Blog Post: Are We On The Same Page With Smart Watches?

I am currently in the middle of an argument with my client.

Sounds dramatic, right? Even gave the sentence it’s own paragraph. It’s not exactly an argument, because my client wouldn’t have that title much longer if I was really arguing with him. What’s really going on is there is one topic he keeps bringing up that gets a reaction from me: wearable technology.

It all started when he got a Pebble watch for Christmas. Hayden, the account manager on my team wears a Pebble as well. In fact, I know several people with one, or something similar. Smart watches are the topic of many conversations right now in mobile technology because they, and the valuable data-gathering sensors, are going revolutionize everything. 

My argument to said client and Hayden, is that I already have the best wearable technology on the market: my phone.

Of course, this gets everyone all flustered and smiling in that patronizing way, but what I am trying to do is challenge the “smart watch” category of wearable technology and challenge it’s true purpose. I wish I had the source, but I read on Twitter the other day that the top feature for many smart watch wearers is the clock. If that is indeed true, maybe I’m just not the right buyer for this device category.

Currently, Pebbles offer users a limited range of features, but they are valuable for someone that has a desire to still wear a watch. If you’re going to be strapping something to your wrist, might as well be something that deliver SMS and email notifications as well as track some basic health data. For Galaxy Gear owners, you can even take pictures and use it as a crude sort of bluetooth headset for phone calls. 

Even then, I’m not interested.

It took me a while to become a tablet owner. Sure, the price was a fairly high hurdle to get over, but if there was really a reason I would have found a way. Main reason was I could do everything I wanted with my iPhone, so why introduce another device that I had to relearn habits on. I can’t be the only one.

Wearable technology, which is a much larger product category than just watches, will be changing our lives very soon. I, however, don’t think that change will come strapped to our wrists. It will be in our shirts, our shoes, our belts, bluetooth headsets, maybe even our contact lenses someday. 

Technology that is truly “wearable” is all about data collection and the services it connects to. A slight few of them might turn around and display information, but true revolution in this category won’t come for a very long time. Personally, I think users would prefer it to not be obtrusive, and a watch is still a fashion statement.

With all that in mind, I have held off on getting a Fitbit or Nike Fuel band because I’m waiting for just the right item to attach to my wrist. Could Apple change my mind with a slick design? Will Samsung stop being creepy and come up with something I’m actually interested in? Is my wrist going to be empty from here on at this point?

For the record, Pebble is satisfied with sales numbers (almost 200,000 to date), but several of their users have a bit of buyers remorse afterwards. Samsung can’t seem to give these suckers away, so I don’t blame Apple for slowing their roll a bit. Watches will need to show me something new and different my phone. Even if I don’t “wear” it on a daily basis, my iPhone is always within reach and gives me everything I could ever need (and more) in a fashion statement.

And if he’s still reading, my client is the wind that helps me soar to new height. If you don’t see that as a bet being won, I can’t do anything for you.

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