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CES 2015: What’s a wearable, anyway?

Jan 29, 2015

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Kyle Monson is a tech journalist and co-founder of Knock Twice. The views expressed are the author’s own. 

Every year, a few key storylines and themes emerge from CES. At CES 2015, the dominant themes were wearables, smart cars, Internet of Things, and 4K video. And there were enough drones and quadcopters flying around to lift a very large person. Which I’d love to see. 

Wearables, however, were the real stars of the show. VentureBeat’s Harrison Weber tried on 56 of them in a single day. Boy Genius Report narrowed the field down to their seven favorites. I emceed a wearables startup competition with 13 more—everything from terabyte hard drives you wear on your wrist, to exercise coaches, to child trackers, to an alert that tells you when you’ve been in the sun too long. (Which maybe isn’t too applicable to the CES crowd. Vitamin D is important, people!) 

But what’s a wearable? Is an old Sony Walkman a wearable? A pair of Bluetooth headphones? A hearing aid? TechCrunch says this not-techie-at-all bracelet is one. 

In any case, it’s fun to see a field with so much innovation and energy. Everything in the tech world is moving in the direction of getting smaller, smarter, more portable, and more user-friendly; more wearable. Even if some analysts say the wearables market isn’t mature enough for broad consumer appeal, the level of practicality and utility is already jumping. And, as it always does with young categories, the innovative energy is going to lead to interesting new inventions and use cases. 

The tech on display at CES 2015 represented a big step forward for the wearable space, and it’ll be exciting to check back at CES 2016 and see how it has developed, morphed, and grown. 

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