Most People Don’t Care About Wearable Technology, Despite the Hype

Tech companies come and go. Sometimes very fast due to the nature of this ever changing industry. When critics begin to charge companies with a lack of innovation, they are basically predicting these companies’ imminent demise. This makes the tech guys scared.

So what do they do? They try to innovate. That’s why there’s all this hype around wearable technology, devices that can be worn like a watch or glasses. “It’s the future” they tell me. “I don’t care” says the average consumer. I agree: wearable tech is the future, but consumers aren’t ready to invest in it.

Now, let me get something clear, I’m not saying I don’t like wearable tech. If I could get my hands on some Google Glass I would literally go insane. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, a touch screen watch that connects to Samsung smartphones, would be incredible. I would love these devices but the average consumer these companies rely on doesn’t care.

By being “innovative” and creating wearable technology, tech companies that are feeling old and out of date are trying to get back in the game, but they aren’t doing it the right way.

What these companies need to do is make wearable tech realistic in people’s minds. Wearable technology has to start off really simple. For example, Samsung’s new smart watch has voice recognition, can take phone calls, and even has a camera. With a 1.6 inch screen, most people will find so much stuff unrealistic and inapplicable in their lives. Definitely not worth the 299$ dent it will make in someone’s wallet.

Instead, I would recommend a watch that can only do a couple things that are simple yet extremely helpful. A smartwatch that can simply check emails and answer calls would be the perfect step into wearable tech for most consumers. Between $100 and $150 it could also become an instant hit. People could imagine having such a device, and it could make their lives easier, as innovative and powerful technology should.

What IS Technology? It’s history, present, and future.

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We throw the word technology around a lot. Today, it’s become almost synonymous with computers, cameras, and GPS’s. But, it’s much more than that. Technology has a history as long as that of humanity. In fact, it’s the constant that separates the eras, centuries, and generations of people. We are different from our grandparents and ancestors because of technology.

So, what is technology? The purpose of technology is to extend our natural abilities. Until very recently in human history, this has been a physical concept. Hands can’t cut, knives can. People can’t push, wheelbarrows roll. Horses are fast, engines are faster. You get the picture. Today, technology manifests itself differently. Computers have become extensions of our brains, the most complex organ of our body. That’s what makes right now one of the most exciting times in human history. Technology as we understand it has reached the ultimate frontier, thinking on its own, and not being dependent on a person to function. Imagine a world where we don’t have to think anymore! I can’t.

Anyways, back to the present. The life of technology is in the present. That’s why we automatically call our cell phones, tablets, and PC’s “tech”, when the wheel was “tech” some thousand years ago. The present is where technology is developing and evolving the most at the moment. In the future, it will most likely be something different. And probably, that something is not too far away, now that technology is improving and changing exponentially faster than ever.

So, why am I talking about the definition of something we all know. Well, this blog is meant to discuss the future of tech, which means understanding where it came from and in what direction it is currently going. I can’t say I know where that is, but I do know this: it’s important to have a solid understanding of the past and present before trying to grasp the future. That’s why I like a good definition.

Here’s where I think technology is going. Since tech is meant to extend human abilities, the next frontier for technology is the brain. Programmers and computer engineers are already trying to replicate the brain. After our tech has surpassed the abilities of the brain, who knows where its going? Biological re-engineering maybe? Counter evolution? Whatever it is, one thing is for sure: it will always be “tech”, and I’m gonna talk about it.

Fairphone, a Supply Chain Revolution

If you’ve ever looked inside a computer or even seen a picture of what’s inside, you’ve seen the intricate jigsaw of metals that somehow end up being compiled into computer. The metals that allow your computer to run, as you may imagine, aren’t the ordinary metals that we use to build bridges and manufacture abstract furniture. In fact, they are quite the contrary. The precious metals that are necessary for you to send an email or watch a movie are extremely difficult to obtain, especially in the large amounts that companies like Apple, Dell, and Samsung need them. So, these companies go to almost any extent they can to get them. Often, this means crossing socially unethical boundaries that may deter you from buying their products. Some examples are child labor, and trading with warlords. You probably don’t want to be a part of this. Unfortunatly, the truth is, its pretty much impossible to find electronicts that don’t have a dark back story. That is, unless you’re in the market for a new phone.

In 2010, the Waag Society began a project to tackle the issue of making a globally just phone. One that, for example, isn’t funding wars in the DRC. Three years later, the Fairphone has entered production. It is truly a supply chain revolution. The Fairphone runs on Android, and is created completely under the goal of setting social values first, while maintaining the quality of a successful product. The project has been funded partially through crowdfunding and aims to redefine the global supply chain. This means ethical sourcing, improving working conditions, and working on using recycling materials.

So far, 20,000 Fairphones have been produced, over 11,000 sold. Obviously, this is only a glimpse of the market compared to the millions of other phones and computers that are being sold, but its a great start.

Fairphone: Buy a phone, start a movement from Fairphone on Vimeo.