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What will it take for wearables to go mainstream?

Biosensing wearables have recently drawn attention from big companies such as Apple, Google and Samsung, but the devices still have a long way to go before they achieve mainstream acceptance.

That’s the finding of areport released Mondayfrom Rock Health, the Mission Bay accelerator that seeds digital health startups.

Many investors are betting that biosensing wearables — gadgets that continuously monitor a user’s physiological signs, such as Fitbit and Jawbone —  will be the next major trend in consumer electronics. Companies in that industry raised $229 million in venture funding in 2013, a big increase from $20 million in 2011, according to Rock Health. At the same time, the technology that goes into making these devices work is more compact and advanced than ever.

Other companies are taking notice. At its developers conference last week, Apple unveiled  a new Health app, which gives users a dashboard of their health and fitness data, and a tool for developers called HealthKit. The week prior, Samsung showed off a prototype for a smart watch that can detect users’ heart rate, temperature and other vital signs. And Google is also working on a contact lens that’s meant to help diabetics monitor their glucose levels.

But while consumers may be buying wearables, many aren’t using them for very long. According to a survey by Endeavor Partners, one-third of U.S. consumers who have bought an activity tracker stop using it within the first six months.

“If people found great value in devices, they would continue to use them,” said Malay Gandhi, managing director of Rock Health. “That’s just not happening today.”

For wearables to become accepted, Gandhi said, devices will need to become more functional — that is, tell people useful information and advice about their health, rather than just telling them what their heart rate is, for example. Gadgets must provide reliably accurate information. And they must offer convenience, whether they have easily rechargeable batteries or they constantly synchronize data between the device, the smartphones and cloud storage.

If companies go down this path, Gandhi said, “We see something that does become disruptive over time.”

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