A decade ago, wearable technology was not even on most consumers’ radar. Today, it is being integrated into daily life more and more – from the fabric of smart clothing to virtual reality headsets. According to U.S. Cellular’s annual consumer survey, one in three consumers say they own a wearable connected device, while about 40 percent of consumers say they are likely to purchase one within the next year.
In an annual Internet Trends report, Mary Meeker with Kleiner Perkins reported that there were 102 million wearables shipped in 2016, up from 82 million in 2015, and just 26 million in 2014. A quarter of all Americans now own a wearable device.
As wearable technology becomes more affordable, fashionable and smaller, we expect it to become even more mainstream. While health and fitness is a major focus of wearables, when connected to a high-speed network with national coverage, like U.S. Cellular’s, their applications and uses grow exponentially.
Technology has become an integral part of our lives, so much so that we cannot easily separate from it. With so many choices for wearable technology and more to come, U.S. Cellular recommends the following trending wearable tech:
Health and Fitness Trackers
According to U.S. Cellular’s annual survey, nearly half of all smartphone owners use their phone to monitor their health, with keeping track of exercise and monitoring eating habits being the most popular features. Fitness trackers, such as the Garmin Vivosmart 3, help track steps, distance, calories, sleep and even stress levels. Fitness trackers will continue to evolve, with biometric shirts and sensors being built into clothing and sports gear that will make the technology seem almost invisible.
Fashion-conscious consumers have a variety of smartwatch options available with stylish watch face shapes, including round and rectangular, as well as numerous strap options from premium metals to high-quality leather. In addition, new software interfaces allow users to customize their smartwatch even more. The Apple Watch Series 3 offers built-in GPS and Bluetooth, allowing it to work with other connected devices, making it less dependent on having an iPhone within range. The trend of untethering the smartwatch from the smartphone may help it become more popular among mobile device users, and consumers may see this advancement from Apple later this year.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Perhaps the trendiest wearable technology on the market is the virtual reality headset. In fact, shipments of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets are set to climb to just under 100 million units worldwide by 2021, according to research firm IDC. Worn over the user’s eyes like goggles, a VR headset shows an image on high-definition screens, making the user feel like they are experiencing the images first-hand. The Samsung Gear VR with Controller allows users to experience flying through the Alps, a concert across the globe or bringing gaming characters to life. The Samsung Gear 360 allows users to take their own 360-degree pictures and videos from the palm of their hand.