Bob Garfield

3 wearables with huge problems

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The most well-known wearable devices are still plagued with problems. Here's what Samsung, Google, and Pebble need to fix if they want to shake the geeky stigma.

iMedia traveled to thinkLA's Mobile Breakfast to mingle with some of the biggest players in the mobile landscape and talk about the state of the industry. OMD's director of mobile, Joao Machado, spoke with us about the wearable device market and how certain products needs to evolve to avoid the geeky stigma that might be hindering mainstream appeal. Here are some big problems with today's well-known wearable technologies.

Samsung Galaxy Gear: Tethered to only one flagship device

Samsung took a bold step when it became the first major technology manufacturer to release a high-profile smartwatch. However, people were taken aback when they found out that it only works with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Basically, consumers had to buy two devices in order to enjoy the benefits of a smartwatch experience. Not only is this prospect costly, but it's also not appealing if you're trying to make something new go mainstream. While the Galaxy Note 3 is Samsung's flagship device, smartwatches need to evolve to be compatible with any consumer mobile product -- or better yet, be functional all on their own.

Google Glass: Looks awkward and only popular with a small demographic

Everyone's biggest complaint about Google Glass may be the one thing keeping it from gaining mainstream appeal. The form of the device makes it awkward to wear and does not look natural. Granted, Google Glass is still in its explorer program stage, but with a wider consumer release planned for late 2014, it doesn't look like any major design overhauls are in the works anytime soon. Google has tried to address this recently by partnering with Luxottica to add custom frames and shades, but it's too early to see if this has fixed the overall perception problem.

Another big issue for Google Glass is that it seems to only be popular with one general demographic: males in their 20s and early 30s. This is mainly due to the explorer program containing so many young developers. It has cornered Google in a situation where it will have to work much harder to shatter this stereotype and make the device cool for young people. After all, if Google Glass does achieve mainstream appeal, the explorer program participants will not be a "cool" group in the eyes of Millennials and Gen Z.