I’ve always found wearable technology a bit… well… gimmicky. Whether it was a Bluetooth headset, or a mini clip on MP3 player (iPod Nano). However there is now one form of technology that does somewhat intrigue me. Smart watches.
Smartwatches have technically been around for a while now and they’ve all sucked pretty much. Early smartwatches were basically standard watches (digital) with a load of buttons on them that could double up as a little calculator. Very gimmicky indeed. If we advance sightly we’ve seen watches that double up as “cell phones”. Basically the same sort of design as the calculator watches but included a radio transmitter, a sim card slot, a speaker and a mircrophone. They’re actually still around too, in the form of cheap imported GSM devices with wrist straps that are beyond unusable.
I know I sound somewhat skeptical about the future of wearable tech but I can assure you that I’m starting to have a much brighter outlook on it all, if only because manufacturers now understand how gimmicky the older devices were and how they can make them seem much less gimmicky.
The recently released Pebble smartwatch, a popular new product that came into being via the crowd funding platform kickstarter is a prime example of wearable technology that integrates itself with your current system(s), isn’t overly gimmicky, and serves a real-world purpose. The Pebble smartwatch is a piece of wearable technology that I am actually considering purchasing at some point UNLESS a company comes along and makes something better.
The idea of the Pebble smartwatch is fairly simple. It’s a mirroring device… of sorts, that is combined with a watch. The idea being that you connect your smartphone to the device via Bluetooth, whether it be your Android or iOS device and you can interact on a basic level with your smartphone on the go without actually having to retrieve the device from your pocket. So for example say you have your phone in your pocket and you receive a Twitter notification, the watch will vibrate and display a preview of the tweet on the watch face. This could be useful in a few situations, such as if your phone isn’t very accessible, or if you’re concealing your device at a social event.
So the device has multiple functions (besides being a watch of course) but it seems that the interaction between you and the device the watch is mirroring is somewhat limited. This is where perhaps I’d like another company to step in.
There have been rumors of several major companies with smartwatches in development. One of them being Apple with their rumored iWatch. Seems like a pretty typical Apple-esque naming scheme. Google have also been rumored to have one in development, however I would say that it is unlikely for Google to develop such a product in the near future if only because of the wearable tech product they’re currently pushing (Google Glass) which is an entirely different form of interaction.
So what do you think? Will smartwatches become the next big thing? Or is it still a silly idea?