Gadgets are already personal objects, but there’s something especially intimate about technology you wear (see: smartwatches and maybe someday, smart glasses). Which is why I think something that fits in the middle between objects you hold and objects you wear, like a shoulder strap, could be the next big thing.
Motion Boom Plus — Consider the Soundcore Motion Boom Plus. A seemingly respectable boombox-style Bluetooth speaker from Soundcore, Anker’s audio brand, with 20 hours of battery life from a 13,400 mAh battery, an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating, and the ability to float.
The sound performance should be equally impressive. Anker claims the Motion Boom Plus features new titanium drivers, “BassUp” technology, and dual 3.5-inch woofers. Combined with passive bass radiators, the company says the Motion Boom Plus “can accurately reproduce bass notes from any genre of music.”
That’s cool, sure, but I think the real selling point for me is the shoulder strap.
Yes, there’s something very goofy about taking a giant-ass Bluetooth speaker with you for a hike (the Motion Boost Plus’ straps are removable) but the idea itself has legs, even setting aside the long cultural history of lugging boomboxes around with straps and handles.
Snap Pixy — A shoulder strap — a bit like the handle on a GameCube — marries the slightly impractical shape and size of gadgets with the very practical use-cases of handles. They let you carry things that might not be easy to carry with just your hands. The slightly goofy look is a feature, not a bug.
Take Snap’s new Pixy drone. The camera quality might not be impressive, but Snap’s real innovation with the Pixy is making a drone both friendly and stylish. From the hat-like knob on the top of the Pixy that sets its flight path, to the bumper with a shoulder strap that acts as the Pixy’s carrying case, Snap’s thought how the Pixy should look to the people eager to buy it.
And it looks damn good!
Little fabric nubs — I’d go even further and argue that fabric plus a handy piece of tech is always a winning combination. Roku’s remotes have long had fabric tags for no real reason other than they look cute, and might make the remotes easier to fish out of the couch.
My recommendation to product designers is to go hog wild. Throw a strap on it! It’ll look good, and it might actually be useful.
The Soundcore Motion Boom Plus will be available from Amazon on May 30 for a yet-to-be disclosed price. Snap’s Pixy is available for $249 from the company’s website.