Smartwatches and Other Wearables Offer Big Development Potential
The future's bright for wearable devices, even if it's a little foggy right now, developers at the first Samsung Developers Conference were told Tuesday.
Tue, October 29, 2013
Computerworld — SAN FRANCISCO -- The future's bright for wearable devices, even if it's a little foggy right now.
That's what a panel of experts told a packed room of developers at the first Samsung Developers Conference here on Tuesday.
Developers were in attendance primarily because they're interested in what apps they might create for Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Gear smartwatch and future wearable devices.
One of the experts on the panel, Han-Shen Yuan, senior director of engineering at eBay, said his company is excited by the potential for wearables, especially those that get email, text and other notifications that can be quickly responded to. EBay has built an app for the new Gear smartwatch that tells auction bidders when they've been out-bid, so they can quickly respond.
Yuan said it's too early to know how important the eBay app on the Gear will be, but he said eBay saw a sudden 30% hike in revenue when it first took its e-commerce and auction capabilities to mobile devices several years ago.
He also noted that notifications on smartphones are coming so frequently that they become confusing to users, so a smartwatch notification can add clarity.
Path, a social network that restricts the number of social contacts to 150 people, believes wearable devices can keep social networking more intimate. Ray Ho, a software engineer at Path who appeared on the panel, said he realized the value of wearables like Google Glass smart glasses when a user held up a baby to take a photo up close, which solicited an immediate response from friends.
Another panelist, CJ Cornell, said greater intimacy of connections from wearable devices might sound threatening to older users, but is exciting to young users like college students. Cornell its working with college students on wearable prototypes at Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale, Calif.
"College students are a group open to lack of privacy," he said, noting how many intimate details they're willing to share on Facebook or other social networks.
Cornell said he is 50% deaf, but wears hearing aides that are equipped with Bluetooth technology. That gives him the potential to easily gain personal information -- such as a person's name -- when the person is less than 10 feet away. The ability to share information over Bluetooth, he said, "...is a grand future."