/ Technology

Wearable tech has a future (whether you like it or not)

Sony Core

Last September I asked Which? Conversation readers a simple question: what’s the most you would pay for a smartwatch? The response was even less than ‘not very much’…

The overwhelming response to our smartwatch poll (some 62% of the vote) was ‘I wouldn’t have one even if it was free’. It was a response that certainly surprised me, but then I suppose a great many of the smartphone-owning public might have questioned why they’d ever need a mobile that could receive emails. How times change.

Now, I’m not saying that smartwatches themselves will become as essential as a smartphone to everyday life, but there’s a good chance that some kind of wearable tech will.

The Core of the problem

LifelogI was recently lucky enough to attend Mobile World Congress 2014, where the great and the good of mobile tech was on show. Most enticing to my eye was the Sony Core (pictured above) – a so-called life-logging device that tracks your every step, measures your heart rate and then calculates burnt calories.

The Core doesn’t stop there, however, as it also maps your coordinates 24/7 to Google Maps, tracks exactly where and when you take a photo or receive a message and even monitors your sleep pattern.

The idea is that users will soon have a complete record of their lives, and will be able to relive specific days (a birthday or wedding perhaps) at just the push of a button.

You might recoil in horror at such a Big Brother approach, but I’m genuinely intrigued to try it out once the Sony Core releases at the end of March. And at around £100 it won’t break the bank either. After all, why not wear a tiny device that’s not only able to record your best days, but also serves as a means to keep on top of your fitness regime?

Am I the only one who’s looking at the future of wearable tech with a tinge of excitement? Surely there are others out there able to join me in looking forward to a future where such tiny devices can help us to keep track of the bigger things in life?


In the interests of security and the detection of crime it looks like carrying a Core device should be made compulsory. Transponders concealed in every geographical micro-cell would be able to emit an alert signal if anyone passed it who was not wearing one or if it was deactivated. Concert promoters could verify that all the attendees were bona fide ticket holders. Tesco Clubcard points could no longer be spent if their owner was somewhere else. The continuously updated biometric data could make passports [and the scams that hang on them] redundant. Sounds like the answer to Which?’s prayers. . . .or maybe not.


I’m not sure this really helps with the “bigger things in life”. I can manage very well without constantly being available on email or phone, so I shall not find it a necessity to track my every move, and have another device to cause me to worry about my diet, health or fitness (assuming it has the capability of doing any of those things competently). However, manufacturers are always looking at producing expensive adult toys and novelties to solve problems you never knew were problems, and at £100 it could make a family birthday present when you have no other more sensible ideas? If we spent more time working hard instead of monitoring our personal elerctronic devices we might get out of these times of austerity a bit quicker. An anti-cynical device should be on my list, I suppose.


Android Wear looks very promising: http://youtu.be/0xQ3y902DEQ


I feel underwhelmed by the publicity material for these gadgets. They don’t exactly excite with ground-breaking new features. Made for dummies I suppose.


I think Mike is going to have an uphill battle trying to get the regulars on Which? Conversation to embrace the technology of the 21st century, but it’s nice to see some topics coming up here as well as on Which? Tech Daily.

Perhaps smartwatches are a good introduction to wearable technology. Few objected to the wristwatch and that evolved to show the date and day, then alarms were added, and so on. The beauty of a computer, tablet or smartphone is that we can use them for all sorts of different things to suit our lifestyle, and ignore whatever we see as pointless or trivial.

It is important that any wearable tech is waterproof, sufficiently robust to survive, and we overcome the problem of pathetic battery life. I’ll have a smartwatch that provides an up to date weather forecast and helps me to get from A to B without getting lost when walking.

But – like Malcolm – I don’t like being contactable at all times of the day.


Wearable tech? Do me a favour, I don’t even have a mobile ‘phone… 😀

Jerihattrick says:
22 March 2014

Good on ya. I still use a Smiths demobbed wind up watch, circa 1968, which has never let me down and is accurate enough for my requirements.


I see potential for Google Glass , the technology is at the stage of providing a usable item just needs acceptance by a a larger segment of the public.
Of course there are those who see no need for such technology- thats fine, just let those who are interested or tempted get on with using this leading edge technology.
But look at how mobile phones and then Smartphones are in such widespread use by a wide spectrum of the population.
Really wish my ageing eyesight was better !

Joe says:
21 March 2014

I sometimes wish Which would employ their researchers a bit near the average age of the Which reader, late 40’s, 50’s? As you can see 62% of us have no interest whatsover in the latest techno gimmick that in reality does nothing to enhance your life whatsoever. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. Maybe it does add something exciting to the life of someone in their 20’s and 30’s. However anything that records, tracks, reports, monitors my every movement fills me with horror.
Maybe some kind of wearable technology will become essential in your everyday life but it will not in mine. And for the record neither are smartphones essential to me either.