The wearable tech of yesterday looks like a joke today.
Take 2000’s Olympus Eye-Trek FMD-700. They were a pair of shades meant to replicate the experience of watching a 52-inch television set. But the device was clunky, stupid looking and hurt people’s eyes. Eye-Trek didn’t travel for long before saying bye-bye.
So is wearable tech, in general, going to go the way of the Olympus Eye-Trek FMD-700? Sure, they’re revamping Google Glass. But why? Look how crappy it went over the first time around.
Google Glass was a complete joke. In San Francisco, it became the physical symbols of tech gentrification. Glass emerged in the height of the wearable tech boom in 2013. People were so appalled by these ridiculous looking tech goggles there were actually anti-Google Glass attacks in public places:
Google Glass made the wearer look like a Terminator cyborg. Only instead of hunting down Sarah Connor, your mission was invading privacy by filming people who didn’t want to be filmed. In one of those great moments of tech people missing the point, Google Glass wearers attacked in public called the incidents “hate crimes.”
So how dead is wearable tech? Just this week it was reported that Intel has officially pulled out of the wearable tech space and will instead focus on augmented reality as their cool tech of choice. Intel’s slow wearable-Bataan-death-march began back in November when the company laid off a major portion of its wearable development group. Bye-bye Intel wearable tech.
A problem with a lot of tech wearables is they just look plain stupid. Not only do the devices have to be tech savvy, but also fashionable. Tech and fashion are two entities that constantly change. No one wants to wear something that looks stupid or out-of-date.
But where there is death, rebirth is possible. Atari has jumped into the wearable tech space with Speakerhat.
What the hell is Speakerhat? Short answer: A hat with speakers. Long answer: An Atari baseball cap with two embedded speakers and a microphone that connects via Bluetooth to your phone. So Speakerhat is that perfect marriage of sloppy nostalgia branding and ear splitting annoyance.
Atari says that Speakerhat is being marketed towards gamers, musicians, skaters, sports fans and fitness enthusiasts; and the company is even releasing a limited edition Blade Runner 2049 Speakerhat this fall.
So, it sounds like Speakerhat could be cool if you’re a gamer wanting to blast the audio from under your hat in the privacy of your home. But the only problem is the hat will surely be hijacked by douchebags riding the subway. Especially the Showtime dancers who’ll be blasting tunes while they accidentally kick you in the face.
So, will Speakerhat and the re-launch of Google Glass be the final nail in the wearable tech coffin or the launch of a bold new era?
Find out this fall when you see how annoyed you get.