Tuesday, April 26, 2016

my POV on "smart" watches

Remember these, around 80' ? https://www.google.com/search?q=casio+electronic+watches+1980&newwindow=1&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X

At some point, as a boy, I actually remember having one of these. My Casio was outstanding: plastic, but it had buttons, that crystal screen, wasted time to learn each function, date, time, alarm. A real joy :)

The thing which triggered the idea for this entry is reading an article about someone complaining on the utility of Apple Watch, combined with different quirks in usage. You can read the article here.

Nowadays, I work all day long on a laptop. If I raise the eye, I can tell the hour. If I do anything, I can pop-up the thingie we call smartphone. Heck, even my daughter had one watch (simple one), she begged for it for three months. Now it's thrown away. Simple reaction of a 10 to 13 years old.... she does not need it, she has ... her devices displaying time. She's connected, she sees time .... all the time.

But, what I can't do nowadays, is to wear something on my wrist. Something which gets in the way of me typing on the keyboard.

So here's my point of view, where I also kind of envision some requirements for these things to make them more appealing for my taste:

- Smart watches are useless. The only use case for a watch is to tell the hour. Nothing else. Since we see the hour pretty much everywhere, synced with atomic clocks [think NTP].... ok, the world moved on.  More or less, a watch is a fashion accessory [or military/spy tool, that's a different story].
- Struggling to do things on watches is silly. App updates, texts, calls, bridging with phone .... humans don't need that. Usability for a watch is: raise hand, spot hour, day, day of week. Not even the alerting function, not assuming any interaction, since this would be a distraction.
- This fancy trend for "smart" watches from different vendors will vane in two to three years.

Instead, when we talk about health bands/monitoring which accidentally displays time .... this is something else, and serves a different use case in itself: you start with some other function, like check pulse, or check vital signs, or anything else. NOT displaying time. With me so far, right ?

So here would be my requirements:

- A watch I would wear is one I could not feel. It should be so light ..... Think a latex band displaying the date/hour. Or skin implant of some leds - suddenly thinking of In Time, without the creepy story :) ..... Or maybe glued somehow only on my top left hand, so the bottom side of my hand would be free to rub on the laptop as I work/type.
- I should not care looking for the watch around bed / house / office, because I would forgot I have it on me.

On a final note, know that if you wear one of these and meet me, you'll not get a good first impression. If it's a smart watch, for me you're looking dumb. Move on.
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