“Smartwatches”… I Don’t Get It

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I just don’t get what’s happening in the world of technology right now. Social media went crazy today over the Apple Watch and I found myself wondering why. Why does everyone want their smartphone strapped to their wrist? Did I miss something? Don’t get me wrong, I love tech stuff, and I’ll even admit that I’m one of those guys that loves to run out and buy the next best thing as long as I can afford it. Yet, within the realm of tech gadgets, the smartwatch craze doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction.

I’m doing my best to stay completely unbiased towards manufacturers because I’m not trying to start a flame war here. Nor do I want this post to become a breeding ground for people to comment on Android being better than Apple and vice versa. No, I truly would like for the Unrealtors to comment and try and persuade me to want to go out and spend $250+ for what I feel is a complete waste of money.

 

dicktracy

At least this one had TV … 

Computer tech gadgets are either getting ready for the next great leap forward or are coming to a crashing halt. The dawning of the iPod was the start of a new era in mobile technology and there has been a plethora of gadgets that we all use on a day to day basis thanks to it. (There were mp3 players already out at the time, Apple just took the idea and made it cool for people to want one.) That, in my opinion was a great leap forward for tech gadgets. Since then, all we keep getting are phones with larger screens or tablets that do the same thing, and the only caveat is that each version comes with improved specs. Nothing that has “wow’ed” me in any sense of the word. And now, everyone is blowing up my twitter feed about the Apple Watch, saying that it’s such a huge innovation and that they are so excited to run out and get it. (even though it seems like all the other watches that have debuted the past 6 months only with Apple’s iOS slapped on it etc.) These “innovations” aren’t special nor should they be. All they do is show us that the manufacturers have figured out a way to give us another device that we already use just in a smaller form factor. Am I alone here?

I’m all for being enlightened and I hope that someone out there can explain all of this to me. I guess I’m happy with having a smartphone in my pocket, and then if I need to call someone I’ll pull it out and call someone with it. Because guess what, it’s a PHONE! Hey, need to take a picture? – sure thing I’ve got a smartphone that can do that too! Need to update your social status? – done. Oh but wait, now I can do all of that with a smartwatch too!? Holy bejeezus that’s so awesome! To further my point, please watch the video below:


For that inner spy in all of us…

While completely hilarious, this commercial definitely solidifies my point. Did you lay witness to how absurd the guy looked the entire time trying to do everything with his smartwatch? I want someone to really try and land a date with a girl by using their smartwatch – I’m sure that it’s a golden ticket every time.

By the way, if you want one of these new devices, make note that you’ll have to charge it more often than you charge your cell phone. Call me old fashioned, but I guess I’m happy with my watch that I don’t have to charge at all that just tells me the time. This post isn’t just about the smartwatch frenzy, it’s aimed more at the tech gadget craze in general. I think that people are becoming sheep to the technology moguls and need to take a step back and look at what they are consistently wasting their money on. I have friends that bought the iPhone when it first debuted, and that was great – but with every new release of the next generation iPhone, they have gone out and bought each one. Why? I’m not ignorant, I know that they can use upgrades and go from say the iPhone to the iPhone 4 then to the iPhone 6 at a minimal cost – but these friends have gone out and spent the cost of the phone each time. What’s worse, is that they’re not alone. Heck, I even know a guy that will buy a new Macbook or iPad just because it’s the next version, despite having the version prior.

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Can you hear me now?

What happened to the innovators out there? Why are we so obsessed with the app world and the mobile technology movement? A touch screen device on my wrist that does what a pedometer did 20 years ago is nothing miraculous. No, what impresses me is what people are doing to give us tech that you find in movies like Minority Report. Time spent on the advancements in user interface technology with our homes, cars, and offices rather than our watches is where it’s at. Technology that is scratching the surface like Microsoft’s Kinect or Google’s Glasses are more along the lines of what I tend to get excited about. Those are the tech gadgets that are pushing to be innovative, even if a little. They are the ones leading the charge on the next great leap forward.

 

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Hey guys & gals, my name is Lucas Tetrault and if you like this post or any of the others I’ve done – please feel free to venture over to my Blog and take a gander at some other stuff I write about. I promise I don’t intend to waste your time.

I work as a Creative Director and spend time away from my job with my wife and son, writing for Unreality, and trying to be creative with my own personal projects.


