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Smart watches, not smart glasses, are the future

business Updated: Jan 17, 2013 17:24 IST
Pocket Lint


Augmented reality's future can be found in simple items that are always on and don't give users a headache, claims Qualcomm boss Paul Jacobs.

In an interview with technology site Pocket Lint, Paul Jacobs, the CEO of Qualcomm, whose processors have become ubiquitous in Android phones and whose technology platform is at the forefront of augemented reality, says that more immersive applications, such as glasses, can cause headaches in a large number of users following prolonged use. "The stats are that some percentage of people get a headache from them. I think that any consumer product that's giving a high percentage of people a headache is pretty hard to sell. So, a fully immersive glass is tough," he said.

He also questions whether consumers would be willing to use a head-mounted device that would force them to refocus their gaze in order to access information rather than see it projected seamlessly in front of them: "Will people go for things like Google Glass, where they look down the side? I had a pair of ski goggles -- Zeal goggles -- that did that," he explained. "They were pretty cool, but I got a little distracted."

And for that reason Jacobs believes that the immediate future of AR and wearable technology in general will be in smart watches and other unintrusive devices.

The latest research on the future market for wearable technology shows that health, well-being and fitness are currently driving the industry and infotainment applications, such as glasses, are not expected to make any serious impact until 2018 when they are expected to surpass all other sectors except for medical healthcare.

The report, by Transparency Market Research stresses that although the sector is still in its infancy, the wearbale technology market saw sales of $750 million in 2012 and is expected to experience compound annual growth of 40 percent as the decade progresses, meaning that it will be worth $5.8 billion by 2018.