The Smart Watch: Present Reality and Future Potential

We've seen some examples of smart watches over the past year but to say that it is a niche market would probably be too generous. I'd like to take a look at what is out there now and where I'd like to see it go in the future. Before I go any further I want to address the iPad Nano. I'm aware of it's wristband accessories and Mickey Mouse watch screen but this post will be about connected devices, not music players. The iPod Nano is now permanently exiting this discussion.

Current/Announced Smart Watches

Forgive me if I missed something, but as far as I can tell this is the current crop of available or at least announced smart watches. The WIMM One, MotoACTV, and LiveView are all Android based. MetaWatch is not but it's functionality is similar to these others. If you want more of an explanation of how the MetaWatch works Chris Ziegler gives a good explanation in the "Enter the MetaWatch" section of his prototype review.

Essentially these all serve as terminals by which you can receive notifications from your phone. So for example if your phone would receive a text message, it gets pushed to your watch. Some can be used to listen to music or check your calendar and the MotoACTV places special emphasis on it's potential as a workout companion. Now I like the idea of my watch vibrating when I receive an email or text message. And if I were a busier person I could see calendar integration as a big draw as well. But for me the fact that none of these have a means to respond to text messages or answer phone calls I'm just not interested at this point.


Most of these smart watches will already notify you when you receive a call, but in order to answer that call you're going to need to pull out your phone. In many cases this is all I would want but I'd like to see the watch function like a bluetooth speakerphone headset as well. Hit answer and talk at your wrist Dick Tracey style. How great would it be to take calls on your watch while driving down the road?

In addition to answering phone calls I'd like to respond to text messages or emails. Once again these current phones will only show you the text message or email. In order to reply you will have to pull out your phone. Android phones have had speech to text input for some time now. Why not let us hit reply on the watch and input our response by speaking?

In my opinion, unless these basic tasks can be handled the smart watch will never get any attention from consumers. What are your thoughts?

In the podcast last week I heard The Verge crew talking about how they intended their forums to be a platform for readers to write their own editorial style pieces about their interest. I really liked this idea so I decided to take a crack at it with this post. Awesome job with this website guys and gals!

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