Welcome back from Wearables DevCon

Welcome back from Wearables DevCon

If there’s one thing Mutual Mobile loves, it’s wearables. From Fitbits on our wrists to Whistles on our dogs, we’ve completely bought into this emerging tech trend. To learn more about this growing segment, we airmailed two of our brightest developers to San Francisco for this year’s Wearables DevCon. After three days of keynotes, classes and fireside chats, our fearless representatives gained a valuable perspective on the future of wearables.

Meet the attendees

Representing our iOS team—and sporting a Pebble smartwatch—was one of our very own Associate Directors of iOS, Sean McMains. Sean has been helping Mutual Mobile produce stellar mobile software since the debut of iOS 5, which is why we weren’t even the least bit surprised when he announced he created an itinerary app for his Pebble. Sean’s off-the-cuff/on-the-wrist software displayed the daily Wearables DevCon schedule, while allowing him to select and set reminders for the talks he wanted to attend. What’s most impressive is the fact that it only took him a matter of hours to create.

In our Android team’s corner—with Google Glass on his head—was an engineer who’s been with us since before the Jelly Bean boom, Elliott Chenger. Like Sean, Elliott built an app for his beloved pair of Glass. His proprietary Glass program made it easier to manage the daily events of Wearables DevCon. It even disregarded any talk or class that had already passed, greatly reducing the risk of information overload. Elliott was one of many developers wearing Glass at the event, but he was the only one with his proprietary app.

What to expect from wearables

As advanced as devices like Glass and Pebble may be, they barely scratch the surface of this industry’s true potential. Fortunately, Sean and Elliott gave us a heads up on what’s coming down the pipe in the not-so-distant future:

Hardware

  • The conductive threads and fabrics of future wearable devices will allow for much sleeker designs from head to toe.
  • Prototypes will continue to get cheaper to make thanks to companies like BeagleBoard, meaning it will be easier for scrappy startups to enter the market.
  • Computer Vision (CV) will have huge implications for all mobile devices with a camera, giving users a second set of eyes at all times.
  • BLE and NFC capabilities will become even more vital to keeping our electronics interconnected.
  • Products will start serving specific purposes, rather than trying to be everything to everybody.
  • The accuracy of accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers will improve, as will data from activity trackers and gesture controls.
  • Devices will become more sensitive to contextual information, making it easier to avoid an embarrassing situation (like your phone going off in an important meeting).
  • Batteries will live longer.
  • Sensors will go from wearable to implantable.
  • Brain scanners and mind-controlled devices are the next frontier in UX. However, it’s still got a ways to go.

Software

  • Engineers will start developing apps specifically for wearables, rather than porting over pre-existing versions from smartphones and tablets.
  • Open APIs will largely affect which devices sink or swim.
  • Security and privacy will be more important than ever before, as wearables continue to share more of our personal information with the cloud.
  • Consumers will demand more transparency with how their data is collected and where it’s stored.
  • App developers will take the brunt of the blame for battery drain, putting the onus on them to increase operational efficiency.
  • The OS war will continue to wage on, but with more treaties than smartphones and tablets.
  • As standard controls—like mouses and keyboards—become obsolete, developers will have to simplify operations as much as possible.

To relevancy and beyond!

Sean and Elliott learned a lot at Wearables DevCon, but the most important piece of information they brought back to Mutual Mobile was confirmation that wearables are here to stay. From the size of the crowds to the array of vendors represented at the trade show, it became abundantly clear that this industry is on the verge of the biggest boom since the start of smartphones.

Once Google Glass hits the general population, smartwatches reclaim our wrists and biometric sensors are embedded in our clothes, everyone you know will be connected to the Web in some way, shape or form. If you ask Sean, Elliott and everyone who attended Wearables DevCon, this calls for a celebration and some serious research and development.

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