  • BmoreHuntr

    I’ll say that in some ways I’m completely in agreement with you. The new lines of fancy smartwatches for $250-350 are absurdly priced, and honestly, I think they have way too many functions to be useful to me.

    However, there are many, many instances that having a more basic smartwatch has been beneficial to me. I currently still use the old Sony LiveView (I actually have 3 of them) and it’s been incredibly convenient for denying a phone call during a movie at the theater (where I would NEVER want to take my phone out of my pocket, because those people suck), check messages while working retail (where they frown upon always having your phone in your hand), or to see what new email I’ve received during a meeting without having to appear “bored” or “preoccupied” to the meeting presenter.

    A smartwatch should just be an assistant to your phone, nothing more. No replying, composing, or whatever. It’s should just be an agent of notification only. Then it’s a valuable tool.

    • Lucas Tetrault

      I appreciate the response! This is something that I need to hear. I would say that if I’m at a movie, I have my phone silenced so I wouldn’t need to bother with it. While I’m at work, I keep my phone at my desk, and if I’m in a meeting, then I’m in a meeting and I devote my time to that rather than worrying about my e-mail etc. Again, this is just me and my experience and I’m still having a hard time justifying ever needing something like this.

      I feel that it’s just not the advancement that I’d hope we would’ve reached by now and I’m going to hold out for the next “best” thing.

      • Margo Williams

        I agree completely.

        I don’t need it, though I can see how some people (albeit people who seem to feel the need to be more connected than I do) could find it useful rather than just trendy.

        For me, however, I will skip and invest my time and money in the next thing to come along.

        And I totally second that the Microsoft 2019 video is amazing–thank you for sharing!

        • Lucas Tetrault

          You’re quite welcome – thanks for commenting!

      • ferryman

        I was happy to deep six the watch when I got my first cell phone, and can’t imagine wanting to wear one again especially when I’d still have to carry the phone! What’s the point?
        The next release will be a “smart ring”, but it will be synched to the watch, and you still have to carry the phone! Eventually people will catch on, probably when they bring out the “smart piercing”. How convenient! Small, weightless and right in your ear. Of course it will synched to the ring…

        • Lucas Tetrault

          Yeah that was another thing I didn’t touch on…the simple fact that the watch/ring/other wearables are still dependent upon your phone for much of what it can do. Which all seems very pointless to me once again!

  • Heath Tetrault

    I agree that this new craze is ridiculous, however; companies are going to go where the money is…That future video for Microsoft is jaw dropping!

  • Jarrod Lipshy

    It’s a great way to make people who already bought an iPhone and an iPad to keep spending money. It’s all about creating new in-betweens for marketing. Next they’ll have an iRing that can sync with your iWatch and a giant iPad TV that will fit in between the regular iPad and your massive TV so you can create a giant stupid Russian nesting doll of overpriced electronics.

    • Lucas Tetrault

      Haha … indeed Jarrod.

      (by the way – love the “rock” avatar)

  • Michael Bennett

    The main reason why I’m tempted over the Moto 360 is the idea that I wouldn’t need to have my phone in hand as often as I do. Time check + Date check = watch, though I honestly stopped wearing one constantly as I carry my phone everywhere.
    Weather, alerts, notifications, and messages check? With that, I wouldn’t need to have my phone in hand nearly as often or have it laying about to glance at the screen (Active/Motorola Display). Thus I could keep it in my pocket, and have less worry about dropping it or someone else walking off with it. That is not mentioning keeping both hands free to check, especially when dealing with dirty hands from certain tasks like cooking, yard work, etc.
    Caller ID on the wrist? Convenient. Again, no need to dig the phone out of the pocket or walking over to where the phone was left out.
    Touchless Controls … on the wrist …. okay that is just convenience to be honest. I don’t use Touchless Controls a lot, but its nice to be able to use when my hands are full/messy. Time, Date, Notifications, Weather, Traffic, Alarms, Reminders, Play ‘This’, Quick conversions (pound to kilogram), Driving (with traffic/alternative routes), and looking up some other bit of info. Some of it is actually faster then the traditional way of doing things, especially the tasks I don’t often use and thus don’t have cluttering my home screens. Putting that on the wrist … means I don’t need to pull the phone out of the pocket to be heard right/correctly.

