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Will wearable technology kill the smartphone?

Tom Kaneshige | July 24, 2013
When it comes to emerging technology, 'wearables' may be the talk of the town these days. But don't throw away your trusty smartphone. It may become the driving force behind wearable technology such as glasses, watches and clothing.

By offloading processing and connectivity onto a smartphone, the cost of wearables will be cheaper, even more so considering the price of sensors keeps dropping. Pioneering wearables today handle processing and connectivity, Baker says, and the products are already too costly. In the future smartphone-wearables relationship, a single smartphone can handle multiple wearable devices.

Have the Smartphone Wars Only Just Begun?
Baker is quick to point out that the smartphone's potential role with wearables doesn't mean that the smartphone hardware race is over. He says he believes smartphones will get more and more capable. They'll also need faster processors and more memory to drive wearables. The only gating factor is battery life.

"Saying the hardware race is over is akin to saying personal computers will never need more than 640K of memory," Baker says, referring to the controversy over whether or not Bill Gates said, "640K should be enough for anybody," at a computer trade show in 1981.

Is the smartphone hardware-features race over? Will wearables take over the sensors and display? One thing is for certain: If the smartphone is also the engine that drives wearables, we'll need our mobile devices more than ever.


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