SMART, it’s a term analogous to this generation’s digital. From smart phones, to full blown smart homes, everything is becoming its own mini computer, and syncing up to everything else.
Seemingly lagging behind this new technological standard is the trusty old wrist watch. First they ticked, then they went digital, and a whole host of whacky gimmicks have latched themselves on to the traditional timekeeper ever since. However the watch is starting to become smart, and Android is poised to make it smarter.
What Is A SmartWatch?
There isn’t necessarily a firm definition of a smartwatch or “wearable”, but in the past few years several models have hit the market that contain computer processors, touch screens, applications similar to what you’d find on a phone, and even features like inbuilt cameras. The best of these wearables also have the ability to interact with other computer devices.
They tell you the time and weather, give you email and social media updates, track your fitness and heart rate, play music, and have personal organizer features.
Why Should You Buy One?
This is perhaps the toughest question to answer and probably part of the reason why they haven’t yet become a hit. There is nothing particularly unique about a smart watch. Everything they do, can be done on a number of different devices (like your phone), and probably much better.
In fact it could be argued that the only reason watches are still a thing, is because they’re a fashion accessory, not because they can tell the time.
The ironic thing is, most smart watches are big, bulky, and hideous – so they don’t even have style going for them. And they’re still expensive; at least a few hundred a pop, pricing the average consumer out of the market anyway.
Could they be the next big thing that everybody wants and relies on? Or at least a more socially acceptable thing to fiddle with during business meetings? Possibly, but as it stands they’re really just a rich person’s gadget.
Android To The Rescue
What will it take to get the smartwatch to go mainstream?
A vision, a big company to realize that vision, and standardized technology.
Enter the Moto 360 by Motorola, and the Android Wear operating system.
While the Android OS already exists on some wearables, this has been limited. The Samsung Galaxy Gear for example uses a scaled back Android 4.3, but the watch will only sync up to other Samsung devices, meaning you really have to be a Samsung fanboy to get the full “smart” experience.
Android Wear has been carefully created with wearables in mind, and will be able to sync up to all android devices. The Moto 360 will be one of the first models to use the software.
Though not much is known about the device (which may hit stores as early as July), its creators have at least taken on board aesthetic criticisms, and styled a watch that wouldn’t look out of place alongside an Armani suit. It actually looks like a watch instead of a toy or gadget.
Motorola executive Mark Randall is also brashly confident, telling Trusted Reviews that the current smartwatches are “pretty crappy”.
“We look at the [Moto] 360 and we look at what everyone has done in that space. To be honest we think they are all pretty crappy … people just don’t want to wear them,” he said.
“People are saying it is finally a device they would wear on their arm instead of being embarrassed about, and we haven’t even talked about functionality.”
The smartwatch just got smarter, but it’s yet to be seen whether it will truly take off.