Crazy little thing called “glass”

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The hype has been immense. Wearable gadgets have slowly started to turn into the new fashion statement. Soon carrying a smartphone in your pocket might no longer be enough for a common man!

In fact, the idea of a wearable gadget started long ago when Pranav Mistry introduced his concept back in 2009. For those who haven’t had a chance to watch the presentation, it sure is a must see.

It soon started to evolve. Although not quite in the way Pranav had envisioned yet, we started to see and hear rumors about multiple flavors of what can be classified as a wearable gadget. Soon bands such as the Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband started to crop up, gaining a significant market share amongst the exercising consumer community. So did the rumors of smart watches .

And then came the Google Glass . Ever since the revolution of the search, Google has been trying to play the game of catch up, right from its gmail service, through android and smartphones to social networking. And finally, they seemed to have found a product line that could possibly be called unique! Built on its ever evolving Android platform, it does provide a possibility of a rather near-seamless integration with the smartphones, while in “transition”. And on April 27th 2013, they quietly released the source code to developers.

Needless to say, the plethora of applications that ran on smartphones, started to send out rumors of their “glass” versions. Twitter perhaps was one of the first to jump onto the band wagon with NY Times in a close second. There was then the announcement of apps such as Evernote, Skitch and Path which google demo-ed at the SXSW 2013 .

The possibilities are limitless. And perhaps one day the eyeglass industry would be transformed as much as the watch industry would soon be. In the meantime, let me leave you with Tim Stevens as he chronicles his days with the Google Glass!

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The quest for an ultimate “smartwatch”

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There was a time when the watch industry was ruled by the Casios and the Seikos, with occasional luxury watches such as Rolex and Omega emerging as a distant dream. With the emergence of cell phones, their charm started to fade away. Time being more accurate on a cell phone, the menace of changing time manually when traversing across different latitudes started to be seen as tedious. And the smartphone market killed it all. Watches started to fade away from the phase of the earth, occasionally revealing itself on the wrists of the richer elite.

Along came iPod Nano, the VI in 2010. Although it failed to impress as a music player, simply due to it’s surprisingly small touch screen and its slightly bulky form factor. But the square shape and the watch dials that it offered quickly sparked the creative minds of the geek world. And they soon built a watch strap around it. And I, for my own biased reasons, quickly jumped on the concept and bought myself one. I must say I have not been terribly disappointed so far.

Although the iWatch aka ipod nano did not kick off as much, the concept of a “smart” watch slowly started to emerge. Need I say, the gadget elite such as Apple, Google, And Samsung quickly jumped into the race for the ultimate smartwatch. And soon enough, prototypes and concept mockups started to mushroom at different parts of the web world.

Hype has been unimaginably high. Yet, so far there has been just one decent contender and surprisingly it is not one of those gadget giants. Instead it was a startup known as Pebble Technology that has taken the giant leap.

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Built with an impressive SDK for the developers and a seamless integration with Android and iOS, Pebble comes at a unbeatable $150 price tag along with the alert features from a smartphone. Now, anything that Apple hints at is no longer a secret. And along came the rumors of a secret apple team working on an iWatch . Soon enough, Samsung announced that they are making a smart watch too!! Google did not want to be left behind as well, and they announced the Google Time .

At this point, I must make a mention about Microsoft SPOT Watch , announced back in 2003, launched in 2004 and withdrawn in 2008. And as always, Microsoft decided to play the catch up, by announcing its own smartwatch, 2 days back .

The future is promising. Just like the Phablets , the watch industry is no longer confined to the Rolex and the Casios and the Omegas. And for a person like me, who prefers to wear a watch regardless of the umpteen time gadgets around, this is a welcome change. Let me leave you with one of the concept videos amongst the hundreds that are floating around, that impressed me.

As always your thoughts are welcome ……