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Wearables at CES 2015: Enough with the activity trackers!

January 21, 2015

CES 2015 (Consumer Electronics Show) wasn’t a year for big unveils and shifts in conversation. Everything was smart, everything had an app, and the Internet of Everything was still an overarching promise for the future.

For some, this year’s show felt expected and anticlimactic. We’ve been seeing smart, wireless products for a while now, but what was unexpected was the sheer number of wrist-worn activity trackers dominating the wearable category, which is pretty remarkable considering the first Fitbit came out only two years ago.

What was also unexpected was how quickly most of these activity trackers started to blur together. After a few hours we couldn’t look at another brightly colored tracker that counted your steps, calories and sleep. We had expected to see lots of wearables this year but also expected to see more differentiation. As my co-worker, Kenny Hsieh, so perfectly put it, “It was like ordering the 20 piece Chicken McNugget meal for the first time. The first few may be delicious and amazing, but by the 17th or 18th you just get sick of them.”

Although many of the wrist-worn wearables seemed to have similar capabilities, we did observe companies pushing for different design aesthetics. Fitbit and Misfit, for example, were two brands trying to stay in front of all the “me too” companies by partnering with fashion designers to extend their appeal beyond the fitness enthusiast. Withings Activite Pop, a French smart device company, went a different direction aesthetically by creating a beautiful watch that discreetly tracks your activity.

After a few hours we couldn’t look at another brightly colored tracker that counted your steps, calories and sleep.

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