There’s gonna be a (wrist) revolution
Smartwatches look like they’ll play a major role at CES, the show even has a dedicated exhibition area called Wrist Revolution (no snickering please) featuring 10 firms. Among them is the navigation company TomTom, which has been trying to diversify into sports wearables over the last 12 months (although its CES catalog entry is still very focused on in-car navigation systems).
Judging by the catalog entries for other exhibitors in the Wrist Revolution area we can expect at least seven smartwatches, including three from Hong Kong-based exhibitors.
One of the 10 looks worth a visit: Kronoz promises “the Smartwatch designed in Switzerland”. As well as a clunky smartwatch which looks pretty similar to devices from Samsung and Sony, Kronoz has the ZeBracelet, a curvy Bluetooth-enabled model positioned at female users – but with pricing at EUR 69 (around US $95), it does not have the hefty price tag to match a Swiss-made watch.
If you’re looking for wearable tech at the show, there are also lots of other promising-sounding TechZones at CES, including “FashionWare” and “Digital Health Summit”.
Somewhat surprisingly, smart wristband prioneer Jawbone will not be on the show floor at CES, as confirmed by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Noting that Nike is also absent, BusinessWeek observes “a shocking” 365 firms offering some kind of digital health equipment, and comments that “the also-rans will have the run of the place”.
With wearable technology still in its infancy in terms of consumer awareness and acceptance, and still climbing towards the “peak of inflated expectations” on the hype cycle, it’s hardly fair to call these companies also-rans, although the days of being a pioneer are over. Perhaps the “shocking” number of exhibitors in this space is a clue that CES 2014 heralds the start for #wearabletechnology going mainstream.
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