Ever since Apple legitimized the smart phone with the first iPhone, everyone has been looking for the "next big thing" and it appears you may end up wearing it. This week Google rolled out new Android software called Android Wear specifically designed for "wearable" computing devices. It's just an early announcement, but shows where tech could be headed.
Of course Google is moving toward Google Glass a unique computer interface you wear on your face like glasses. The tiny screen and audio interface are supposed to allow you computing access almost anywhere. It also allows you to take video and images to store quickly.
I know some early-adopting farmers have been testing the system and we ran into someone at Commodity Classic promoting the tech. The idea of Google Glass is appealing (and I'm on the waiting lest myself for a test).
Yet that's just one potential wearable computer. Veteran readers among you will remember Dick Tracy's wrist TV/phone that he used a lot. A forward-thinking idea back in the 1930s and '40s perhaps not so far-fetched today.
Samsung has released a watch smartphone interface (which might help me avoid missing calls when I don't hear my phone in my pocket) it calls Galaxy Gear that allows you to answer and talk when someone calls. It also keeps calendar reminders and a simple interface through the phone.
The Pebble is a smart-phone watch interface too that was recently revised and has garnered quite a bit of attention from the computing press. The key is that you don't have to reach into your pocket to get to information that's on your phone.
Not sure how I feel about all of this. I'm a big user of Bluetooth headsets to connect to my phone (even my office phone has Bluetooth) and that makes talking a lot easier. The idea of a wearable screen in place of my watch is interesting since it would be quick to grab a calendar notification or answer a call.
These early watches, however, are a bit bulky - almost like wearing a muffin on your arm. I'm sure that'll change as engineers work out the details. And there's talk that Apple has a smart watch in the works as well, which I'm sure has many people intrigued.
The convenience of having quick access to global information, or the ability to snap a picture and have it saved somewhere in the cloud safely may appeal to a lot of people. The world of wearable tech is upon us and what it means for the future remains to be seen. The folks at Mashable have a page devoted to developments in wearable tech that's worth checking out too.
But I do know this, as farmers get their hands on this tech, they'll figure out new ways to use it. If you do tackle the wearable computer opportunity, drop me a note at [email protected] to talk about your deployment.