Some think you are what you eat – others say you’re what you wear. Burchill has some thoughts on what you might wear.

 September 12, 2013

By James Burchill

BURLINGTON, ON.   Many in the tech industry believe that the next generation of smart devices will be “wearable.” Remember watches? Ya, those things that are going out of style may be making a comeback when your iPhone and Android becomes wrist wear.

Is that a Dick Tracy wrist watch? What do you mean – you don’t know who Dick Tracy was – where have you been?

There are several designs in the works and Sony has already released a beta test on a wearable smart phone that works very much like your current phone in downsized form. This, of course, will change as these become more prolific and new ideas and the ergonomics of the devices are studied. Expect wrist flicking and hand flexing to replace finger gestures, for example.

Techies are seeing a future in which we are the device – in other words, apps and software, are made for the user, not the device. Whether we have a smart watch, a phone, in-car computers, or a desktop in or all of the above, the apps will work the same throughout with perhaps some differences because one device may be capable of more than another. 

A good example of how this works is Google’s Gmail.

Gmail works differently on your desktop than it does on your smart phone, for example. Imagine that across half a dozen or more devices.  Some will be “hands free” devices (such as the car), which will have interaction through voice commands and hand waving or eye gestures (all things being worked on right now).  Others will be hand-intense, like your smart phone, while still others will be a mix of the two.

A technological future in which devices automatically detect who is using them and load the apps (from the cloud, of course) based on that knowledge is not far off. Imagine checking the time on your watch and being notified that you have a new email. Instead of bringing it up there, you turn to the television and say “pause and show me email.”  It complies by pausing the show you’re watching and bringing up your email screen.  You see it’s important and you’ll need to reply, so instead of using the TV, you pick up your tablet and bring up the email app and finger in a response. Once you do so, you close the email app and the TV asks if you want to resume your show.

This future isn’t so far-fetched and is fast becoming the present.

Is this what’s on the horizon?

This means  app developers are beginning to (finally) think in terms of “screens” and “users” instead of “pop-ups” and “square boxes.” Recently, Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, said that the transition from mobile to wearables is a far bigger deal than was the change from computer-centric apps to mobile devices.  If you think about it, your notebook and your cell phone have a lot more in common than would a cell phone and a watch or Google Glass, simply because the “screen” is very, very different.

In short, the screen and how you interact with it is changing radically. With heads up and similar options, the old “open a box, then open another one” thing doesn’t work anymore. Things have to be both more fluid and less intrusive. And again, people who use these wearable devices are not likely to have it as their only device and they’ll expect apps to work on all of their mobile machines (at the very least).

Things are about to get even more interesting.



James Burchill creates communities and helps businesses convert conversations into cash.  He’s also an author, speaker, trainer and creator of the Social Fusion Network™ an evolutionary free b2b networking group with chapters across southern Ontario.  He blogs at and can be found at the or behind the wheel of his recently acquired SMART car.


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