Why is everyone making a smartwatch?

April 19, 2013

    Sony-SmartWatch-2

    News has come to light recently that Microsoft is working on a smartwatch. If you’re keeping tabs, that’s Apple, Samsung, Google, and now Microsoft… all working on a smartwatch, or we at least have strong indicators that they are. This would make sense if the smartwatch had a proven history of success… but they don’t.

    Not only do they not have a strong lineage, they don’t even have a device to tout as a benchmark. Smartwatches have historically fallen flat on their face, never achieving any kind of commercial success. Even those, like the Motorola MOTOACTV (which was pretty good), were dismissed by consumers. If we’re not keen on wearing a smartwatch, why is everyone trying to make one?

    Google Glass hand

    Glass

    The reason manufacturers are trying to put something on your wrist is right in front of your face. Literally. Google Glass is next generation technology, meant to connect you to information on a very different level. If anything, it’s meant to keep you connected to the right things, at the right times.

    If successful, we’ll not only be ushered into a new era of technology, but information as well. We’ve given up on having some sort of Android following us around as a personal assistant, but not on Android being our personal assistant. If Glass comes through, and it looks like it will, we’ll be on the precipice of a whole new era.

    The Watch

    Glass is one thing, so where does a smartwatch fit in? I’ve long made the assertion that a watch and Glass have a potential symbiotic relationship, but if we’re to think of why companies are creating smartwatches in general, that argument can’t really be heard. I really doubt Apple or Microsoft will jump on the Android bandwagon to create something to work with Glass.

    So we consider the two technologies separately, and can realize they have similar potential. A watch, like Glass, can provide timely updates. If Google Now, which is heavily ingrained in Glass, comes in the form factor of a smartwatch, then the two technologies share functionality. At that point, the decision becomes whether or not you want to get updates in your face, or on your wrist.

    google now widget

    The difference

    The similarities stop there, unfortunately. Glass is a capable of so much more, where the smartwatch is limited. Those limitations are inherent, and cannot be readily overcome. If I want to shoot video with Glass, I just look at something. If I were to have the ability to take pics or video with a smartwatch, the action becomes clumsy. I’d have to point my watch at stuff, and it would just look silly.

    There are a variety of ways in which a smartwatch is limited versus Glass, much less a smartphone. If a technology is a proven failure, and can’t conceivably stand up to the competition, why is everyone interested? The answer is as simple as it is confusing.

    Trending

    All indications are that wearable technology is the newest trend in mobile, despite it’s checkered past. Companies like Microsoft or Apple can get into the game relatively easily, too. They’ll probably attempt, in one way or another, to pare down their current OS into something that works on a smaller screen.

    It’s an easier method that Glass, and provides a more immediate reference point to their place in the market. In terms of hardware, a smartwatch can be a very limited version of a smartphone. Though it lacks things like radios or a robust processor, it has other features we’re accustomed to. Things like a screen, a touch interface, or even hardware buttons are all familiar to us, and make it more approachable to use.

    This is also the only real hope for manufacturers other than Google for success, building an intuitive OS for a device we can find approachable. With wearable tech, Google Glass picks up where the smartwatch fails… but that game really only works for Google. Nobody else has a Glass alternative, and we have no reason to think they’ll attempt one.

    Kinetic_Smart_watch

    Conclusion

    Smartwatches have a dismal past because nobody considered the future. Wearable technology has, until now, been considered a novelty item. Only since the advent of Google Glass have we all begun to consider it a real alternative, if not the next step.

    That’s perhaps the most troublesome aspect, too. It seems as though Google is the only one of the lot who is intent on wearable technology being a success. Nobody else has sunk the time or effort into their wearable tech as Google has with Glass, which will probably be followed up by a smartwatch. Even Apple, who is notorious for taking their sweet time developing tech, is rumored to be rushing their smartwatch. This leads us to believe everyone is in it for the short term gain, as with most trends.

    History has a way of repeating itself, and the smartwatch will probably be no different. Trends rarely stick, and the difference between a smartwatch and Glass is that factor alone. Glass has been positioned as the next step, and all feedback suggests that to be accurate. A smartwatch is trendy, whereas Glass could be timeless. It may be easy come, easy go for smartwatches once again.

