Is gaming the future of wearable technology?
Sony's president and CEO Kazuo Hirai seems to think so and also accepts that his company's vision is just one of many because no one currently offering smartwatches or headsets is really certain if they're on the right track.gadgets Updated: May 28, 2014 15:00 IST
Sony's president and CEO Kazuo Hirai seems to think so and also accepts that his company's vision is just one of many because no one currently offering smartwatches or headsets is really certain if they're on the right track.
Speaking to PC World, Hirai painted a picture of the future where not just wearables, but other consumer tech devices, from smartphones to TV converge to deliver a new overlapping consumer experience.
At the moment, with the exception of companies like Jawbone and Fitbit that are focused purely on health and well-being, most wearable technology creators are building devices that are an extension of the smartphone in terms of features -- whether it's Samsung's Gear 2 watch or Google's Glass. Sony itself already has a smartwatch on sale that displays notifications and offers remote access to a handset's music library.
However, it also has a dedicated gaming division in the PlayStation and its ever growing range of accessories that track motion, respond to voice commands or, in the case of Project Morpheus, offer Virtual Reality.
Hirai sees the sorts of cameras and sensors involved in these types of peripherals becoming elements of wearable technology devices, however he also admits that no one is sure, really, where the wearable technology market is heading. "It already is, perhaps, a very crowded market," he said. "I think the jury's still out on exactly what the right wearable consumer experience is... We have a vision of where we want to take it, but we don't know whether that's the right one. We don't know whether Google has the right answer. Everyone is scrambling for that right consumer experience at this point."
Nevertheless, despite this uncertainty, 2014 is expected to be a big year for wearable tech in general and the smartwatch in particular. The first devices to use Google's Android Wear operating system, the Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch and the LG G Watch are both scheduled to launch this summer and are already creating a huge buzz. Likewise Samsung is working on yet another smartwatch that will work independently of a smartphone and is also getting ready to launch a smart headset this autumn that will challenge Google Glass.
Google Glass has just gone on sale in the US as a means of expanding and expediting the research and development needed to get the product finished and ready for consumer use. The fact that it has opened up the development program to anyone living in the US with the $1500 necessary to snap up a pair also lends some credence to Hirai's comments -- that Google too is still seeking out various paths for wearable technology.