In this day and age, hardly anyone can imagine a day without smart devices. Think about a typical day – the morning alarm from your smartphone, the wireless headphones that immerse you in your favorite tunes, and the smartwatch that tracks your steps and messages – these devices have become a vital part of our lives. This is one reason why the wearables market has seen an upsurge in the last decade. In fact, the number of wearable connected devices has crossed over one billion this year.
These wearables’ underlying technology is just as fascinating. It’s time to go deeper into the subject if you want to include wearables in your current application or are just interested in learning more. This wearable device app development guide answers every query regarding its creation.
Things you’ll learn in this blog:
- What is wearable devices app development
- The difference between wearable and mobile apps
- Types of wearable devices and use cases
- Industries benefitting from wearable technology
- How to create a wearable device application
- Challenges of wearable apps
- The cost to create a wearable app in 2023
An Introduction to Wearable App Development
Before delving into the intricacies of crafting a wearable app, it’s essential to establish a clear understanding of the wearables themselves.
Wearables encompass a category of devices that individuals wear as accessories or as integrated components of their attire. These devices connect with smartphones, facilitating data exchange between the device and the network.
On the other hand, wearable applications are software programs designed to interact with and process data from wearable devices. These apps possess the capability to tap into the hardware and operating system of the wearable. By leveraging embedded sensors, they capture diverse data and channel it into the app, precisely programmed to achieve specific objectives.
Today, the wearables market boasts an array of solutions. These devices have seamlessly integrated into our daily routines, from smart watches to activity trackers, fitness bands, and even intelligent eyewear. This integration is profound and set to gain substantial momentum in the future.
Wearable Vs. Mobile Apps: The Differences
Mobile and wearable apps are two separate types of software that address various technological situations and demands. While wearable apps and mobile apps may initially appear to be similar, there are a few key distinctions between the two:
- Wearable apps offer limited functionality compared to mobile applications due to the constrained resources of wearable devices.
- Mobile apps have broader capabilities owing to smartphones’ greater processing power and screen real estate.
- Wearable apps require fewer user interactions and inputs as they aim for quick, glanceable information and simple actions.
- Mobile apps often involve more extensive user interactions, given the larger screens and richer interfaces.
- Wearable apps rely heavily on background processes to deliver seamless user experiences, minimizing direct user input.
- Mobile apps also utilize background processes but may involve more user-initiated actions.
- Wearable apps are often not cross-platform, as they leverage device-specific APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
- Mobile apps can be developed for multiple platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) with shared codebases, ensuring broader accessibility.
Popular Wearable Device Types and Use Cases
Now let’s review the most common types of wearable devices today along with their use cases.
Smartwatches: These versatile wrist-worn devices offer more than just timekeeping. Apps for smartwatches provide notifications, health monitoring, fitness tracking, and even app integration, acting as miniature companions to your smartphone.
Fitness Trackers: These devices are dedicated to health and fitness enthusiasts and help monitor activities like steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep patterns. Fitness apps encourage a healthy lifestyle by providing personalized insights and progress tracking.
Smart Glasses: Combining technology with eyewear, smart glasses offer augmented reality (AR) experiences, displaying digital information and graphics on the lenses. They find applications in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and navigation.
Health Monitors: These devices focus on advanced health tracking, monitoring vital signs such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and ECG readings. They cater to individuals seeking continuous health assessment.
Smart Jewelry and Clothes: By integrating technology into clothing, smart apparel can monitor body temperature, track posture, and more. Besides, smart jewelry like rings can track physical activity and collect information transferred to smartphones for further user interaction.
Industries Benefitting from Wearable Technology
The industries that benefit the most from wearable technology app development are as follows:
Fitness: Employs wristwear and other devices to measure and trail distance, recommend workout plans, etc. Travel apps can analyze physical parameters and also measure and track activity.
Healthcare: Uses wearable technology to monitor bodily functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, etc. It can also identify when someone is falling and automatically call for help.
Fintech: Allow people to make contactless payments via smartwatches/wristbands.
Entertainment: Headsets allow users to listen to music while on the go. VR headsets can transport users into virtual worlds for gaming and entertainment.
Education: Enhances the learning process for studying biology, medicine, physics, and other sciences using AR and VR glasses.
Messaging: Enables users to view and respond to texts using their smartwatch instead of a smartphone.
These are just a few examples of industries that benefit from app development for wearable devices; there are many more to name.
A Step-by-Step Process of Wearable Application Development
App development for wearables is quite tricky, as it is the backbone of all the features and business logic in the future. You’ll need to consider the features, technicalities, and a lot more!
So, here’s a step-by-step guide to the wearable app development process, starting from the planning phase to the release of your wearable app.
Step 1: Define Your Use Case
Wearable apps are made to simplify user’s life. You need to develop an idea that will make your product stand out from the rest. There are many great apps already in the market that can become your inspiration. Develop a use case that will define how your app will be used and who it will benefit from.
You must first understand your users to define your app’s use case successfully. You may accomplish this via:
- User persona research
- Market analysis
- Competitor analysis
- Target audience research
- Analysis of product-market fit
Following this research, you should be ready to develop a business strategy based on your simple notion of a use case.
