The $100-Plus Wearable May Soon Be History

Remember when flash drives—aka jump drives—were available for $40 each at Staples? They’re now $2 a pop at your local 7-Eleven. 

Marketplace competition inevitably drives down the price on any hot new consumer electronics product. And the expected plunge of prices in wearable devices has officially begun.

Two refreshingly simple new gadgets—both priced under $20—may forge the path for wearables to achieve real ubiquity. At least at your local high school.

First up is the sporty Misfit Flash from Misfit, maker of the popular Misfit Shine—a sleek notifer that pops in and out of pretty jewelry pieces.

Courtesy Misfit

The Misfit Flash in fuschia

The $19.99 no-frills fitness tracker can be attached to anything pendant-style (think running shoe or necklace), and also slips into a $9.99 rubber sports band. It measures your activity and sleep, syncs with all smartphones, and comes in four colors: black, white, teal, and orangey-red. 

The plastic tracker funnels info on your daily steps, heart rate, exercise goals, and more into a proprietary app that converts data to charts for easy reading. The Flash’s non-design design is utilitarian, but its functionality is as robust as some $300 wearables. And should you leave it at the gym, you’re only out 20 bucks. 

(Misfit has also wisely lowered its price on the Misfit Shine, from $99.99 to $69.99, seemingly intent on capturing the mass market.)

The other new wearable primed to capture the entry level crowd—in this case, preteen and teen girls—is Jewelbot, a flower-shaped plastic doodad hooked onto an elastic bracelet that vibrates or lights up when a wearer’s friends are nearby.

Yes, that’s all is does. But that’s probably enough to drive social, trend-aware middle school girls to want one bad.

Courtesy Jewelbots

A promo shot for Jewelbots, a wearable for teens

Jewelbot, which will retail for under $20, is still in its Kickstarter phase, but has raised $106,693 with over 1,000 online backers, and was recently annointed the “coolest wearable” by Wired

The smart bracelets are being sold as “friendship bracelets for the iPhone era.” And verbiage on its Kickstarter page is keenly age appropriate: “They’re a means of communicating with friends by lighting up when a BFF is near or buzzing to send messages to a pal across the school.”

Roping in teens with a cheap, social-focused wearable that makes no noise in history class? That’s beyond smart. That’s genius. 

 

JCK Magazine Editor