Future of smartphones could go from out of hand to on body

(Courtesy Here One)
Doppler Labs’ wireless smart earbuds called Here One are scheduled to start shipping this month. (Courtesy Here One)
(Courtesy Here One)
“It’s as if there’s a speaker in front of you or next to you that only you can hear, but that doesn’t totally drown out all the rest of the sounds of the world, which I think is pretty great,” said David Pierce of WIRED. (Courtesy Here One)
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(Courtesy Here One)
(Courtesy Here One)

WASHINGTON — Imagine breaking your smartphone into bits and spreading those parts around your body.

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It may be the future of the hand-held device, according to David Pierce, a senior writer for tech magazine WIRED.

“There are a lot of people with this — sort of this same theory that what we’re going to do is take the parts of a smartphone, remove them all and find different places on you to put them,” he told WTOP.

“So you’ll have something internet-connected on your wrist, something else on your face and something else in your ears, and together they’ll kind of blow up the smartphone and reassemble it all over your body,” he added.

One example of the trend is Snapchat Spectacles, which are scheduled for release this fall.

“They’re these big, goofy-looking glasses like you might buy off a shelf at Toys ‘R’ Us, but they have lights and lenses built into both stems so that when you tap on the glasses, it automatically records 10 seconds of video and automatically puts it in your Snapchat so you can share it,” Pierce said.

Another example, due out in January, is a tiny internet-connected music player and fitness tracker called Pebble Core.

Pierce says products like these may be the start of something “huge.”

“I think what’s going to happen is there are going to be all these things that just get faster because they don’t have to be on our smartphone. And they’ll use our phones as ways to identify us or as a router to connect to the internet,” he said. “With one tap on your temple or your ear, you’re going to be able to access this whole broad internet that has previously just lived in your pocket or purse.”

Meanwhile, earbuds have also seen upgrades so that they’re no longer a boring smartphone accessory.

While sales of Apple’s “AirPods” have been delayed, Doppler Labs’ wireless smart earbuds called Here One are scheduled to start shipping this month, and Pierce got an early demo.

While wearing them, you can talk to people and listen to your music at the same time. “It’s as if there’s a speaker in front of you or next to you that only you can hear, but that doesn’t totally drown out all the rest of the sounds of the world, which I think is pretty great,” said Pierce.

The Here One earbuds also allow you to filter out unwanted sounds.

“Instead of hearing a baby crying or the screech of a subway, you can, literally with a touch of a button on your phone, just tune that out,” Pierce said.

Pierce writes that the Here One demo was “one of the wildest gadget experiences I ever had.”

“It’s like you’ve given yourself … a superpower,” he added.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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