Stop trying to sell me wrist-worn smartphones

Right destination, wrong route

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Smartwatches have a big problem.

I don’t blame Google or Android Wear. Hell, I don’t even blame LG, Motorola, Asus, Sony, or Samsung. These guys are all trying to get ahead of the incoming iWatch and deliver products that will, at least momentarily, sate our constant urge for novel gadgets. But they’re all completely insane if they think their oversized Android Wear and Tizen wrist devices can be considered smartwatches. These are chopped-down smartphones that are nonetheless still far too large to be attached to the average human wrist.

Everyone seems to be going down the same route of trying to shrink smart technology to the size of a watch instead of working to smarten up the watches we already have. It’s approaching the problem from the wrong direction, which might explain why the solutions we’ve seen so far have all been inadequate in some way or another. Mostly it’s about the size. Today’s smartwatches contain the best miniaturized technology available, but remain too large — even if they do try to patch over it with fine leather straps, polished metal designs, and gorgeous AMOLED screens.

This week at IFA, I've worn the Asus ZenWatch, the Sony SmartWatch 3, both the LG G Watch and G Watch R, and Samsung's Gear S. The Pebble watch that I usually wear is already quite tall — something Pebble itself addressed with the second-gen Pebble Steel — but it starts to look downright diminutive when set alongside these new devices. The Pebble also has a fraction of the processing power and storage options of its new competitors, but its simplicity, long battery life, and light weight make it a more practical option for most people.

The smartwatch is a great idea. I can't wait for the day to come when I'll finally see one.

smartwatch at ifa with pebble

smartwatch at ifa with pebble

smartwatch at ifa with pebble

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