Smartwatches are becoming more ubiquitous by the day. From Qualcomm to Samsung to Sony, almost every major technology firm has already launched its wearable devices. However, here are a few key problems why we really shouldn’t be browsing for smart watches – at least not until the technology has become more viable.
1. They’re Clumsy.
No one wears a watch anymore. That’s because we all have smartphones, and if we want to know what time it is, presto, it’s right there on the lock screen. So smartwatch makers need to entice us to re-adorn our wrists, and the way to do that is not with thick, clunky, plasticky-looking gadgets that no style-conscious person would ever touch.
But most of smartwatches are big, square, mostly black, or just plain dorky, such as the Sony SmartWatch 2, and what we want should be virtually indistinguishable from a standard watch, and designed to please the eye rather than disturb it.
2. They try to do too much.
The reason we’ve been waiting for smartwatches should be this: We often miss a call or text message because our phones are in pockets or purses and we can’t hear it ring or feel it vibrate. So what we need is something on our wrists that vibrates when a call or text comes in and shows us whose calling or what the message is. That way we know instantly if we need to fish our phones out to answer or reply.
Similarly, we need to know when it’s time to do something that’s on our calendars or to-do lists, with vibration-powered alerts so we don’t miss them. Maybe we’ll take a simple set of music controls, too: Play, pause, volume, etc.
But we don’t need a watch that runs apps or updates Twitter or plays games, and don’t need one that doubles as a phone. However, smartwatch makers are falling all over themselves to pack more and more features into their wrist appliances, which necessarily make the products bigger, thicker, heavier, more complicated, and more power-hungry. Speaking of which, many battery-operated watches last at least six months but smartwatch requires charging every week, that’s quite terrible.
3. They’re overpriced.
It’s precisely because of this kind of feature-creep that current-generation smartwatches are priced through the roof—higher than the smartphones they’re meant to pair with, in many cases. Samsung’s widely panned Galaxy Gear, for example, retails for $299, while the Sony SmartWatch 2 currently sells for around $270 in Europe. Assuming it does what we want it to without frequent trips to the charger, and make us be convinced to wear a watch again, the reasonable price should be $99 or less.
In a word, the ideal smartwatch should look like a watch, not a bulky piece of electronics.