Wearable tech is one of the hottest trends of the upcoming 2014. The brightest item that raises discussions nowadays is the watch, or more precisely, smartwatch. There are various concepts and ready gadgets on the market but we don’t have a watch that comes close to an image of a perfect smartwatch, a product that will be loved by worldwide audience, a device so good in every way that people would choose to replace their beautiful wristwatches with it. The recently presented Galaxy Gear by Samsung has too many shortcomings to gain instant recognition. Let’s try to draw a picture of a perfect smartwatch. What would it be like?
You have a smartphone and it’s most likely that you own a tablet. Perhaps you have a separate mediaplayer (such as an iPod). Do you like the idea of one more device’s battery being charged daily? The creators of the Galaxy Gear thought that it wasn’t much of a problem. Our opinion is on the contrary. We got used to batteries of smartphones that might not last the day, but we don’t want the same for our watches. Charging once a week? Maybe. Once a day? That’s a cheerless prospect.
It’s hard to make touchscreen-based mobile tech truly mobile, and manufacturers haven’t succeeded yet. Such a smartwatch as the Galaxy Gear is currently a gluttonous energy consumer. There’s one solution that can help – wireless charging. This means we’ll have our smartwatches charged without noticing it. At least there won’t be another wire to bother us.
That’s a very subjective point since tastes differ, and the design of the Galaxy Gear cannot be liked by everyone. It’s a laborious task to design something that will look good on your wrist when you wear your suit. It should be mentioned that we have different arms and choose watches of different sizes and styles to fit our own.
The existing examples of such watches are basically complementary to more functional and powerful devices and services of their ecosystems, they are aggregators of features and information from other smart devices. The Galaxy Gear is currently compatible with a limited number of Samsung’s Android smartphones and phablets. Such limitation is no good news if you want your product to go mainstream, with all the diversity of Android devices. And if Apple finally decides to launch a smartwatch, the question of compatibility will be not that laborious to handle, since Apple knows how to polish its products and services.
We got used to a year-long cycle of smartphones’ and tablets’ life, especially in the Apple case. But do we need a newer version of a smartwatch in just a year after we bought the current one? Especially if the platform updates will make serious complications in use, say, two to three years after. People often get used to their old wristwatches and don’t like changing them. If you are one of such people, would you treat a smartwatch differently?
Functional (not more than it’s necessary)
Smartwatches are synced with mobile devices and are simply accessories, but they should be independent in their own right. We don’t need high-end specs and energy draining processors. It’s better to rid of unnecessary functions that work much better on a smartphone. You don’t have to invent new things to be managed by a watch, just make sure it does what it does the best, and does it way better than other mobile devices. Would you like to read and send emails on a 1.3”-1.5” screen? Look through to-dos/reminders? That’s much better.
It’s just a way of wrapping old functionality into a better form factor. You don’t have to have everything in it to make a successful product. Just a notification that you’ve received an email is not the perfect feature for a smartwatch. The richer the screen, the more the functions, but isn’t it more convenient (and informative) to check social network notifications and respond to them using our smartphones? Especially if the problem of battery life isn’t going to disappear.
So what else can a smartwatch have? A phone with a contact list and voice control? Well, if you find talking to your watch okay, it can be fine to answer an urgent call without having to take your phablet out of the bag. A mediaplayer? Perhaps it will be quite fine to skip a song or two in your playlist. However, this feature drains battery life pretty much. A tool for social networking? Not so good, but you may quickly swipe through your Twitter feed – not every social network can be smartwatch-friendly. A health-and-fitness tracker? For example, the Galaxy Gear has a pedometer, it was an obvious option. A watch with weather and alarm? For sure. And what features do you think a perfect smartwatch would have?