01/13/2014 11:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Forget Software: Hardware Is the New Sexy, and It's Because of Google Glass

Whether you are a gamer, electronics junkie, startup jock, tradition nerd (we are the original), or enterprise CIO -- for the last decade, software was sexy.

Cloud computing, cloud storage creating "cloud" the noun, and clouding Everything as a Service creating "clouding" the verb, has made software the sexy talk of the canyons of technology for much of the last decade.

Enter the Pebble watch, Google Glass, FitBit and all other sensors and suddenly the brilliant John Chambers from CISCO and everyone else are rallying around the "Internet of Things." Nothing startling so far, we knew "the widgets of the world would unite" eventually; what we didn't know was that we would refer to it as the Internet of Things.

As I look back to look forward, and think about what the future holds for innovators, technologists and provokers I dawned on the notion that suddenly, hardware is sexy again.

I own a FitBit and have been very involved in sensors for the human body with my volunteer work with TheHumanAPI community, but it was not until I picked up my Google Glass that it dawned on me. 2014 is the year hardware gets its sexy back.

2014 is the year hardware gets its sexy back.

You see for the last decade, when we consumed technology we were in awe of the software: Siri, iCloud, Windows 8 -- all of it awed us and while there were hardware innovations in all of these technologies, software took the main stage every time. We didn't awe in the microphone of Siri, we awed in the software. We didn't awe in the hardware innovations of storage to drive iCloud, we were awed by the software and connection, and touch abilities of the screens running Windows 8 did not awe us, it was the interface of Windows 8 itself that did it.

Even my Fitbit -- the hardware didn't enchant me, it was the software, data and app.

Then I tried on my Google Glass this morning in Google's NYC office, the storage, microphone, speaker, camera, lenses, sensors, accelerometers and other pieces of hardware in the device ("form factor" for us geeks) simply blew me away.

I snapped an image (below) using my Google Glass the moment I realized I had crossed the cognitive chasm. Hardware is the new sexy in technology.


I was warned not to get my hopes up too high, I was told apps for Google Glass were not ready, and I am friends with lots of "Glass Leaders" that are blazing the trail of the ecosystem of information and apps for Google Glass; I was prepared to be disappointed. So I wasn't surprised to find that there were only a few dozen apps to choose from, and the user interface was not as sexy or intuitive as I would have liked it to be.

However, while a self-proclaimed user interface snob, for the first time in a long time, I did not care that the software, ecosystem and app population was below my expectations. I was blown away by the hardware.

The light bulb went on in the Google office as I was getting initial training. Pebble, Glass, FitBit and all of the devices CISCO's John Chambers and others refer to as the $19 trillion economy at CES2014 makes one thing and one thing only for certain.

For technology enthusiasts, we have come full circle back to the days when Steve Woz and Steve Jobs were slaving in hardware making the Apple II slick (image on top of post) -- hardware matters again.

Hardware matters so much, in 2014 it is sexy again -- irrelevant of software.

Keep the comments critical, keep the conversation alive, and thank you for reading.

-- Richie