There was a time not too long ago where teachers and parents alike reminded their children that they needed to master a certain set of skills in order to be productive members of society because “magical devices” didn’t exist. Fast forward 10 years and we’re now immersed in just such a world – full of smartphones, tablets and GPS devices that have rendered traditional items like calculators, maps and appointment books nearly extinct.
The latest trend emerging is that of “smartwatches” – which do all the aforementioned tasks as well as snap photos, track workouts and use an array of apps that brands hope will cause users to leave their cellphones in their pockets. Leading the charge into the marketplace is the Samsung Galaxy Gear which links to your cell and allows for everything in its arsenal along with all the new technology of a cutting edge product. Having entered the realm prior to Apple, surely a back and forth will commence as 1st generation products trade jabs until one ultimately wins out. But that begs the question, how many “smart” devices can one person manage, let alone need? As part of our ongoing roundtable discussions, we tackle smartwatches.
Smartwatches always remind me of those older futuristic movies and suddenly these things are all becoming reality. You remember when James Bond films impressed you with its gadgets? I do, but it was awhile ago. I do see some of the benefits of a smartwatch, but I am too big of a watch fan to dismiss a proper mechanical watch for another electronic gadget. I think I would understand the concept better if the watch would replace the phone, but since you actually need to carry both, I think I will stick with a proper watch and my phone for now.
Personally, I do like the concept of smartwatches. I remember seeing the first renderings of that iPod nano casing that would allow you to wear the device on your wrist and thought it was pretty cool… until it actually hit the market and I realized it looked ridiculous, not to mention serving little function. That said, these days many people wear watches mainly for the look. Presently I am wearing both a traditional watch – a Luminox – and one of those Nike FuelBands that tracks my movement and tells the time. The time-telling functionality is also repeated a third time on my iPhone (which never leaves my side), so I guess my personal answer is that “wearing” anything goes well beyond necessity. For wearable tech, I think it’s about striking a balance between functionality and looks, so final answer: if someone comes out with a smartwatch that I find aesthetically pleasing, then yes I would wear it. Would I buy one? I’m not sure.
As of now, no. Since the “brain” of the device still lives in the phone, the smartwatch’s utility at this point hardly moves beyond novelty. I would even argue that the convenience it brings to your wrist is actually more of an inconvenience because a smartwatch’s best functions, like the ability to read text messages, still require you to double back to your phone in order to follow up and respond. I can’t imagine a situation where I would need to know the exact temperature or some other trivial fact in the fractions of a second less than it takes me to pull out my phone.
Current smartwatch design trends also play a role in my decision. I might be in the minority here since many think of smartwatches as an entirely new technology that deserves its own aesthetic, but I would like to see future smartwatches integrated into both classic and contemporary watch designs. After all, the clothing we wear around the watch won’t be changing so dramatically for the foreseeable future – especially not for men. In a word, if future iterations blend function with form, then I would at least consider wearing one.
Let me start off by saying that I’m 100% for smartwatches, and any other wearable tech for that matter. It’s the inevitable step forward. Do I currently own or plan on purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Gear? No, and probably not, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ll all be wearing them someday. Once smartwatches are refined and perfected, I think they will undoubtedly replace the cell phone, and that’s when I’ll purchase one. The need for a larger screen will continue to be satisfied by iPad mini and other tablet devices, allowing the smartwatch to truly flourish.
My first thought about smartwatches was, “Have we really gotten so lazy that we no longer have the fortitude to reach into our pockets for a device that is practically a godsend?” Apparently, the answer is “yes.” Although individuality is a strong defense, information and the access to it is proving to be the best offense in creating social change. Any and every device that serves as an inconspicuous tool for those carrying it is important because it puts eyes and an internet connection on wearers who can then relay vital information. Thanks to social media and camera phones, we no longer have to rely solely on new organizations to be kept abreast on percolating and volatile situations. If smartwatches are another tool aimed at documenting the world, then I’m all for it.