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Why Most People Lose Interest In Wearable Devices

Maybe you’ve got a device (or three) from the likes of Jawbone, Fitbit or Nike collecting dust.

You’re not alone.

These devices are among a steady stream of wearable computing hopefuls competing for the dollars of early adopters. With that comes buggy hardware and fashion-challenged looks leaving something to be desired.

“If nobody wants to wear it, is it really wearable?” Bill Geiser, chief executive of Metawatch, told TechRepublic. Geiser, who has spent two decades working on fitness designs for Fossil, says the design aesthetic determines whether someone will wear it more than a week.

About 10 percent of U.S. adults in a survey from Endeavour Partners were found to own an activity tracker, yet more than half no longer continue to use them. The survey questioned 6,223 U.S. adult respondents age 18 and over about their interest in fitness trackers.

Endeavour Partners released the results of the survey in a white paper that aims to give wearable industry companies guidance for making their devices more compelling.

Why are people dropping their fitness trackers like a cigarette habit on New Year’s day?

Fitness trackers are the domain of venture-backed startups whose product line is often times brand new. These companies, for example, don’t have the funding to perform the same level of testing as that of Apple or Samsung. With that, first-generation wearable products are a big risk to buyers for the sheer high chances of problems.

It’s no surprise that people become disenchanted with fitness-tracking devices that break, according to Endeavour Partners, but there are many problems that will turn off users.

If a Jawbone UP or UP24 device breaks, it may take a week or longer for a new unit to be shipped to a customer, making it hard to remain a fanatical daily tracker of sleep and activity. But what if the device continues to break and users are subjected to repeated returns lasting weeks? It becomes hard to stay invested in such an unreliable experience.

Also, many wonder just how waterproof their devices are and make efforts to keep them dry. But if you can’t wear a device in the shower, it becomes easier to leave it off. That means it’s also easier to leave it and lose at a pool. But water and such concerns are just some of many, according to Endeavour Partners.

Synching to a smartphone app can be a time-consuming drag and has limited appeal for using the devices when competing for attention. Further, the battery life isn’t great, meaning many devices won’t make it a week without a charge. One of the worst offenders is Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, which features a battery that barely lasts a day.

For some, these devices are just ugly and barely wearable because of their grotesque fashion statement. Google Glass has certainly taken some knocks there.

“Any one of these flaws is enough to turn off a user — more than one often lands these devices in a desk drawer, or even worse, the trash,” Ledger said.



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