Developing Apps for Wearables is Not the Same as Mobile App Development

wearable app development

Your watch is no longer a timepiece. It is a smartwatch. It now shows not only time but a gazillion of other data relating to your physical activity, health statistics, social media notifications or even the exact location of your connected car.

Let’s face it. The digital landscape that smartphones have constructed is slowly giving way to a whole new world of wearable devices.

Business Insider Intelligence estimates pin the wearable device market size forecast to be in the north of $14,000 Millions by 2018.

wearable device market size forecast

Now, the question is: How will wearable disrupt the already cemented mobile app development scenario?

On the onset, the two devices have massive differences.

A smartphone has an average screen size of 5-inch or more. A wearable device would have a maximum screen size of 1.14 inch.

Some wearables might give the screen a skip too. Like smart wings, smart chains, accessories among many others.

The user-friendliness, all-time connectivity, instant gratification and a host of other features have led the growth of wearable devices. However, developing mobile applications for wearables have distinct challenges. Apart from the screen size, there are several other aspects that need deep thought. Those aspects of wearables which will cause an impact on mobile app development is the essence of this writing.

User Interface

The UI of wearables is limited to a quarter of a smartphone. There is not much space to play around with advanced control. However, users expect their smart wearables to perform the same level of tasks as their other devices but with little effort and sophistication. This demands that the user interface be designed in a simple and minimalist manner.

App size

Wearables have a minimal RAM bordering in the range of 512MB or so which makes it difficult for them to run heavyweight apps. App designers need to design mobile apps that can run smoothly in wearable devices without consuming too much of memory.


A wide majority of users invest in a smartphone because it allows them to check for notifications without turning to their smartphone. The notifications in smart wearables have to be presented in a subtle and easy to check manner. The notifications should be well-organized so that users can toggle between apps from multiple apps without much difficulty.

Battery consumption

Since they are worn during most time of the day and run apps in the background on a minuscule battery, wearable devices are prone to run out of battery sooner than smartphones. Designing mobile apps for low-energy consumption is inevitable.


Wearable devices, owing to their design have some inherent capabilities to gather more real-time data that smartphones cannot. For instance, Apple is all set to release the next version of smartwatch that can measure the amount of glucose and determine the sugar levels of people with diabetes. Integrating such abilities that smartphones cannot fathom should form part of wearable app development.


While one side their size seems to be beneficial for several purposes, smart wearables are also easy to lose, stolen or simply broken when rammed against rough purposes. Above all, the software security provisions is another aspect that needs to be considered in wearable app development.

Wrapping it up

Wearables are positioning themselves in between powerful smartphones and the ever-growing human need to stay connected without carrying a bulky device. This has impacts the manner in which mobile app are designed for use in wearables. Apps for wearables will have to don a new skin to deliver a user experience that delights users and help achieve the purpose for which the wearable is designed.

VDartDigital is a digital transformations company which develops utilitarian apps for wearable devices. Healthcare, personal safety, productivity are some of the utilities for which VDartDigital has already developed wearable apps.

Written by Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan is a digital and social media marketing consultant.

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