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By: May Ling Tham

With technology being an integral part of consumers’ lifestyles, Euromonitor International takes a look at new product developments in bags and eyewear and how tech-savvy features incorporated into these accessories might be the future for the industry.

Smart Bags Charge Mobile Devices While On the Go

While the world obsesses over smart devices, demand for accessories is increasing. No longer are bags being designed with just compartments to slot in laptops and mobiles; they are now also incorporating charging devices to allow consumers to charge their electronics when on the go, while also remaining fashionable.

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Top left to right: Hustle bag from Hustle Group, Mighty Purse from Handbag Butler

Bottom left to right: Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag and Power Q Laptop Backpack from Timbuk2

Photo Credit: Hustle, Mighty Purse and Timbuk2

Hustle and the Mighty Purse, both conceived in Australia, and the products from Timbuk2, a San Francisco-based messenger bag and luggage manufacturer, all function similarly, offering a hidden, lightweight battery source concealed within the bag. The consumer simply plugs in their mobile device to be charged while on the go. The battery source needs to be charged separately beforehand.

The Hustle Bag’s battery source can be recharged by placing the bag over the Hustle Charge Pad, a wireless induction charging pad. The company promises that a fully charged battery source can recharge a mobile phone four times before requiring a new charge itself. The bag also comes in a wallet or clutch option to cater for both men and women.

The Mighty Purse comes with an LED battery level indicator which allows the user to check the level of the battery source when it is charging. Made of leather, the Mighty Purse is marketed as either a standalone clutch or a smaller carrier within a larger bag.

Timbuk2, on the other hand, collaborated with Joey Energy, a power solutions company for electronic equipment. The company claims that the battery is smart enough to detect the kind of electronic device being attached, and is able to charge it at an optimal rate. In line with Timbuk2’s product range, the bags have a more casual and sporty look.

One might wonder why consumers would opt for such a product as opposed to a standalone portable charger that can be used in many different bags. Branding might be the key to that question, with the brand that manages to appeal to the emotional requirements of the consumer set to see demand soar.

Ray-Ban to Charge up your iPhone

More products are becoming increasingly ‘smart’, with consumers and designers also considering the potential of eyewear in terms of this trend. Design student Sayalee Kaluskar has fitted a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses with a solar panel, a built-in battery and an iPhone 5 charging plug, resulting in an instant battery source for a mobile phone. The idea was conceptualised as part of a school project and is not available in the retail channel. However, the idea is a simple one, combining existing technology to produce a functional product which could potentially see demand.

What the Future Holds

These new products respond to an increasing gripe of smart device users, ie a short battery life, especially when running apps and utilising location services, with a recharge required before the day is over. Be it a small tweak or customisation of an existing product, innovation will be key to keeping existing products relevant to the needs of today’s consumers.

Neither smart bags nor solar eyewear are likely to replace existing product lines. However, what they will do is attract a new breed of discerning consumer who values the combination of convenience and technology in everyday products, but without sacrificing aesthetics.

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