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Pair of Smart Glasses

Commentary: Why smart glasses faded over the years while smartwatches climbed in popularity

When Google announced their first smart eyewear known as Google Glass in 2011, many believed it could possibly replace smartphones. Having a screen right before your very eyes indeed had so much potential.

Fast forward 10 years later, there is little to no sight of any popular smart eyewear in the consumer market. What seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie- stayed as it is. Meanwhile, smartwatches became the smart wear of choice that sold like hotcakes. Here are some reasons we think led to the decline in adoption of smart glasses.

Limited capabilities with a cumbersome interface

Unlike smartwatches and smartphones with a full touchscreen, smart glasses allow for only a small touch surface to interact with – usually located at the side of the glasses. Such a small touch surface may result in difficulty controlling the device, especially when repetitive inputs are required.

Despite smartwatches featuring a smaller display, manufacturers have included their workarounds such as the watch crown on the Apple Watch to simplify the user interface. You would also get to directly touch what you see on the smartwatch – something that cannot be done with smart glasses.

Unlike smartwatches which could provide users with insightful health stats such as sleep patterns, heart rate or even the amount of calories burnt, smart glasses do not offer such capabilities at the time of this writing.

Associated danger during use

Smart glasses were marred with multiple accidents for the same reason that makes it convenient – having a screen in front of you 24/7. Even without its associated accidents, smart glasses are restricted for use during driving by several governmental agencies worldwide. Notably, the California State of USA, under the California Vehicle Code Section 2760, makes it unlawful to drive with a visible screen.

Privacy concerns

While it is no secret that other smart devices are also associated with their fair share of privacy concerns, the closer proximity of smart glasses along with their embedded sensors makes it an easier target for organisations or individuals with malicious intents.

During the announcement of the Google Glass, one of the flaunted features was a set of always-on camera and microphone embedded in the spectacles. While serving the purpose of recording on the go, it raised several privacy concerns for the users and people around them.

Do small gadgets interest you?

Apart from smart glasses which many perceive as a fad, you may want to divert your attention to other smart gadgets that could improve your schooling (or working) life. Check out this article to find out our recommended back-to-school gadgets you should be picking up.

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