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Why Wearable Companies Need to be More Narrow-Minded
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
June 26, 2015
Why Wearable Companies Need to be More Narrow-Minded

Intel’s (News - Alert) acquisition of the smart eyewear company, Recon Instruments highlights their push to become a bigger name in the burgeoning market of smart eyewear and other Internet-connected devices. In Recon, Intel found a company that takes a more targeted approach to wearable production than most others in the market. Recon focuses on a very specific use case instead of a “do it all” mindset, in order to avoid the negative public perception and media backlash that Google (News - Alert) Glass encountered. This narrower, vertical-specific approach will ultimately lead to Intel’s successful entry into the wearable space because the product has a purpose that is clearly defined to consumers and the tech community.

Unlike Google Glass, which may have intentionally had an unclear and ambiguous function for consumers (for case use study purposes), Recon places the focus on sports and training. Their products provide a heads-up display with directions and activity statistics. By having this specific use case, potential users are able to visualize how the product integrates into their everyday lives and see themselves using it. This strategy vastly increases a consumer’s chances of purchasing that product and integrating it into their daily routine.

Having a specific use case also makes it easier for third party developers to create new applications for the device. By starting with a narrower focus, the third party applications are far more relevant and useful for the end user. These apps will create additional features that add even more value to the Recon OS. If the device had a random collection of applications that did not mesh with one another instead, the device would become more complicated and confusing to use.

Another key issue that is addressed by Recon’s specific use case is battery life. Recon claims to have six hours of battery life on its device. This would not be nearly enough for a general purpose device (think Apple (News - Alert) Watch). Since Recon is specifically designed for training and sports though, consumers will mostly likely never exceed the six hour limit. This provides Recon with more flexibility when designing their hardware, which allows for additional features, lighter weight and less bulky design. 

For a company looking to break into the burgeoning market of wearable technology, Intel’s acquisition of Recon was smart for all of the reasons listed above. Consumers who are interested in purchasing a device for a specific reason, like sports and training, will be much more inclined to use a device that is specifically tailored to their needs, rather than a “one size fits all” device that attempts to cram multiple, unrelated uses into a singular product. After the well-documented failure of Google Glass, an ambiguous product that tried to do it all, Intel has learned from Google’s mistakes. It has picked a smart path forward with the acquisition of a narrowly-focused company like Recon. 

Masanari Arai is the  Founder and CEO of Kii. 

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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