Saturday, 11 April 2015

Smart Watch Thoughts.

I've been wearing a smart watch for a bit less than six months now.  With the release of the Apple Watch recently and the rampant success of the Pebble Time Kickstarter I thought I'd relay my experience and how I feel about smart watches these days. 

When I bought my watch, Samsung Galaxy 2 Neo, it was more of an impulse buy/retail therapy purchase than a commitment to an emerging technology.  I was of the opinion that the Smart Watches were are dead end in the tree of technological evolution. 

That said over the last six months I have become very fond of the watch. There are features that I always expected to use, some that I am surprised to use and some that I am surprised not to use.

The key advantage to the watch that I believe will cut across brands and models is the notifications.  The ability to read a text message without having to pull the phone out of your pocket is great, being able to triage the other notifications as they come in so as to minimise interruptions to what's going on in the world outside the phone is even better. But the really great thing about them, something that I don't think is mentioned enough, is that they're silent.  The watch vibrates, but since it's touching your skin it doesn't need to be at the intensity of the phone so you don't get that buzzing sound that is very noticeably not silent, and since you're notified via your watch it means that the phone can be on genuine silent mode. This last point is the reason that I now think we'll see the watch stick around, it's taking personal computing and making it more personal.  

Finally a quick run down of what features I liked/didn't like:

Features that were always going to be bad:
  • 2 day battery life. (Still better than 18 hours)

Features that I thought would be good but were not so much 
  • Heart rate monitor - unreliable, battery consuming.
  • TV Remote - just harder to use and more fiddly to get to than the TV remote is to find.

Features that surprised me:
  • Dick Tracy style calling. Sometimes I don't know where my phone is and my watch is telling me that I have a call.  Pretty convenient to be able to say stuff it I'll take it on the watch.

Features that were always going to be good,
  • The pedometer
  • Media controls. 
  • Find my phone.
  • And of course in the end it's quite good at keeping time. 

In the end I am still not convinced that in 10 years time everyone will be wearing a smart watch the way that everyone carries a smart phone, but I'm also not convinced that they're a technological dead end.  I suppose only time will tell.