The problem with any buzzword is that it inevitably gets applied to anything and everything without any thought as to whether it should be. Take “wearable” for example - yes, it means “something you can wear,” but in its current guise it means “something you can wear which does something involving your body.”
Essential reading: The 2015 Wareable watchlist
It doesn’t mean “a gadget with a strap,” which is what a lot of manufacturers seem to think it means. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most prominent so-called wearables which are particularly guilty of this marketing misdirection...
Although all our data now resides in the cloud, there is something to be said for having all your digital stuff stored locally - it could be that you spend a lot of time in an area without a precious 3G signal, or that you’re a quivering paranoid survivalist type.
Pinto’s BeanBeam is a 32 or 64GB Bluetooth hard drive which straps to your wrist. For some reason. USB storage, even storage with wireless capabilities, is not wearable tech.
Tommy Hilfiger solar charging jacket
Tommy Hilfiger’s jacket includes a mini solar array on it back, so you can charge your gadgets while you’re on the move.
The problem here isn’t so much that it’s not wearable technology, it’s that in order to charge it you have to wear a big snuggly jacket on a hot sunny day, so while your battery fills with electricity the coat fills with gallons of sweat.
Ralph Lauren handbag
Tommy’s not the only high-end fashion designer who doesn’t understand what “wearable” means - Ralph Lauren’s also smacked his head against this particular lamppost.
His Ricky 33 handbag includes a battery pack and a light, so you can charge your smartphone and find your keys within its cavernous interior. This technologically-augmented edition costs $5,000, $1,500 more than the regular handbag.
An Anker battery pack and a Maglite will set you back about $30.
Archos Music Beany
Putting headphones into a hat is not a new idea by any means - even the earliest cave paintings depict Neanderthals listening to mammoth song via a tyrannosaurus skin baseball cap.
Archos updates the idea with its Bluetooth beany, which contains all the necessary gubbins to play music wirelessly for up to eight hours while keeping your bonce toasty. Putting speakers into a hat does not make it a wearable though. Well, it does, but you know what we mean.
Sitting at the back of the bus and pumping out tunes on your smartphone’s tinny speaker could become a thing of the past if Jambanz proves successful. Instead you’ll pump out tunes via a tinny Bluetooth speaker attached to your wrist.
We can imagine teachers’ drawers being stuffed with these in a few years time, and that’s not a good thing.
Any game watch
Combining a game and a wristwatch in one handy unit may have sounded like a good idea in the 1980s, but it remains a largely unrecognised blight on the tech landscape. The resulting timepieces-cum-consoles do both things badly, with an almost unplayable game and the almost unreadable time crammed into a few lines of LCD.
Not really a wearable because the word in its current form didn’t exist at the time, and any rose-tinted view that these things kickstarted wearable technology should be dismissed because they were just crap.
Here in the UK the idea of drumming on your pants wherever you go would probably get you arrested. Drumpants hail from the US, where “pants” means “trousers,” which makes it a bit more socially acceptable to bash your upper thighs to create rhythmic music.
It’s a good idea if you’re an annoying musician type who gets inspired to go a bit Phil Collins on the tube - but for everyone else there are apps for that.
Quite possibly the most Japanese thing ever invented, Axent Wear’s headphones include a pair of cat-ear-like speakers on the headband.
The idea is that you can keep music to yourself or share songs you particularly like with friends, and it’s a brilliant platform for broadcasting how incredibly obnoxious you are.
Acer Selfie Hat
Acer employed Lagy Gaga and Rita Ora’s costume designer Christian Cowan-Sanluis to create this selfie hat, and yes, it is a real thing you can actually buy. It includes a holder for an Acer Iconia A-1 840 tablet, so you can line up the perfect selfie snapshot.
It looks like something even Barbie would reject on the grounds that it’s just too goddamn pink and spangly.
Sony’s amazing FES Watch isn’t actually wearable tech because it doesn’t actually do anything smart.
Sony’s e-ink based watch includes a strap which can be changed on the user’s whim, and it was instantly jumped upon as the future of the smartwatch. But it’s not a smartwatch at all - in fact it’s a plain ol’ dumb watch with a fancy-ass strap and face.
And let’s face it, you’re not exactly going to change the strap design more than twice, are you?
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