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Smart dumb tech #01: Tommy Hilfiger’s cash-in ‘smart clothing’
In this Android Authority series, we will examine new technology that is useless, silly, or downright terrifying. After all, not every new tech product out there is going to be the next Google.
Wearable technology is something that humans have been creating for decades. One only needs to go back to the 1940s to the famous comic strip panels of Dick Tracy – with the titular character’s two-way radio wristwatch – to know that technology we put on our bodies has always been considered a cool concept.
However, the difference between Dick Tracy’s wristwatch and the “smart wearables” I’m going to talk about today is simple: usefulness.
Recently, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger released a new line of clothing called Tommy Jeans Xplore. The shirts, hoodies, pants, jackets, hats, and more, all have embedded smart-chip technology.
I know what you’re thinking: the smart chips enable you to track your steps, or monitor your heart rate, right? Or maybe they have GPS trackers so you can always find your favorite hat if you lose it?
Those are good ideas, dear reader, but no; these chips don’t do any of those things. Their purpose is to reward you with a points system for wearing Hilfiger clothing.
Seriously. That’s it.
You might be thinking there's an ingenius use for these 'smart clothes,' but there isn't.
Let’s say you buy a hoodie from this Xplore line. You pair the hoodie via Bluetooth to your smartphone, which earns you points. Then, since your phone is likely near you all day while you wear the hoodie, you earn points for the amount of time the hoodie is connected.
You can also earn points by opening the connected application and finding Tommy Hilfiger brand icons on a map as you walk around.
After you earn a certain amount of points, you can trade them in for gift cards, signed merchandise (seriously), and “pieces from the Tommy Hilfiger archives,” whatever the hell that means.
The brand is selling the new line as a kind of game people can play. Instead of just putting on a hoodie to, oh I don’t know, keep warm, your clothing choices are part of your success (or lack thereof) in the game.
People love games, right? I’m sure that’s what the marketing department at Tommy Hilfiger said to sell this bizarre and ridiculous concept.
Hopefully, you have a lot of money to spend to join this cash-in program.
What’s worse is that this clothing line ain’t cheap. A classic-style hoodie in a hideous teal color will set you back $100, before tax and shipping. A ball cap that says “Tommy Jeans” in one color in very tiny print is a whopping $30.
When are people going to learn that if you’re walking around with a piece of clothing on that is covered in branding, the company should be paying you to wear it?
Maybe that’s what Tommy Hilfiger is trying to do here: maybe it is trying to help people feel better about paying top-dollar to be walking billboards by throwing some meaningless points their way. That’s a nice idea.
But who are we kidding? Tommy Hilfiger just wants more data to know what you wear, when you wear it, and where you go when you’re wearing it. Let’s not delude ourselves, here.
NEXT: Matrix PowerWatch X review: The would-be future of wearables