The wearable computing revolution is coming. We have been hearing this for years now, but with smartwatches like the Pebble and heads-up displays like Glass it finally seems like the revolution is starting to dawn. We have now heard it from multiple sources that Google might be preparing its first smartwatch
to launch as early as this year, and Apple has allegedly assembled an all-star team to work on a watch with fitness tracking functions
that might be ready in 2014. We really are on the verge of this wearables revolution.
However, we have also seen countless failed attempts. The Samsung Galaxy Gear was met with lukewarm reviews and disappointed many people waiting for a breakthrough smartwatch.
With all this in mind, we decided to brainstorm this smartwatch uprise with you and ask meditate upon what makes a great smartwatch. We are trying to imagine a device that would not just throw a phone operating system on a small screen attached to your wrist, we are trying to think of what will make it a whole new category.
So what is it? One-week battery life or an amazing screen? Or does it take a future technology like flexible screens to have it? And what would you use it for? Take a look at our requirements for the great smartwatch of the near future and chime in with yours in the comments right below.
What makes a great smartwatch?
What makes a great smartwatch?
1. Always-on glanceable time information
We like our watches because they are simple purpose-built devices that you just look at and get information. No need to tap, touch, setup. It seems that if a smartwatch cannot fulfill this simple requirement, it will already lose a lot of the simplicity and quick’n’easy allure of a watch.
2. Some level of independence - has to work with iOS AND Android
We realize that a fully independent smartwatch is not a very realistic proposition in the current state of technology, but a smartwatch should have some level of independence. We’d definitely want our watchfaces to be connected to a cellular network and pull data independently without a smartphone, but it’s hard to tell whether this is realistic now. Plus, it just has to work with both iOS and Android!
3. Designed like a watch
We like our watches, we like the design and simplicity. We noticed that nearly all of the best selling watches are actually round, not square, so that seems like a more fitting form factor. We noticed there is a clear distinction between men’s watches and women’s watches. Women would just not wear men’s watches, and try making men wear a girl’s watch! Women watches are usually shiny things with brighter colors - silver, gold and white are predominant, and the watches are smaller. Men? Men like silver or black, but larger and just more solid designs.
4. Long battery life
Part of the appeal of a watch is its low maintenance - you don’t charge it, you don’t update it, you just put it on and use it for long periods of time. Long battery life would be essential for this - if you have to charge your smartwatch and worry about it running out of juice everyday it becomes more of a smart burden, don’t you think?
5. Easily visible screen
An always-on watch has also got to be easily legible outdoors. The fiercest of sun rays might render a smartphone unreadable, but a watch cannot afford this luxury.
We humans tend to forget so many things. Like the fact that we are carrying a smartwatch! One could easily jump in the shower or the pool and forget about having a watch. Water resistance would be key to the longevity of such a device, and those with more active lifestyles would love this.
7. Moto Maker-like service
We’ve already mentioned that men and women like their watches different. A tool like the Moto maker that allows you to customize it from the ground-up would be a great feature for a device that is not just functional, but also a fashion statement for many.
There’s got to be something truly smart in a smartwatch to justify its existence. We think that health and fitness tracking are just that. The popularity of wristbands that track your steps, monitor your sleep and workout is telling, but we don’t want to have a few wristbands on our hands - let’s just cut it to one, the smartwatch.
9. Tailor-made interface
A watch has got to have a completely rethought interface for that new form factor. First because it’s small, second because gestures would be an intuitive way to control it and second because you can control it with just one hand (at best!).
Last but not least, a smartwatch has got to be open to developers to augment it with novel apps and functionality. Google and Apple are brilliant lately, but event they cannot think of everything. Developers would really bring this futuristic idea into a usable reality.