    Via

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    Comments

    • http://ootpapps.com/ Out of the Park Apps

      Smartwatches. I just don’t get you.

      • bigscreens

        yeah me either. dw smartwatches will fail bc of one key factor: it goes against the trend of growing screen sizes. people want 4-7 inch screens, not 2inch ones

      • MasterMuffin

        I never have got it!

    • V-Phuc

      You want me to squint really hard to read what is displayed on the screen of a smartwatch?!!! Gotta kidding right? How big is that damn thing? Even though my GPS Timex watch I wear for my runs, I can hardly tolerate it, and that thing is humongous compared to a normal watch! Forget it. Nobody has wanted it. Enough said!

      • jimmyz

        I agree they will try and market these stupid things as must have and ofcourse all the apple fan boys will want one and it will be totally ridiculous and they will look totally stupid. Another waste of money.

    • Abbadabaddodoo

      I get why everybody is making a smartwatch. When Apple released the Shuffle that started it all two years ago, they stumbled onto something of a novelty. Where they expected to display things while the device was clipped to the clothing of the user, people immediately saw a potential for a sale. By selling a band, it could be used on the wrist as a watch.

      Now, Apple has backed itself into a corner. Their iPods were a huge success, and their iPhones have been a raging success. They actually managed to make tablets popular, which was something Microsoft had been unable to do for nearly a decade prior. All of this has inflated their stock prices, and with record sales after record sales, their shareholders have become used to this.

      iMaps wasn’t ready to be thrown out to the public, and Apple knew that. However, they also knew they had to release a service, something to appease shareholders and keep their stocks inflated. So they cut out Google and inserted iMaps. Their new service, iRadio, is just another example of them trying to stay afloat in the terribly rocky sea of massive success.

      When the people at Apple saw that they could have a revenue stream turning the Shuffle into the iWatch, they immediately changed the design of the Shuffle and got to work. It’s yet another product they can put out, yet another fist grab of money from their loyal fans.

      Microsoft got in on smartphones late, and look where they are now. They barely have any market share. Google got in late on the tablet as well, letting Apple get way ahead in that market and remain on top to this day. These companies aren’t going to make the same mistake. If Apple is coming out with an iWatch, then they’re going to come out with the Android Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Windows Watch 8 so they can all grab at whatever market shares they can get.

      • jimmyz

        Um yeah MS actually had the smart watch out years ago way before Apple and the Nano just saying yet again Aople didn’t create this. Lol but i understand all things apple i think they created the earth and the entire universe right.

        • mohdamr1

          Apple creations are normal, but they put them in simple white boxes and make them available just in time and use marketing campaigns and buzz words to describe their products and then the loyal i sheep flock to the white i store. Doesn’t matter if Microsoft made it 10 years ago, their products do not have the trendy unicorn factor that i sheep want. People always expect big fashionable things from apple, but every time apple lets them down, bit by bit they will flock to other options.

        • Abbadabaddodoo

          I never claimed that Apple made it, only that since Apple is going to make them, other companies are going to jump on the bandwagon. Microsoft had smart watches, I believe they discontinued them in 2008, but then you can also say that Casio had smart watches which were calculators way back in the 80′s. Still, doesn’t diminish my point. When Apple releases something, others are going to jump on the bandwagon so they don’t get left behind again.

          • jimmyz

            Or is apple jumping on the bandwagon hence the pebble smart watch. And seriously apple stock is in a freefall are you serious billions in days and you call that a normal decline obviously you don’t own stock in apple. That is not a nirmal decline love you fanboys.

            • Abbadabaddodoo

              I’m an Apple fanboy now? I don’t know how that happened. Obviously I didn’t get the memo when I bought the HTC One to replace S2. I guess I should replace my self-built PC with an iMac, then. Man, does that mean I have to get rid of my Chromebook, Google Fiber and Nexus 7 too? Crap, this is going to be expensive.

            • jimmyz

              Oh shit my bad apologies but yeah that would be really expensive.

            • jimmyz

              And how do you like tge chrome book i was thinking of grabbing one but i really don’t trust reviews anymore?

