Gadgets & Gear

Mike Predicts top 2014 Tech Trend: Wearables

At a New Year begins, I do a lot of radio and TV interviews with journalists asking me what I think are the top tech trends for the next year.

Two years ago, I said Android would be the top mobile OS. Last year, I said it would be the tablet war. I was right on both counts.

For 2014, I’m predicting it will be wearable technology.

googleglassThis trend has been gathering momentum ever since the amazingly versatile little GoPro cameras entered the scene a few years back. Thanks to a bunch of ingenious mounts, the GoPro can be attached to bike helmets, worn on the body, suction cupped to the side of a speeding car. The wearable trend picked up steam last year when Samsung released its Samsung Gear watch that pairs with a mobile phone and allows the user to make and receive phone calls from the wrist or check email.

The Gear was a start. Apple and every other major tech player is now rushing into the smartwatch category and we’ll see lots of hype on all the new tech watches that will soon be coming out.

But the wearable that will set the stage for the next tech revolution will soon be released to the general public and it comes from Google. It is Google Glass, the most amazing tech gizmo I’ve seen since the very first iPhone revolutionized mobile communications in 2007.

I’ll be writing and sharing a lot about Google Glass in the weeks ahead after getting my pair as part of the Explorer program that Google has chosen to create buzz for the device. Glass Explorers are carefully chosen and invited tech influencers who are allowed to start using them before the public release. There are several thousand Explorers out there and  before you think they have a really great deal, understand that to be an Explorer, you have to purchase the Glasses, at $1,500.

googleglasshandThat’s okay. I am convinced that Google Glass will have such a major effect on the way we use and are impacted by personal technology that I am more than willing to take the financial hit to experience the technology and report about it.

Google Glass is a miniature computer that connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or your mobile phone and displays email, websites, directions, businesses that are near you, a gazillion other things….right before your eyes on the surface of the glasses.

It  has dozens of its own apps. A facial recognition app is about to be released that will tell you who you are seeing. Seriously.

There are already apps for cyclists that feedback speed and distance and the route they are on. There’s a golf app that reads out how far you are from the tee.  Chefs can use a recipe app that lets them look at the meal as it displays the ingredients and directions on a corner of the glass display.  You can talk to Glass and get answers. Tell it to take a photo or shoot video, share it on the web, answer email, send a message.

I’m describing it in very broad strokes here. And I know, the Luddites out there scoff and say who needs it. Or what about privacy issues. I  don’t report for Luddites. But I do concede there are privacy issues with Google Glass. I’ll delve into some of that in the weeks ahead.

I know there’s a derogatory term for some of the early Google Glass Explorers.


I’ll try not to be one.

But the big picture here is personal technology is going to get much, much more personal.

And Google Glass will make 2014 the Year of the Wearable.

Mark my words. I can’t wait to start reporting about all this.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.