There have been multiple angles when it comes to reporting on wearables. They were all "dying" after a report came out last year. Now again, people are arguing that the days are numbered for wearables. Unfortunately, two years in a row people are getting it wrong and will continue to do so.
Let's start off with a definition. For me and the purpose of this post, I am referring to "wearables" as encompassing anything you wear to either track fitness, get notifications or measure health, etc.. I am splitting out a category of wearables I'll broadly refer to as "smartwatches", even though at this point you could basically write iWatch since few others matter. Remember to keep these two separate in your mind.
Both wearables and smartwatches continue to evolve at a fast clip. People are missing the point though that they are evolving in different directions and can exist in parallel. You won't in the future wear a smartwatch on one wrist and a wearable on the other. (There may be use cases dependent on features but let's just presume this won't be the case). What you will do though is sport a wearable on one wrist and a mechanical or luxury watch on the other. You may also completely forgo the watch completely and just wear the wearable. It will always remain a case of "the other wrist". Do you put something on it or not and if so, what.
I, for one, am not buying a smartwatch as I am a wristwatch geek. I collect high-end mechanical watches and love them for their engineering and artistry. At the same time, I'm a fitness freak and have worn Jawbones and Fitbits in the past. Currently, I don't have a wearable on and my other wrist is free. I am not happy with the quality of the products Jawbone and Fitbit have been putting out. Yet, I miss features that they offer like reminders to get up and move. I also miss the sleep tracking and could put heart-rate monitoring to good use in my workouts as well as during the day and night. I am sure the quality and durability will get better and these wearables will become bombproof on the wrist. I will for sure in the future have a wearable on one wrist and a traditional watch on the other.
Why do I think people are getting it wrong in regards to wearables? Well, in addition to being perfect measuring tools, they too can be easily used for notifications, the simplest being alarms and notifications. Further, with technological innovation they can become input devices, either via voice or taps. I will continue carrying my phone (iPhone in my case) around with me for quite some time in the future. Personally, I don't need a smartwatch for the extra screen. At the same time, if you look at the current Fitbit Charge, you can receive call notifications on it. There are many simple use cases beyond health and fitness for wearables. Many of these use cases don't require a screen and when you do want to see a screen, you can reach for your phone. The computing horsepower will remain in the accompanying phone.
I find it overkill to have a smartwatch and a phone. Too many things overlap and the smartwatch is competing for wrist space. Were we to evolve fashion-wise to clothing without pockets and never carrying a bag around, I'd believe we'd evolve quickly to a pure smartwatch interface. I just don't see that happening any time soon and when you add in battery life and computing power, I don't see our need to have a phone with us disappearing any time soon.
Therefore, I see wearables evolving in terms of features that they have and being sold alongside smartwatches. There will be niche solutions and each brand will find their customers. iWatches will be bought by those who want to be on the cutting edge. Cheaper competitor versions will also evolve. Jawbone and Fitbit will focus more on the fitness community but they too will continue adding features that aren't purely about fitness and will find their place on "the other wrist". Hence, I don't see them dying out. We may not see the growth from a couple years back but as additional features are added, folks like myself who went away for a while will come back. We'll see the wearables market continue to grow alongside the s smartwatch industry and each will settle in their place.