27 March 2014

Monday Note: “Wearables Fever”

Skagen Mens Black Titanium Mesh Strap Watch

Simplifying a bit, younger people don’t wear watches at all and older generations use them as jewelry — and gender-specific jewelry, at that. Furthermore, how many veteran watch-wearers wear the same watch all the time? Many of us own more than one watch, and select the appropriate timepiece (or two — or none at all) for the occasion. These aren’t trivial issues, they’re uncharted territory for mobile device makers and marketers.

Jean-Louis Gassée

Another article about the overhyped smartwatch movement, this time much more grounded in reality. To shortly sum it up, there are a lot of questions about how and why to build a (good) smartwatch, but a massive shortage of answers.

I too know people who are very passionate about wrist watches, owning dozens of models and swapping them depending on the mood or social situation. Personally I own a single one, wear it for years until I get bored and then spend weeks searching for a new model – mostly based on how it looks and feels. Neither of these use cases can be satisfyingly replaced by a smartwatch with average design, that you will probably have to upgrade at the same pace as your smartphone.

I can certainly see situations where smartwatches would be quite useful; while travelling for example, if you carry around heavy luggage, it would be more comfortable to just raise your wrist and read directions, translations, your target address and more from the smartwatch display instead of fumbling around with your pockets to find the smartphone and unlock it with one hand, while making sure you don’t drop it on the floor. But many of these are fringe cases, aimed at business types and busy people with dozens of meetings, emails and notifications every day; does the average user need an extra display limited to voice input when everything he does on the go can already be solved more comfortably on the smartphone?

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