Ever since mobile devices overtook traditional computers in online usage a few years ago, the world began to see how different the digital marketplace might look in the near future. Companies began to shift their focus from desktops to mobile, with some taking it a step further and producing wearable gadgets that continue to change the way we think about technology. As wearable technology continues to improve, we will see more of these devices entering the marketplace with a larger array of features and capabilities.

In order to stay on top of these changes, we have put together a few of the top wearable gadgets and devices that are making an impact this year. By watching these trends and looking to the future, we can get a rough idea of what is to come and hopefully gain a leg up on developing the next generation of wearable gadgets. With this in mind, let’s take a look at these devices and what they mean for 2018 and beyond.

1. Bpay Wristband

The first wearable gadget we will look at comes from Barclays in the UK, a bank focusing on expanding contactless or wireless payments. While up until now Bpay has focused on wireless apps and small keychains with payment information, they have ventured into the wearable world with their new wristband. At a retail price of just 11 Euro, this wristband allows users to check out at various retail shops with the swipe of their wrist.

As both contactless payments and wearable gadgets continue to improve, more of these types of devices will begin to sprout up. Barclays is getting ahead of the game with their wristband, but it is still too soon to tell if they will be able to hold their position in the market. Major players like Apple and Fitbit will likely soon release their own version of the wristband incorporated with their own wearable offerings, but for now the Bpay gets the job done.

2. Fitbit Versa

Speaking of Apple Watch, Fitbit has recently released their Fitbit Versa, a comparable product to the Apple Watch and at a lower price point. While Apple holds their prices above $300, the Versa is available at a cool $199, but will the difference in cost be enough to sway long-time Apple users? Probably not. That being said, for anyone interested in having the main features of an Apple Watch on a non-iOS system, the Versa is an excellent choice.

Smartwatches were one of the first wearable trends to gain major traction and it appears that there is no sign of stopping the major companies investing in the wrist game. In fact, by 2021, Gartner estimates that sales of smartwatches will total nearly 81M units — representing 16% of total wearable device sales. That being said, there is a limiting quality of watch-like products and as we move forward, it will be interesting to see which way the industry evolves and what sort of new mobile business ideas pop up around the Apple Watch and Fitbit market.

3. Kiddoo

One such idea is the Kiddoo, a smart watch made specifically for children. Branded as a way “to give children the freedom of technology without having a smart-phone,” Kiddoo aims to give children a communication channel of their own while reassuring parents with safety precautions and their own paired app.

With recent news that Amazon is creating an Echo device specifically for kids, it appears that major players are after the potential that generation Z has when it comes to IoT and wearables. That being said, other similar programs have tried and failed to offer online services specifically for kids, so we’ll see if Dot and Kiddoo can fight the parental stigma with their new products and emerge victorious.

4. FitBark

You may not realize this, but these is a substantial untapped wearable market out there that only a few businesses have taken advantage of: pets. One such company is FitBark, who offers a device similar to Fitbit but specifically for tracking your dog’s activity and sleep levels. Then, through a Bluetooth connection to a mobile app, dog owners can monitor their pet’s behavior and set goals based on size, breed, and weight.

As someone who uses a FitBark with his own dog, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the product. At first, I thought it was just a gimmick, but I have since been proven wrong. In fact, I use my dog’s FitBark more than the fitness tracking app on my own phone! As more wearable gadgets are built for pets of all shapes and sizes, who knows what kind of advances we will make in our interactions with dogs, cats, and more. I, for one, am excited by that prospect.   

5.  Nixie

Taking the wrist game in a slightly different direction, the next of our wearables gadgets is Nixie, a tiny flying photographer. Built to wrap around your wrist, the Nixie can then be removed, turned on, and used in a boomerang fashion to capture selfies of you and your loved ones like never before. By combining two relatively new technologies, it will be interesting to see if Nixie can find their niche and serve it well.

On the other hand, whether or not Nixie is successful, it opens up a whole new world of wearable gadgets that can be removed and used. Just imagine being able to turn your backpack or some other wearable item into a skateboard, computer, or who knows what else. As IoT and wearable products continue to evolve, more items like Nixie will continue to push us in new and exciting directions.

6. Spectacles by Snap Inc.

So far we have looked mainly at wearable gadgets made for keeping on your wrist, but let’s talk now about something for your face. Spectacles by Snap Inc is now releasing their second variation of hands-free cameras that see exactly what you do. Ever the innovative company, it will be interesting to see if this investment in wearables will serve Snap well, or at least, better than their recent UX design has.

That being said, according to I-Scoop, by 2020, smart eyewear will account for 40% of total revenue of the wearables market. Considering that there aren’t too many eyewear products currently available, this could mean that Snap is trying to get ahead of the game with their wearable gadgets. Whether or not their product will come out on top is still yet to be seen, but with predictions like that, I imagine we are just beginning to see the first wave of wearable eyewear products.

7. Muse

Moving slightly about the eyes, our next wearable gadget actually goes around your forehead. Muse, the brain sensing headband, claims to ‘elevate your meditation experience’ and ‘guide you to a deeper sense of focus.’ While we can’t comment on the usefulness of meditation, it is interesting to see wearable gadgets that are breaking out of the conventional mold and trying to provide new offerings focused on mental fitness, instead of just physical.

In a time where America’s #1 health problem is stress, we should be prepared for more new devices aimed at tackling stress and anxiety related problems. With products like AR, VR, AI, IoT, and wearables, there are almost limitless possibilities for what we can create. Our hope is that this trend will continue to help those who need it and make these health problems much more manageable.

8. UV Sense

The final of our list of wearable gadgets we will explore won’t even be released in 2018, but it is already making a big impact. UV Sense from L’Oréal is one of the first wearable gadgets that has no battery and is small it can be worn on your thumbnail. Its purpose? To track users UV levels and monitor how much sun they are receiving. L’Oréal sees sun protection as a large issue for their customer base and believes that this product will help to keep users in the shade come summer.

Operating solely from the power of a connected smart phone (with paired mobile app), UV sense is changing our perceptions of what wearable gadgets look like. Imagine a world where we can monitor everything from our heart rate to our UV levels all from wearable devices that take up less space than a postage stamp. Once this product is released next year, there will likely be a huge wave of similar products to follow.  

Final thoughts

As we have looked through these 8 wearable gadgets shaking up our world, it’s clear to see that this industry is only just getting started. As technology progresses, IoT and wearables will continue to change the way we interact with technology and each other. And while these gadgets are making an impact in 2018, we can see that 2019 is already shaping up to be even more impressive.

We hope that you are as excited about this future as we are. As we like to say here at Snyxius, ‘the best way to predict the future is by creating it.’ If you have your own wearable idea or simply want to know what software development can do for your company, tell us about it. We’d love to help you develop your dreams into reality.