Three different categories of device – for the ears, eyes and wrists, and each with its own set of uses – will soon become prevalent, predicts new Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich. What the killer apps of these will be, however, is still anyone’s guess.

“There are two very different visions for how wearable computing will break into the mainstream.

One holds that it will seep into everyday life, through gadgets that perform a single function but remain largely invisible. Wristbands made by Nike and Jawbone are the forerunners of these smart devices, measuring and reporting back to apps to track and analyse aspects of the wearers’ fitness and health.

The other vision involves a full-frontal assault on general-purpose personal computing. In this version of events, a watch or pair of glasses will subsume many of the killer apps of the smartphone, starting with things like making phone calls, checking text messages or taking pictures, before eventually making today’s favourite gadgets redundant. By opening these devices up as platforms for third party developers, their makers hope to increase the odds that they’ll come up with things to make the gadgets indispensable.

Of the two, the history of personal technology points to the former as the more likely.”