3 things Apple Watch (and other smartwatches) needs to succeed

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I’ve wanted a Movado watch for years. I covet the Movado. To be honest, though, I don’t wear a watch very often. When I do if seems awkward and uncomfortable.

An explosion of smartwatch options hopes to change that, though, and bring the lowly wristwatch back into vogue–albeit a connected, high-tech, more capable version than we’re used to.

I’ve tried a few different smartphone models, and so far I think I’d still rather have that Movado. I wrote a blog post about my experience with smartwatches, and what I think they all need if they want to be more than just a fad.

Pebble just announced that it has sold more than one million smartwatches. The world is waiting anxiously for the arrival of the Apple Watch in the next few months. Wearable technology has been all the rage for a few years now, and it seems like a new device is launched every other day. It’s still possible that the concept is a passing fad, though—like 3D televisions.

I’m Not Trying to be Dick Tracey

I’m familiar with a variety of wearables. I wore a Nike FuelBand for a couple years. I stopped when I started using a treadmill desk for work and discovered that it was incapable of counting my steps because my wrists were, more or less, stationary.

I have used the Pebble and Moto 360 smartwatches. I am currently wearing a smartwatch called the Burg 12 for review purposes (I’ll be giving it away next week), and then I am moving on to review the Omate X.

Some are better than others, but I think each one is a marvel of technology in its own way. No matter how you slice it, that’s an impressive amount of technology and features to cram into a device smaller than a Ritz cracker that you wear on your wrist.

That said, I’m not completely convinced of the value yet. Having a watch that lets me know I have a new text message, or that my wife posted a new photo on Facebook, isn’t all that helpful if I still have to get my phone out of my pocket to find out what the message or photo is or to respond to any messages or notifications.

I’ve also found most of the touchscreens on these devices frustrating. Many are flaky or inaccurate and require hard, slow, deliberate interaction. I’m not a fan of that level of concerted effort. I just want to swipe and tap, and I expect the device to respond.

The Burg 12 I am wearing right now is actually a wrist-mounted smartphone. It has its own SIM card and I can make or receive voice calls or text messages from the watch itself even if I didn’t own a smartphone. It’s also capable of pairing with an iPhone or Android smartphone to act as an extension of your smartphone enabling you to place or receive calls through your phone from the watch. It’s cool because of its novelty, but I’m not Dick Tracey, and I don’t actually want to engage in conversations while speaking into my watch .

Read the full story on Forbes to learn what three things all smartwatches need to succeed: Smartwatches: Revolution Or Passing Fad?

What do you think? Do you own or have you tried a smartwatch? Are you looking forward to the Apple Watch or have any plans to buy a smartwatch in the near future? Share your thoughts and opinions on smartwatches in the comments below.

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About Author

Tony Bradley is Editor-in-Chief of TechSpective and Community Manager for Tenable Network Security. Tony has a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security. He also loves spending time with his family and likes to think he enjoys reading and golf even though he never finds the time for either.

5 Comments

  1. I have a Moto 360 and like it a lot. I mainly wanted something that could tell me the time, monitor my heart rate, and control my phone’s media players while I run up and down Stone Mountain. Fishing my phone out of my pocket to see who’s called (and thus if I need to answer) or to skip to the next song really breaks me out of “the zone” and/or disturbs my concentration enough that it puts me in danger of putting my foot down on a rock that intends to roll once I’m on it.

    Being able to make and receive calls through the watch or my phone (while controlled by the watch) wasn’t something I cared much about, but if it were included I’m sure I’d use it (with a mic and headphones connected to the phone, not the watch).

    The Burg 12 looks like a great idea, but due to its bulk and the difficulty in using it (according to a review I read elsewhere), I think I’ll wait for something slimmer and more polished overall. For now, the 360 does almost exactly what I want it to do, and it looks great, imo. I love it!

    • I don’t think I would want my smartwatch to be my ONLY phone, or have a separate / unique phone number, but as you point out there are some scenarios where it would be nice to have a watch that pairs with the phone and allows you to make and receive calls through your phone from the watch if necessary.

      Another interesting benefit of that pairing when it comes to the Burg 12 is that the watch alerts you when the Bluetooth connection to your phone is lost. That lets it also act as a sort of alarm that your phone might be lost or stolen–assuming you didn’t just leave it in the other room while you get up to get a beer and just happen to walk out of Bluetooth range.

      • Yeah, I wouldn’t want a smartwatch as my only phone either. Like you, sometimes I find wearing a watch to be uncomfortable. When I’m active, I don’t notice it unless I need to use it. But when I’m relaxing, a watch can be annoying.

        I meant to comment earlier that I also agree with you about touch responsiveness. My Moto 360 usually behaves well in this regard, but every so often it won’t react until I stab at it a few times. Improvements here would be very welcome.

        Your comment got me wondering if a Bluetooth disconnection alarm might be available on the Play Store for Android Wear. It appears there are a few apps that claim to do this, but the user reviews seem mixed, with some comments about a delay between the disconnection and the sounding of the alarm. Still, I’ll try and see if I can find one that works well. Thanks for the idea!

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