction of desktop computers. Wearable tech products, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to match the popularity of these mobile computers. Despite being smaller and more portable, wearable “smart” gadgets like smartwatches and Google Glass don’t seem to enjoy the kind of warm welcome Apple’s iPhone received when it debuted.

What’s the reason for this? It’s already been several years since Sony introduced its first smartwatch but not many people seem convinced to buy them. Their popularity are notably far behind that of smartphones and tablets. Also, there have been several smartwatches released by other smaller manufacturers but all of them are still nowhere near the popularity people anticipated.

By Rico-U (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rico-U (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The following are the most logical reasons why wearable tech products are still far behind in terms of popularity and widespread consumer adoption:

They are relatively expensive.

Are you willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a small piece of device with a doubtful utility? Well, apparently, not many are that willing to use their money on tiny wearable gadgets. Smartwatches and Google Glass are still relatively expensive. They may not cost as much as high end smartphones but their prices still make people hesitate in getting them.

The iPhone was released with an expensive price but back then, it was a pioneer and there were no competing devices that could come close to it. Now, wearable tech products have to compete with cheaper devices that have more established functions and uses.

The technology is not yet mature enough.

Some believe that the technology to back properly working wearable gadgets has not arrived yet. For instance, there are no commercially available batteries that can be very thin and small enough while carrying relatively large amounts of stored electricity. Powerful microprocessors have not been significantly reduced in size yet to fit into small wearables. Likewise, the perfect software for wearables may have not been developed yet.

Of course, these arguments are all refutable. They are not really that convincing. However, it can’t be denied that further R&D efforts are going to be advantageous in finally producing wearable devices that can provide satisfactory overall performance.

People value privacy.

Google Glass is being banned by many establishments in the US and even (anticipatively) in other parts of the world. This is mainly because many people fear the Google Glass camera. Almost everyone seems unwilling to be exposed to the possibly whimsical decision of Google Glass wearers to take photos, videos, or audio recordings. Even the addition of a camera to Samsung’s smartwatch was viewed as a privacy threat.

Awkwardness – People are still not used to how wearable tech devices are being operated.

The Internet is filled with memes and jokes that ridicule those who wear and are planning to wear and use Google Glasses. It’s a like a regional mentality, wherein people find other people funny because they are not accustomed to their actions, speech, or mannerisms. Using wearable gadgets entails new, uncommon ways of interaction with the devices. This is something people can’t seem to accept yet without feeling awkward.

Perhaps, the media is also to blame. The idea that wearable devices are just capricious, unnecessary products is being regularly peddled by many people through interviews, blogs, articles, and posts on social media. It’s what is happening with smartwatches. Most reviewers online downplay smartwatches because their features are allegedly not really useful. A device that only acts as a supplement or partner to a smartphone does not appeal to some tech evangelists and critics.

There are safety concerns associated with current wearable and portable gadgets.

Some people are still wary of the radiation emissions of electronic devices. If they can’t trust that smartphone radiations are not really harmful (in normal, moderate use), there’s no stopping them from thinking how damaging radiations could get once electronic devices are already attached to their bodies over long periods of time. Additionally, the stories of smartphone batteries exploding or burning add to the worries of those who easily get paranoid with electronic device malfunctions.

Manufacturers are bungling them.

Aside from all the technological limitations and unfamiliarity, the manufacturers of wearable tech products can also be considered as one of the reasons why wearables are not that warmly welcomed by consumers. Samsung, for example, bungled their smartwatch by producing it with an unreasonably small battery that is expected to last for only a day. Sony, on the other hand, made their second generation smartwatch bigger that it seems to have been created only for “big” people.

Governments could be against them.

Unfortunately, governments have a hand in holding back the widespread adoption of wearable tech—Google Glass in particular. In the UK, the use of Google Glass while driving is likely to be banned. The same is expected in the US as seven states are already gunning to make it illegal to use Google Glass while driving. The concerns are understandable although not scientifically proven. It’s a sad development for wearable technology. It would have been better if people and governments were more open to the idea and would be willing to spend money and effort to properly determine whether or not wearable gadgets are really that much of a threat.

We’d love to assume that governments would want to promote wearable gadgets as they are bound to make government snooping or spying easier. However, if we look at the news, it isn’t the case.

By Tedeytan (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tedeytan (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite all of these, many are still optimistic about the eventual rise of wearable technology. It may not happen too soon but it will certainly have its time. Maybe people should also try to be more objective in assessing them. Current wearable tech may still lack breakthrough features that can be considered useful but they have to exist for advancements to push through. After all, nothing runs without a starting point.