    I don’t plan on using it to type out responses (maybe a quick Touchless Control message where punctuation/accuracy don’t matter). Nor do I plan on using it to watch movies, pictures, etc. It just a means to keep the phone more in the pocket … and parts of it on the wrist I check the most.

  • SydBob

    Sorry, but Micheal, all the thing you list are easily doable with your smart-phone and for the frequency of the situations where it would be convenient to have the watch (dirty hands), you actually CAN just wait a little and answer the call/text/email a little later.

    This is the thing for me I don’t get, the need to do everything more faster. I mean, isn’t it the whole benefit of texts and emails to answer when you have the time or feel like it? Having all the notifications on my watch would drive me insane after a while!

    You say “Some of it is actually faster then the traditional way of doing things,
    especially the tasks I don’t often use and thus don’t have cluttering
    my home screens”. So, I understand you will shell a couple hundred bucks for a gadget that will able you the access applications you rarely use in a faster way? Ok, I do get what you’re trying to say, but the me it just sounds like this : for 300$, you can now convert units faster then ever! 😛

    I mean, you get the email or text on you watch, but you cannot see the whole message so you will have to actually take your phone out your pocket to read and reply.
    I don’t see the point in this gadget and I completely agree with Lucas that the guy in the video looks totally absurd talking to his watch. If we think the Google glass looks nerdy, think about the next time you see someone talking to his wrist…

    Anyway, the bottom end is that whatever we say, those who crave all the new gadgets will buy it and probably stop wearing it after a while but never mention it by pride 🙂

    • Lucas Tetrault

      I’ve got to concur here with @SydBob

  • Jeff Busch

    I have to say I’m with you, Andy Rooney.

    • Lucas Tetrault

      I see what you did there. 😉

  • John W

    I don’t get it either.

    • Lucas Tetrault

      I’m glad I’m not the only one then! 🙂

  • Bernie Cavanagh

    Your article states precisely how I feel as well. Lack of innovation and tech for tech’s sake. I think they have run out of ideas.

    • Lucas Tetrault

      I’d just like to see something NEW and EXCITING … I don’t care who makes it but I want to be wow’ed …

  • Lucas Tetrault

    Yes – it’s quite creepy. Even more so when you’re doing all that with your wrist …

  • Lucas Tetrault

    I wouldn’t mind a watch that had some smartwatch functionality too it, but I still don’t see the point if the phone that it’s in my pocket does all that and more.

    Apple is so good at convincing people that they “need” these devices that they just shell out their money for them. I don’t say that to be a hater, I just hate that Apple was known for being awesome at creating amazing NEW stuff … and now they just shell out refined products that we’ve already seen and don’t offer us anything that is ground breaking.

    Where is the smart-contact-lens? That’s something I’d get excited about!

  • Eva Rinaldi

    Yeah… I love my smartphone, and I think tablets are best for people who don’t already own a PC and a smartphone (seniors who are intimidated by computers and just want to use facebook and email to talk to family, kids under a certain age who keep messing up mom and dad’s computer trying to play games, etc. ) But smartwatches and wearables I don’t get.

    The fitness trackers seem really useful for people who are into fitness- tracking your heartrate and stuff will give you a better idea of how to measure calories burned, etc. in your workouts.

    I have no idea who the smartwatch is for. Most of them sync to your smartphone, so it’s not a true replacement. Like google glass, the “Voice control” option seems like a great idea until you go to use it and realize that it often doesn’t hear you correctly and even if it does, you have to say whatever you are typing out loud- there are tons of spaces where that’s inconvenient, which is part of the reason texting got so popular for short messages rather than making a call. There are plenty of things I look up on my phone that I don’t want to broadcast out loud to everyone I know, and most of the time when I’m using my phone to play a game or go online or whatever, it’s in a public place. Can you imagine 50 people on a train talking to their smartwatches? Mobile phones come in a variety of screen sizes now, so it can’t just be about the screen size. I think it’s a kind of attempt at creating a cyberpunk feel. I was sort of excited by the camera option for google glass, but you still have to talk to it, so it’s not something out of a william gibson novel, and it’s more than I want to pay. I feel like the most interesting thing I’m seeing right now is stuff like smart lightbulbs and such that you can use to automate things in your home. Stuff like “Turn off the lights between such and such a time,” or “use amber lights at night to help me sleep better.”