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Five essentials of next-generation apps development for wearable technology

CyberVision presents a summary of key essentials needed to create effective apps for wearable devices.

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Global wearable tech market is currently assessed at $1.4 billion and is set to explode in 4-5 years from now reaching $19 billion by 2018, according to Juniper Research. Although smart wearable devices such as Google Glass, Samsung Galaxy Gear and the rumored Apple iWatch are yet too costly and imperfect to go to the mass market, many experts believe that once consumed in the same way as clothing or accessories, they will become mainstream.

Today, the two key segments in the consumer electronics market that drive wearable tech evolution are multimedia and multifunctional devices. The wearable market spans several categories for manufacturers and app developers such as health, fitness, sports and communication. To date, the fitness market has already gained a significant share of smart wearable devices such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, as well as devices from Nike and Adidas. Besides, the wearable market has seen new interest for a broader range of devices such as smart watches, Google Glass and FiLIP.

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It goes without saying that in today’s app-saturated world developers need to take note of trends and new technologies available to make their applications stand out from the noise. As mobile devices become smarter, faster and smaller, consumers will be expecting more from their apps. As such, adapting to the major changes in screen size, user interface, and functional capabilities will be a major challenge for software developers in the near future. However, studies already indicate that developer interest in creating apps for the wearable device ecosystems has seen a significant increase this year. Having polled 1,700 developers, Strategy Analytics found that 27% intend to build apps for wearable devices in 2014, which is a nine-fold increase from last year’s 3%!

We at Cybervision have reviewed current trends and expectations for the future of wearable tech and compiled our findings in the List of 5 essentials of next-gen apps development for wearable tech:

  1. Future apps to be built for the wearable tech ecosystem should be able to present precisely relevant information through a dramatic change in screen size (1,6 – 1,7 inch)
  2. Apps should focus on intuitive notifications, audio/voice technology, discovery features and event tracking as well as touch gestures, buttons, and swipes that smartphone and tablet apps are enabled for
  3. Apps should allow integration of biometrics and semantics-based software that can help interpret emotions, track motion and detect biopotential (e.g., with the sensors available including multi-axis accelerometer, developers will have a chance to dig in innovation and create fascinating gesture detection enabled apps)
  4. Next-gen apps for wearable devices should be enabled for low-energy consumption profiles to ensure longer battery life of wearable devices and fast and seamless data transmission between smart devices (e.g., Bluetooth Smart technology enabled apps).
  5. Objective-C will remain the core programming language for iOS wearable apps development, while Java will remain the key one for Android apps development (e.g., Google has already allowed a sneak peek at its forthcoming SDK for Glass, while Apple is secretly building its own platform for developing apps for wearable devices, as the rumors swirl).

One thing is clear – brands need to invest in smart products just as much as they do in mobile products as soon as possible and start building apps for devices people will buy, wear, and continue to use wirelessly in the years to come. Incorporating user motivation and UX into the design of the smart products will inevitably drive wearable technology to the mass market. As such, digital partners and hardware suppliers should be at the forefront with smart product developers from day one. Are you sure you have enough resources to embrace this change and leapfrog the competition?

Sources:
Entrepreneur.Com, 2013
Mobile Marketing Watch, 2013
Redorbit.com, 2013
Apple Insider, 2013

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