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Your Comprehensive Guide on Wearable App Development

With the increasing demand of customers for wearable apps, the wearable technology ecosystem is constantly expanding.

Wearable devices are no longer restricted to wristwatches and fitness trackers.

They’ve advanced to highly-functional IoT-connected devices like Ralph Lauren’s PoloTech t-shirts (that connect to a smartphone app to record fitness activity and recommend new workouts to the wearer) or the NFC-enabled smart ring that enables you to share information as quickly as by a fist-bump.

Introduction to wearable app development

Wearable apps let modern day, ready-to-wear devices like wristwatches and fitness bands connect to other devices (usually a smartphone) using a mobile app via an Internet connection to keep track of the data.

Devices that run on wearable technology are worn externally on the body and they require a mobile app to connect to. The purpose behind this is to gather data from the device and access it on the smartphone via the internet. There are specific apps designed to work with wearable devices, some of the most popular being Accuweather, Parking, and Spotify.

Since Android phones and iPhones make up over 80% of the smartphone marketplace, it is no surprise that Apple and Google are the biggest wearable app developers.

Although the wearable app market has incredibly evolved in a short span of time, wearable apps are definitely not the same as designing standard mobile apps.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges of developing wearable apps.

Challenges in wearable app development

Wearable technology is all about what you wear, from wristwatches to jackets, fitness bands, smart jewelry, and almost everything you utilize in your daily routine.

A recent report published by Statista shows that wearable solutions have covered almost $600 million market area just for fitness trackers, a product subtype that has dominated the market by 60% for all wearable solutions.

With consumers demanding flexibility and businesses aiming for efficiency, the demand for wearable app is also rising. It’s important to address the challenges that come in wearable app development.

Here are some of the most common challenges that developers face during wearable app development:

1. User Interface

With an overwhelming choices for smartphone devices and tablets, users have started accessing their wearable apps from multiple devices. Since different devices have different screen sizes, it often proves to be a challenge for developers to streamline the user experience across devices.

Overcoming this challenge:

  • Since it’s the screen size that creates different views of the application, focusing on voice commands would be a great move to streamline the user experience across different interfaces
  • Emphasize on micro moments to speed up interaction
  • Keep the navigation easy and minimal
  • Don’t try to fit all the elements in a small screen if it’s making the design look cluttered. Let the design breathe a small-sized device and yet look good
2. Platform Portability

Developing a cross-platform wearable app for better user reach? Fragmentation is one of the biggest challenges in developing wearable apps. Since most wearable apps are not cross-platform compatible, solving the issue of fragmentation and making the app compatible across different platforms and operating systems not only becomes difficult but a costly affair too.

Overcoming this challenge:

Different platforms require different coding. To ensure that your wearable app runs efficiently and uniformly across different platforms, consider custom-coding the app. Focus on API protocols.

3. Battery Life

Another big challenge in developing wearable apps is ensuring that they are optimized for battery consumption, without compromising on the important features. This is important because a lot of apps end up getting banned due to their high battery consumption. Moreover, if your app is a battery eater, it will anyway not last on your user’s device for long.

Overcoming this challenge:

Strike a balance between integrating the best features and making it battery-saving. How? By ensuring that the app is optimized enough so that it does not force your users to choose between their smartphone battery and the app. Do not stuff your app with unwanted features that increase battery consumption.

4. Lack Of Coding Standards And Protocols

Each time a wearable device is built, coding standards have to be tweaked in developing the apps compatible for the device. This often results in dysfunctional, broken, and incompatible apps for certain devices.

Overcoming this challenge:

Mention the coding standards and protocols so that APIa can be developed differently for each device in eay that brings compatibility with different devices. Choose the best development environment and SDK for the start. Once the API method is specified, consider features and functionalities of the wearable app.

Wearable app products & solutions

Wearable technology is rapidly taking over the world across different industry verticals, from fashion to travel, and healthcare, among others.

Here’s some inspiration in the form of wearable app products and solutions:

  • Smartwatches
    According to the latest research findings on wearables shipments worldwide market share 2014-2021 by Statista, Apple is the leading wearable vendor as of 2021, thanks to the successful introduction of the Apple Watch to the smartwatch market.The smartwatch market is a promising segment within the wearable industry, as global smartwatch shipments are expected to increase from around 42 million units in 2017 to more than 115 million units by 2022.Smartwatches are the most popular wearable devices in today’s time. They connect to the smartphone to allow users to access their data through the app via the Internet, without having to even hold the phone.
  • Smart Jewelry (fashion + technology)
    A smart ring or a smart bangle are examples of smart jewelry. You probably must have noticed these smart fashion accessories in Bond movies. These cool devices can do everything from tracking health to recording data. the information can later be accessed on your smartphone.
  • Fitness Trackers
    Being one of the most popular smart devices, they are used by a huge audience in maintaining good health today. This small handy device can perform various functions like tracking the number of steps taken or stairs climbed, the heart rate, etc. The slight difference between fitness trackers and smartwatches is that the former are smaller in size and more affordable.

Smart Clothing
These are more detailed wearable devices that provide in-depth details of the user’s body as compared to smartwatch or fitness trackers. This proves useful in both medical care and lifestyle improvement.wearable app development

Some of the best examples of smart clothing devices include a shirt (that can diagnose a respiratory disease), smart shoes (that can track running form), siren socks (that can diagnose foot ulcers), and smart swimsuits (that suggest when a user should apply sunscreen).

Wrapping up

Developing wearable apps is challenging, but highly rewarding. The technology has a huge potential in serving different business verticals like gaming, healthcare, and finance, among others.

With evolving platforms and devices, developers need to adapt and take appropriate measures, like the ones outlined in this post, to overcome the challenges in wearable app development.

Jellyfish Technologies is one of the most reputed wearable app development companies in the world that leverages wearable technology to the maximum to deliver a suite of high-performance and innovative wearable apps for modern users.

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