            • Abbadabaddodoo

              It’s not for everybody. I mainly just do work on it, that’s all it’s good for to me. But then, that’s all I need in a laptop. I usually just tell people stick with a Windows or OSX laptop, though.

            • jimmyz

              Thanks for the opinion i appreciate it..

            • jimmyz

              And thank god another person that hasn’t bought into Apple..

      • jimmyz

        And does massive success include the billions lost in stock prices over the last few days.

        • Abbadabaddodoo

          Stocks naturally decay. Apple has had a rough couple of quarters, but things will pick up in the summer when they release the next iPhone, and maybe their iRadio service. Then the stocks will deflate again until a record earning call is made, then they’ll once again decrease until another product release (maybe a new iPad, who knows). It’s a cycle, and you can’t look at a few days or ever a few months and criticize what’s going on.

      • kascollet

        Clever analysis.
        Watch out for the denial-army coming at you ;-)

        • APai

          sony smartwatch has been out for a long time now. it’s more like his analysis is weak and not factual..

    • Jusephe

      Because some rumors of iWatch are swirling around and everybody want to copy it, mainly samsung.

      Everybody who loved iPod nano 6 gen will love iWatch even more.

      • mohdamr1

        They will also love iShoes, iBurgers, iShirts, iTvs, iWashing macines, iCalculators, iStuff, etc.

        • calcutt

          I’d love to get iWashing machine and iFridge :p

          joke aside, I’ll wait till smartwatch matured, then I’ll get the best one, either from apple, samsung, google, china, or whoever make the best smartwatch.

    • Jusephe

      Because some rumors of iWatch are swirling around and everybody want to copy it, mainly samsung.

      Everybody who loved iPod nano 6 gen will love iWatch even more.

    • Nian Banks

      Voice activation, eye tracking, maybe even brain monitoring on google glasses are all potential control methods. Another one is a smart watch that also acts as a touch screen control for the glasses.
      Google could easily integrate the watch with the glasses, touch control, camera for video chat and selfies (lol), showing images, video, maps…. to a third party. Its not exactly easy to share a youtube on your mobile device if your the only one who can see the display.
      Basically, Google could reap massive benefits by integrating a smart watch with their glasses. Beyond that, the same smart watch would still be viable in a lesser role for a smart phone, a smart tv (who needs a remote), a computer. In seminars (Professor).
      I would also love to have a Dick Tracey video conversation on my watch.

    • Ivan Myring

      LG are as well

    • http://twitter.com/bootsy1 Chris Boots

      Tech manufactures are basically sheep, one comes up with a semi original idea then all the others nick it, kind of tragic really

    • Magnetic1

      Can they fit a DLP in the watch? Maybe what we need next is the green lantern ring.
      Powered by thermo-electric or human body heat.

    • Magnetic1

      Maybe the watch is the base for the gesture based human interface.

    • Magnetic1

      If they use the glass for gesture like user input, I can see now the bobbleheads walking silicon valley. Probably won’t happen. But a watch would be very transparent.

      And for those who speak with their hands anyway. They were just ahead of their time.

    • Arsenal™

      What’s next?

      Smart Shoes or T Shirts?

      • Abbadabaddodoo

        When nano technology becomes cheap enough, they may very well be placed in clothing to monitor health.

    • http://twitter.com/grundo2 ex

      They are not making a smartwatch they are making a iwallet

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1911005 Thomas Edwards

      I think Google Glasses and Smart Watches are going to intersect with each other, if you consider Google’s patents for voice control, motion control and the positioning of buttons on the Google Glass headset it’s clear the device is going to have “issues” with being controlled if it’s going to require you to touch your head or wave your hand in front of the camera in noisy environments or talk to yourself. I think integrating a wearable touch screen on your wrist with a blue tooth connection to your Google Glasses could allow easier control over your device without the need for that “ring thingy” they patented.

    • http://www.dofollowuntacticcal000.com/Alternative_Fuels/Alternative_Fuels.html.htm Frank Burns

      A SmartWatch could be built specifically for meetups and board meetings with details of the event being downloaded to each member, 24 hours before the meeting. It would be a more secure way of announcing meetings privately without advertising a “Free For All” to non-executives online.

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