Ear good, wrist bad.
It’s almost four years since I coined the word “hearables”, so it was pleasant to see it displayed as a headline product category on NXP’s stand at the Mobile World Congress last week, confirming that hearables are taking off as a serious market sector. It was also encouraging to see the range of products that they had on display which are already available, or close to being available to buy, including models from Bragi, Doppler, Earin, Nuheara, MyManu and Jabra.
Most of these still come from start-up companies. With the exception of Jabra and Apple, the majority of companies shipping hearable products started off life through crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve been tracking many of these, and was fascinated to see that at the end of February, the overall total that has been raised for hearable devices passed the $50 million dollar mark, with backers placing orders for over 300,000 products. With major headphone brands starting to weigh in, it’s a good indication that hearables are topping the list of wearable products that consumers want to buy. That’s in stark contrast to other wearable products, where the demise of Pebble and continuing layoffs at Fitbit and GoPro suggest that the initial customer enthusiasm has not translated into a compelling desire to continue wearing them. Continue →