CES Day 2: Accenture Survey Says Wearables Are Too Hard to Set Up and Use

Accenture_Logo5Every year, the management consultancy Accenture surveyed about 24,000 people around the world about the state of consumer electronics. We sat down today (a blessing in itself at CES) with John Curran, a managing director with Accenture’s  Communications, Media and Technology Group, to go over some of the survey’s more provocative findings about intelligent devices.

Curran notes that the survey is done online, and therefore skews to the technologically adept. But even among them, the survey showed that 21 percent or respondents found that their device was too complicated to use, and that 19 percent complained that setup did not proceed as expected, did not work as advertised, or could not connect to the internet.

Mark that: one out of five technically savvy users are having awful out-of-box experiences with intelligent devices. Curran noted with particular concern that it is precisely these customers that the less-adept will ask for advice about what/whether to buy. If products are too complex for them, how could they expect to recommend them to a more general public?

There is, Curran said, a huge opportunity for companies that get it right. Ease of use was the most important factor for buying an intelligent device, at 33 percent. Features/function was named by 29 percent, and brand was named by 28 percent. Design? Not so important: 18 percent. And, in good news for disruptors, compatibility with existing devices was named by just 16 percent as most important.

Lessons so far: the field is open for new brands making easy-to-use functional devices with great out-of-box experiences.

Even better news: of the 13 most popular consumer electronic categories — smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, and the like — the only device that more people intended to buy this year than last were gaming consoles.

But intelligent devices — wearable fitness monitors, smartwatches, 3D printers, and so on — all showed intent-to-buy figures for 2015 at about 10 percent. Intent in the 1-to-3-year time frame was between 14 and 17 percent across all categories, and between 11 and 14 percent in the 3-to-5 year horizon. The only trailing category was personal drones, with figures of 6, 12, and 10 percent.

The lessons, warnings, and opportunities are pretty clear. Lots of people are interested in wearables and are willing (if not eager) to consider them. But they’re too hard to get running — and that single problem could work to hold back the entire sector.

Fortune Magazine Takes a Tough Look at Jawbone

Fortune Magazine has a well-reported and cold-eyed look at Jawbone, maker of (among other things) the upcoming UP3 fitness band. It describes the company as a 16-year-old startup that skates from one rapidly commoditized success to another — Bluetooth headsets, wireless speakers, and now fitness bands. The picture it paints is of an innovative company […]

Continue reading...

Ringly Raises $5.1 Million Series A Led by Andreessen Horowitz


A ring that flashes and vibrates when it gets a notification from your phone. For this, Silicon Valley VCs ponied up $5.1 million. Ringly isn’t saying publicly how many units it’s shipped, but allows as how they’ve pretty much sent out all their first round of pre-orders at $145 each. The new pre-orders will go out […]

Continue reading...

Report: Apple Watch Battery Life Is Not Terrific

The frequently accurate site 9to5Mac is reporting that the forthcoming Apple Watch will be powerful but its battery will be hard-pressed to last a day. Estimates like this are tough, because it’s not at all obvious how people will actually use the watch. Apple, the report says, is wringing 2.5 hours out of the watch […]

Continue reading...

Google to Halt Sales of Glass, But Don’t Write the Obits Yet

Google says it will stop taking orders for its iconic Google Glass next week, and is closing its “Explorer” software dev program. The BBC reports that Google says responsibility for the project is being moved out of the Google X division and into the consumer products division (with Nest) under Tony Fadell. At first glance, […]

Continue reading...

Proteus, Oracle Reach Deal to Manage Clinical Trials


We love the idea behind Proteus Digital Health, not least because of all the data that it can gather for clinical trials. So, presumably, does Oracle, which led a $45 million funding round nearly two years ago. Now comes news that adherence data gathered by Proteus will integrate directly into Oracle Health Sciences data cloud. […]

Continue reading...

Could the GoBe Actually Work as Advertised?

The story of the Healbe GoBe is not a pretty one. The company crowdraised $1.1 million for the wristworn calorie counter and has blown multiple delivery dates while fighting back allegations that its central claim — to measure caloric intake — is nonsense. The BBC more or less cornered the company’s CEO at CES last week and […]

Continue reading...

Little-known Sarvint Sues Tech Clothing Industry for Patent Infringement


A small and little-known Atlanta company is suing leaders in the technology clothing business for patent infringement, claiming that those companies have fallen afoul of exclusive licenses granted by Georgia Tech. Sarvint on Friday filed suit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta against Adidas North America, Victoria’s Secret Stores, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Athos Works and […]

Continue reading...

CES Day 2: LG/Audi Smartwatch Reportedly to Run WebOS

Remember how we said a couple of days ago that Tizen and WebOS were the thin edge of the wedge that would attack Android in the home? Reports started circulating at CES that LG — home of the WebOS TV — was working on a WebOS smartwatch that would control some Audi cars. Android Central […]

Continue reading...

CES Day 1: Intel Introduces Curie Wearables Platform


Intel pretty much invented the idea of ever-faster ever-smaller processors; Gordon Moore, for whom Moore’s Law was named, was an Intel founder and chairman. Yesterday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled Curie, a button-sized module that the company hopes will be the intelligence in the next generation of wearables. The Curie is a follow-on to the […]

Continue reading...