The tech sphere is experiencing an explosive change with the sudden flood of wearable devices – be it Google’s Glass or Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. Methods of information consumption on these devices are much different to what we have been used to. Most of us nowadays catch up on our news requirements by simply pulling out our smartphones, and getting on with either Flipboard or Googles’ Play Newsstand or through some RSS aggregator app.
The beauty of wearable devices – be it Google Glass, Galaxy Gear or the Pebble Smartwatch – is that information is readily available, without the hassle of reaching for the smartphone again and again. This convenience also gives rise to a conundrum for developers who need to match convenience with the need for a proper and user-friendly user interface which is unobtrusive.
Wearably attempts to solve this conundrum for content developers who depend on RSS feeds to get their content in the sight of their end-users. Wearably, a service created by a three-person team called Silica Labs, simplifies the transition of RSS contents and websites to wearable devices. Currently the service supports Google Glass, Sony Smartwatch 2 and Pebble Smartwatch.
Wearably helps content providers, especially those with rapidly changing digital content, to save money and takes the main elements of the content – viz. the headline, the photographs, time of publication etc. – and transitions them into interactive cards which are then displayed on the end-users’ wearable device. The cards are thoughtfully designed to be less obtrusive, though provide critical information at a glance. The end-user simply has to install the Wearably app and subscribe to the content outlets. Thoughtfully enough, the user also has been given the options to organize news into morning and evening editions, as per his convenience.
The content aspect is in the control of the content generators, and Wearably CTO Antonio Zugaldia says that “it’s totally up to the publication how they organize their content. Our responsibility is to deliver the content to users in a beautiful way.” As per him, the greatest challenge for the team was to ensure that Wearably could be used across a range of devices, which resulted in them working with a large number of application programming interfaces (APIs). Designer and Co-Founder of Wearably, Stephanie Nguyen says that the teams’ aim was to “reimagine the way users consume news”.
So far Atlantic Media, National Geographic and NPR already use Wearably. The cost of the app for the end-user is $11 a month, while the publisher plan is $449 a month. The publisher plan enables distribution of one RSS feed across three devices – Google Glass, Sony Smartwatch 2 and the Pebble Smartwatch. Future updates would include location-based news and eventually enable the capability to deliver city-wide alerts.