Will Wearable Tech Be the Future of Smart Devices?

The recent trend of products that center around wearable technology — notably, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) rumored iWatch — has led to some unusual speculations, and raised questions that point down the road towards a big shift in tech: in light of these new devices, will handsets eventually become obsolete?

CNBC ran a story on Sunday suggesting just that. The advancement of technology, the ability to compact systems into increasingly smaller spaces while jacking up the power and processing abilities have led to new applications for it, which are more suited for natural integration with the user. In recent cases, eyewear and wristbands have been the applications of choice.

“This is just the start of where wearable technology is going,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Gartner. “Eventually, smart fabrics, which will be the clothes you wear, will also come to market. But that’s years away.”

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Google’s Glass program may hit the public venue as soon as later this year, and Android-compatible smart watches have already arrived. ABI research anticipates that the demand for these devices will explode over the next few years, and shipments of wearable tech devices should reach 485 million by 2018, the firm says.

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has so far been the only major tech player to formally announce that it has been working on a watch program, although Google and Apple have both been speculated to have similar plans under development. Details are scarce on the watch programs, and it is unclear what advantages the watches would have over the ‘traditional’ smartphone.

So, don’t gear up to trade in your phone for a more fashion-forward piece of tech. More than likely, any wearable devices will be more functional as an accessory to be used in combination with the users’ phone, such as

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Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) watch device, which acts as a wrist-based remote for Android enabled hardware. Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives, and although the notion of a smartphone replacement can offer an interesting perspective on the future of integrated communication technologies, its highly unlikely that global adoption of these new systems will take place in the near future.

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