I'm sure you're aware of IBM's big data analytics/cognitive system Watson. It was the first computer to compete on Jeopardy back in 2011, and the supercomputer actually won against two past champions. Well, Watson's $77,147 in winnings must have dried up, as IBM just announced that it will offer a mobile app version of Watson called the Watson Trend App. Its first job: fortune-telling.
While this post could be about the supercomputer in mobile app form, its predictions for this holiday season are more intriguing. According to Watson, wearable devices will be "must-have" gadgets, with movie-goers and video-gamers most excited about these technologies. Indeed, tech enthusiasts are excited to get their hands on -- or wrists covered — in wearable tech such as smartwatches, Gamebands and Oculus Rift VR.
Gear For Gearheads
This may not come as a surprise to mobile app developers likely interested in wearables themselves. However, what's concerning here for brands and testers is that tech-savvy millennials are a big market for these technologies. As such, your business must please a picky audience with your wearable apps. Even more threatening, those individuals hold the keys to the life and death of wearable devices: If users find your apps clunky, glitch-ridden or otherwise useless, your app and potentially the wearable could end up being trashed.
After all, a WIRED article by J.C. Herz from last year around this time asserted that young, gadget-friendly individuals out of MIT and Silicon Valley are simply designing wearable devices and apps for themselves. While Herz's argument was about how you should look past that market in the future, he explained that "most of the information technologies we currently use started this way." Therefore, the best method for getting the whole world on board with wearables is to get tech-savvy millennials using and loving smartwatches and the like, including wearable apps.
Getting It Right the First Time
But getting consumers to use and love your mobile apps is easier said than done, especially given the highly competitive mobile app market. You need to deliver a wearable app that provides useful capabilities that are unique to the technology and functional, while also independent from mobile apps.
Besides the obvious advice to make your app work, you must ensure that your brand's app works every time it's used. This means performing rigorous mobile app testing via real-life end-user scenarios. Think "What would I do while using this app?" since you're equally as tech-savvy as those interested in wearable technologies. Test your app for every condition -- from answering calls to changing songs — and you'll be on the right track to engaging users.
The next step is ensuring that you can deliver continuous quality. The wearable app game is just beginning, and your app must be in it for the long haul, providing updates with new features, functions and releasing versions that take advantage of the latest smartwatches' capabilities.
At the end of the day, wearable apps will be compared to mobile apps, and yours must perform just as well as their smartphone brethren.