The Biggest Bummer at CES? Copycat Wearable Technology

Many wearables are just FitBit clones. Here's what investors should watch out for in the future.

Jan 28, 2014 at 9:00PM

One of the hot phrases in investing these days is "wearable technology." The promise is immense, but what's available now -- and what was shown at this year's International CES in Las Vegas -- is somewhat disappointing.

Nike (NYSE:NKE) has its Nike+ Fuelband and surrounding technology. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is pushing the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch for Android. Is this the type of technology investors should be hitching their wearable wagons to? In this video from the CES show floor, Motley Fool analysts Eric Bleeker and Rex Moore discuss what investors should be keeping an eye on in this confusing space.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Rex Moore: What's the biggest surprise you saw out here this year?

Eric Bleeker: The biggest surprise? Wearables.

Moore: Do you like it or hate it?

Bleeker: There just wasn't a lot going on that I found really appealing. Right down behind us, actually, there is a fitness tech exhibit. It was literally just 100 copies of Fitbit. Smart watches aren't very exciting.

Now, I'm going to caveat something here. I think wearables will be fantastic, but I think where we need to draw that line as investors is, are wearables going to be fashion accessories of limited use to the people wearing them, or is "wearable" going to be the idea that your phone is the center of an architecture, where your body has sensors all across it that provide basic ways of better living?

That sounds kind of highfalutin, so I'll dive a little deeper into it.

What if you had 50 sensors, throughout your body, that were all connecting through a technology such as Bluetooth to be able to give you health updates? Other areas -- be able to watch your general well-being? There's so much more appeal to that, as a person and bettering humanity, than something like a smart watch that makes calls and you can't even type into, which is the kind of thing we're seeing on display here.

I feel like wearables and the idea of more computing beyond the smartphone is a very real idea. I just feel like we're a few years away from it and people haven't found the right use case for it.

It's a transcendental technology, but what we're seeing today is completely just scratching the surface.

Eric Bleeker, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned. Eric Bleeker, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned. Rex Moore has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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