在牵手其他领域的精英这一点上，谷歌并非独家。今年早些时候，英特尔（Intel）便宣布与美国时尚设计师协会（Council of Fashion Designers of America，CFDA）和奢侈品零售商Opening Ceremony合作，设计智能手镯。时尚品牌汤丽柏琦（Tory Burch）也与Fitbit携手设计了与可穿戴技术创业公司Misfit Wearables的无线运动跟踪器Shine Tracker类似的吊坠与手镯。而苹果（Apple）也发掘了各行各业的人才，包括博柏利（Burberry）前任首席执行官安吉拉•阿伦德茨（担任零售主管）、伊夫•圣•洛朗（Yves Saint Laurent）前任首席执行官保罗•丹尼佛以及耐克（Nike）的前任设计主管本•谢弗。
As early as 2008, wearable technology—which can range in anything from measuring your heart rate to curating music based on your mood—has been touted as the next big moment in consumer electronics.
In the wake of the Fitbit and Google’s GOOG 0.26% Glass, a flurry of companies has flooded the market with iterations of sensor-laden armbands, apparel, and eyewear. It’s a buzzy category, but early adopters seem to be waiting for a moment when they are no longerthat guy. (You know. The “Glasshole.”)
But that moment, try as Google might, has yet to come. Some reports have named 2014 as the year when wearable devices will hit the mainstream, but a newer study from L2, a digital research firm, confirms what many have been quietly fighting for: wearables are still not socially acceptable, creating a significant hurdle to further sales.
According to the study, 75% of consumers are aware of wearable technology (whether as futuristic fashion or new-age tech tool), but only 9% actually have any interest in wearing it. A meager 2% admitted to owning a wearable tech device, most of which consist of fitness trackers and smart watches, according to the study.
Wearables typically fall into three categories: complex devices such as fitness trackers; smart accessories such as smart watches, defined by their ability to run third-party applications; and fully autonomous smart wearables that connect directly to the Internet, such as Google’s Glass headset.
Estimates vary, but the research firm IDC projects that wearable tech will exceed 19 million units this year—more than triple last year’s sales—and will soar to 111.9 million units by 2018. Credit Suisse values the industry at somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion in the next two to four years. But before that happens, the nascent market has that pesky wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-wearing-it hurdle to clear.
The June announcement of collaboration between Google and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg to create a new line of Google Glass underscored Silicon Valley’s current strategy to enlist the fashion elite to sanction wearables as de rigueur.
The line of prescriptive frames and sunglasses, named “DVF | Made for Glass,” costs upwards of $1,600. Google has already partnered with Luxottica, the eyewear conglomerate behind Ray-Ban and several high-fashion eyewear offerings such as Prada. It also hired fashion executive Ivy Ross, most recently the chief marketing officer of Art.com, to lead its Glass team.
The company is hardly alone in its efforts to woo talent of a different sort. Earlier this year Intel announced a collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, or CFDA, kicking off a partnership with the high-concept retailer Opening Ceremony to design its smart bracelet. Tory Burch partnered with Fitbit to design pendants and bracelets akin to the Shine Tracker by Misfit Wearables. And Apple AAPL -1.03% has tapped a diverse group of people, including former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts (to lead its retail efforts), former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, and former Nike NKE -0.71% design director Ben Shaffer.