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6 reasons to follow Wearables DevCon

By Evan Wade / March 3, 2014


6 reasons to keep up with Wearables DevCon

Wearables DevCon is further proof that wearable tech is on its way to undeniable legitimacy. From March 5-7, professionals, journalists and passionate hobbyists from all over the wearables field will meet in San Francisco to talk shop about this new marriage of fashion and tech. From the hardware you’ll wear to the software that makes it worth wearing, here are a few things that could be coming out of the Bay Area this week.

1. Google Glass takes center stage

Glass is easily the most recognizable wearable thus far, and you can bet the it will get even more attention at Wearables DevCon. With a number of keynote presentations, hands-on events and so-called “special events” revolving around Google’s iconic eyewear, it’s pretty clear this headgear will be the belle of the ball.

One keynote that sounds particularly exciting for professionals working with this popular wearable is “The Glass Platform: How We Got Here,” hosted by Staff Developer Programs Engineer on Google Glass, Jenny Murphy. Considering her responsibilities with the Mountain View tech giant, which include “[helping] developers use Google APIs and technologies to build cool stuff for Glass,” it’s fair to assume her content will hold a lot of interest for current Glass app developers and those looking to get into the game.

2. Accessory announcements

Even wearables will need accessories once they hit the mass market, which is why Plantronics will be well represented at this year’s Wearables DevCon by Senior Director of Innovation and New Ventures Cary Bran. Bran will mainly focus on the most important aspect of wearable technology, wireless connectivity. The description for Bran’s Friday class, “Wireless Connectivity and Wearables: The What, How and Why,” reads as follows:

The wearable device market is taking off, and in doing so has set off a chain reaction of opportunity for developers. A core technology pillar for any wearable device is wireless connectivity, which makes choosing the right technology and development route essential. So, what are the best wireless options for connecting to these wearables? NFC, BT, BTLE? How do you determine the best option for a given use case? In this class, we will outline the various wireless connectivity options, including pros, cons, tradeoffs and benefits as they relate to the emerging wearables market, and deliver practical guidance on the advantages and disadvantages a developer may encounter based on what connection method they choose and how it affects different use-case scenarios.

If you want your device or software to connect with users, join Bran from 10 to 11 AM on Friday morning to learn all the best practices of wireless connectivity.

3. New Samsung products

If you were one of the thousands of people who either streamed or attended Samsung’s Unpacked 5 event on Feb 24th, you are no stranger to Samsung’s new arsenal of wearables. Not only did they introduce an update to their much maligned Galaxy Gear smartwatch, they also unveiled its stripped-down little sibling, the Gear Neo. Both updates seem to make up for the premature release of the original Galaxy Gear, but the real winner in Samsung’s new line of wearables is the revolutionary fitness tracker, the Gear Fit.

After wowing audiences at the Samsung Unpacked 5 event, this health-monitoring wristband was named “Best Mobile Device” at the Mobile World Congress. Samsung’s new line of wristables is making waves all over the Internet, and there’s no doubt they’ll reach the shores of San Francisco by March 5th.

4. Wearable app developers will steal the spotlight

It’s no secret that app developers will see a ton of attention at an event with “DevCon” in the name, and there are plenty of opportunities for these software masters to shine. Wearables DevCon’s list of classes highlights an abundance of development-driven courses, focusing on everything from coding to UI design to security. There’s even a talk on Google Glass’s Live Cards, which features an API the site calls “the most complex” of the three available for the device.

And if coding isn’t your specialty, there are plenty of general, yet equally important talks on things like improving battery life and other major concerns for any wireless technology. Keynotes and coffee breaks are great, but if you really want to get the most out of your DevCon pass, you need to attend a handful of technical classes and tutorials. With so many industry-leading developers dispersing their knowledge to the masses, you can bet wearable apps as a whole will improve after this event.

5. Will Sony make a splash?

You may have heard about and/or laughed at Sony’s SmartWig, a recently patented gadget designed to do… something. While we’d be stunned if that particular piece of hardware made it to this year’s Wearables DevCon, the company is listed as a “Gold sponsor” of the event. They’re also listed at the top of the site’s Sponsors and Exhibitors page, where the description talks about their Developer World initiative and Xperia T line of smart devices.

What else does Sony have up its sleeve for Wearables DevCon? It’s hard to say if they’ll offer anything outside of their booth at the event, but it would certainly make sense for a Gold-level sponsor to make a Gold-level impression on the professionals in attendance.

6. Hackers welcome

Officially sanctioned uses of wearable tech aren’t the only ones on display at Wearables DevCon. Noted hardware hackers like Zack Freedman will speak as well. On top of that, Google Glass explorer/app developer Mark Scheel will show attendees the cool things they can do with Glass and tiny computers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Other events — like a tutorial designed to show users how to “cook” custom Android ROMs at home — display a hacker-friendly ethos bound to draw a different kind of crowd to the event. Whether you’re only comfortable adjusting a few lines of codes or a pro looking to put your hacking abilities on display, Wearables DevCon is a great place to show off your skills while picking up some new ones.

Something for everyone (who works with wearables)

With speakers, keynotes and classes galore taking place alongside a ton of exhibits and networking opportunities, Wearables DevCon represents a way for everyone involved in this growing segment to learn a little more about this relatively uncharted territory. If you haven’t registered yet, and you don’t live too far from the Golden Gate Bridge, you may want to think about grabbing one of the few remaining passes. You probably already missed out on the free Pebbles for the first 100 registrants, but there’s still an invaluable amount of knowledge to be gained from this premier wearables conference.

Learn more about wearables with the Google Glass Trend Report.