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Wearable price, form factor need to drop to spur consumer attention

Wearable electronics are on the rise, but there are still a handful of issues that must be addressed over time for the industry to truly take off

By: Michael Hatamoto from Feb 21, 2014 @ 23:51 CST

Wearables have tremendous potential for the enterprise and consumer markets, but the industry still has multiple challenges to overcome. Companies are focusing more on the enterprise wearable market at the moment, but technology breakthroughs should trickle into consumer markets as familiarity and stability increase.


(From right to left: Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO; Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO; Fred Ishii, Iron CIty Micro Display founder; Mark Spitzer, Google X Director of Operations; and Jessica Lessin, moderator)

During the recent Kopin Wearable Technology Launch Event in Santa Clara, California, panelists spoke during a round table discussion and shared their views on what needs to change for the future of wearables to accelerate even faster.

"Miniaturization is hugely important - and second to that, bringing down cost (is important)," said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO, during a panel discussion at the Kopin press event. "Consumers are now more aware and willing to adopt it. Technology is now pervasive in our lives and users look for easier ways to access it."

Another panelist echoed his statements, even offering a rough estimate of cost before widespread adoption can take place.

"(The) form factor must be small enough to build and embed into glasses and lenses; No. 2, high-resolution is needed; No. 3, cost... we have to break the $100 price point - (and) manufacturing must be $50 (or less)," said Fred Ishii, founder of Iron City Micro Display, during the event.

Both Hawver and Ishii relayed important messages that other hardware and software developers in the wearable space must work on - the size and form factor are going to be critical - and devices such as the Google Glass show true potential of the blossoming market.

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