The easy job was inventing wearable computing

by Steve Blum • , , , , , , ,

It takes mojo to make the glasses and cuffs work, baby.

Expect entrepreneurs to bring the best not-ready-for-prime-time wearable computing concepts to CES.

Samsung's flexible touch screen and Google's Glass project could be ready for market as early as CES 2014. The prototypes that'll be floated next week will show us if they've narrowed the gap between the clunky toys that are available today and the sleek artwork that designers have been teasing us with for years.

Nonetheless, the clunky toys offered by garage scale start-ups and small overseas manufacturers will be the most interesting products to see. Not for the technology, but for the usage cases and applications.

It's one thing to make a touch screen device that slips around your wrist like a shirt cuff or eyeglasses that put a video overlay onto the real world. It's another to give consumers something compelling to do with it.

Hungry and nimble, good start up companies substitute imagination for capital and squeeze the maximum juice out of wild ideas. It doesn't matter if their products can't deliver. It's enough if they can figure out what the promise needs to be.

Even if it doesn't guarantee their own success, it'll be enough to give the wearable computing category momentum to accelerate into the mass market. That's what I'll be trying to find in the back alleys of CES.

You can sell a few hundred thousand units of any cool, geeky gizmo to the boys and girls who love anything innovative. If you want people to buy hundreds of millions of them, you need the mojo to know why.