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.

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