Step 2: Pick a Platform for Your Wearable App
Wearable apps can exist on several platforms, unlike mobile apps, where you must choose between Android, iOS, or both. Wearable app platforms are typically device-specific, so you’ll need to create a unique application for each device manufacturer you want to support. Some popular platforms for wearable devices include:
- Smartwatch Platforms: Apple WearOS, Android Wear, Samsung Gear S Series, HarmonyOS, MIUI (for Watch), etc.
- Fitness Tracker Platforms: Fitbit, Samsung Gear Fit, Mi Band OS, HarmonyOS, Garmin, etc.
- Smart Glasses Platforms: Glass OS, HarmonyOS, Daqri, Epson Moverio, Sony SmartEyeGlass, etc.
Similarly, there are separate platforms for each wearable device type. Choose the right platform per your business goals and needs.
Step 3: Develop a User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design
Wearable app UI and UX design differ considerably from smartphone UI/UX design. That is why employing a designer with experience delivering top-tier UI/UX design company for wearable devices is critical.
Wearable devices are substantially smaller than mobile devices, offering fewer buttons and UI elements. At the same time, you cannot make the UI elements too small since this will make it difficult for consumers to navigate your app with their fingers.
So, here are some things to consider:
- Ensure all key elements of the app are visible at a glance
- Keep the user experience simple and concise, with user interaction taking no more than 10 seconds
- Use simple fonts, minimalistic shapes, and high contrast for a straightforward interface
Step 4. Make a List of Wearable Device Features/Functionalities
In this step, you must decide the features and functionalities you want your wearable app to have. Make a list of features to prioritize what to develop first.
Some standard features used in wearable app development are as follows:
- Push Notifications: Offer reminders about workout sessions, future events, planned calls, and other prompts
- Navigation and Controls: Use basic navigation for a satisfied user experience, for instance, selecting an item with a tap, swiping between screens, and so on
- Voice Commands: Integrate the wearable device’s voice assistant into your wearable app to make the most out of voice commands
- UI/UX Elements: Avoid using unnecessary on-screen elements, use short text, and limit the use of buttons to one per screen
If you don’t already have a smartphone app, you’ll also need to create one if you wish to create a companion app. You might need to create a container app to carry the setup procedure for standalone wearable apps. However, most smartwatches include internet connectivity and can download apps directly from the app store.
Step 5: Be Mindful of Battery Consumption
Because wearable device batteries are less potent than mobile device batteries, developers must work extra hard to limit battery usage by their apps. It will take a long time to load if they forget about memory usage.
Developers should minimize processes and leave just the most crucial ones to combat the issues with wearable devices. They must also optimize code to make it quick and easy to load.
Step 6: Develop and Test Your Wearable App
After choosing the features, platforms, and other functionalities, you can proceed to the development step, which involves the most intensive procedures. You can finish developing a great product by following the wearable app development best practices.
Next, don’t forget to test your wearable app before publishing it to the app store. Software testing services involve QA engineers continuously checking and fixing bugs and defects.
Step 7: App Launch and Maintenance
Finally, it’s time to launch the wearable app. However, the work doesn’t end with the launch. Your program’s security, usefulness, and relevancy depend on frequent maintenance, so you must do it.
Regular security and performance tests are required, updating all third-party applications like libraries and adapting your software to the newest operating system versions.
Common Challenges of Wearable Application Development
As with any other technology, wearable apps also have a few challenges. However, proficient developers know how to tackle and avoid these challenges.
Here are a few problems developers are likely to face when developing apps for wearable devices.
Anyone working in the wearable industry must consider strategies to increase the battery life of a wearable gadget. Due to wearable technology’s typical tiny size and lightweight, battery life has always been a major concern. Therefore, wearable technology manufacturers must create an effective, powerful, and long-lasting battery. However, when creating their goods, makers of wearable apps must also consider this particularity.
Privacy and Data Security
Wearables are made to be constantly linked to the internet and facilitate data syncing between devices. Although it enhances user experience, it is also linked to a higher risk of data breaches. Nevertheless, the app developer must take all necessary precautions to reduce the danger and stop data theft by outside parties.
Since wearable apps have a smaller screen size than regular mobile apps, designing them can be tricky. Firstly, the device should work smoothly without draining the battery. Secondly, it should appear attractive on the small screen with which users don’t face any issues interacting.
Long texts can’t be displayed on small screens. Developers must, therefore, carefully design all notifications for wearable platforms. One strategy is to send only one or two-word-long messages.
How Much Does It Cost to Create a Wearable App in 2023?
Most likely, you’re now wondering about the cost of wearable app development in 2023.
The cost to develop a wearable application can vary significantly based on an array of aspects, such as the complexity of the app, the platform(s) it’s defined for, the features and functionalities it offers, the level of design and user experience, and the development team’s location and expertise.
Generally, the wearable device application development cost can range between $10,000 and $50,000. For a precise quote, it’s recommended to consult a professional.
Evidently, the wearable app market is growing and will continue to do so in the future. While it has benefits, the challenges are equally significant. This guide includes everything you must know to start wearable device app development in 2023.
However, if you have an outstanding wearable app idea or want to learn more, connect with an app development company like Codment. We have all it takes to bring your innovative app idea to life.