Google Inc, Apple Inc. And ARM Holdings plc: 3 Plays On The Wearable Tech Boom

The first computers that were built were a whirring mass of vacuum tubes, wires and relays. They were programmed by perforated cards, and would fill a room. Then, with the emergence of microprocessors we had personal computers, which fit on a desk. Then, a decade later we had laptops, with those new-fangled liquid crystal displays. Then a decade later there were tablets. Now we have the dawning age of wearable computing.

I think this is the year that wearable tech moves to the mainstream. So, here are my three plays on the wearable tech boom.



Instead of inventing an odd-looking gadget that people are not used to wearing, why not piggy-back on things that people are used to wearing, and that are already an accepted part of lives — such as glasses?

So Google (NASDAQ: GOOG.US) has invented Google Glass. This is basically a pair of glasses with a miniaturised display screen. What you see when you wear these glasses is a form of augmented reality.

So if you are cooking and learning a recipe, you will see each step of the recipe displayed as you cook. If you are driving through Rome, you will see your driving stats, as well as translations of the road signs. If you are cycling through the Cotswolds, you can monitor your progress and see landmarks along the way.

I think this device could eventually be as transformational as the iPhone, though mass adoption is some way off yet.



There have long been rumours about an iWatch, yet as yet no product has been launched. I think that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL.US) will bring out an iWatch, and I think this could be the opening up of a whole new product category, and a new and highly profitable revenue stream.

The thing about Apple is that when they launch a product, they tend to trump every other rival product. Just as the iPad is the leading tablet and the iPhone is the leading smartphone, so the iWatch will be the leading smart watch.

What Steve Jobs figured out is that people don’t usually need all the bells and whistles of desktop PC. So he developed a tablet and a phone which contained only the essentials of a computer. Instead of adding complexity, he simplified. I expect the iWatch to contain only the essentials of a smartphone. But it will have enough features to be indispensable.


 All these devices, whether they be watches, glasses, contact lenses, or anything else, will need processing power. They will need low-energy consumption, stripped down microprocessors. Who makes these chips currently? ARM (LSE: ARM) (NASDAQ: ARMH.US).

Whereas the chip industry used to be an arms race of increasing processing power, the goal these days is low-energy chips that take up minimal space and produce minimal heat. ARM is the leader in this field. This company’s shares are already very highly rated. Yet I think they could rise further.

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> Prabhat owns shares in Vodafone. The Motley Fool owns shares in Apple and Google.