The next step in app development: wearable devices

Wearable devices... the next step in the digitalisation of our lives. Analogue clocks are being replaced by smart-watches that show the latest emails, updates and notifications. With Google Glass you can even turn your reading glasses/sunglasses into an always-on smart device.

I myself have been wearing a Pebble smartwatch every day for six months, a comfortable watch that displays key updates on a small e-paper display. Furthermore, I can see the next item of my calendar, the weather, the date and the time at a glance. Viewing notifications has a minimal impact on my workflow, in fact, I can say that I can now see more quickly whether or not I need to take immediate action on a message. This leaves me more time for the rest of the work.

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    Google, LG, Pebble, Samsung, Apple and many others

    A veritable titanic battle is currently taking place. The major smartphone makers are all trying to make the best wearable. Google has now even released a separate version of Android for this: Google Wear. LG will soon come out with the first Android Wear smartwatch (LG G Watch).

    Another manufacturer that is doing its best is Samsung, with the Galaxy Gear.

    Why another device?

    Wearables lend themselves perfectly to monitoring the human body. This therefore makes them ideally suited as fitness support. For example, more and more manufacturers are incorporating a heart rate monitor or pedometer. In this way, the vital signs of the human body can be continuously monitored.

    Furthermore, it is a nice addition to your phone. See what's going on at a glance, without having to take your phone out of your pocket.

    Developing apps for wearables

    Developing apps for wearables brings new challenges:

    • Extra attention for the interface due to the smaller screen; determining which information is really most important
    • Different platform; although Android Wear, for example, is almost the same, there are still small differences to take into account
    • A wearable has significantly fewer buttons; with Google Glass, for example, you only give voice commands, you have to adapt the interface to this.

    We keep a close eye on the market for wearables. We are curious to see when the first customer will report for an app on one of these platforms.