There are currently two types of Smartwatches available in the world, those that must connect to a phone and those that are independent. The latter is not nearly as common, which would include it’s own data and calling plan, but it is still a possibility. Maybe most people do not want this stand-alone functionality, but should we want it at all?
The screen on the Smartwatch is quite small, even the Apple Watch isn’t much of a screen. And with the move toward larger screen in Smartphones, it’s a wonder how the world is interested in the tiny face of a Smartwatch.
I wore a watch as a kid, and I certainly yearned for the possibility of a Maxwell Smart or Dick Tracy wrist-communicator. I had a calculator watch in middle school and it was pretty chic in the geek circles that I ran in. But it was a far dream to have the functionality available today in a Smartwatch. Still, I would not conceive of the Smartphone ideal for another decade.
It is my impression that the Smartwatch market is yet just another intrigue of the Tech Industry. Many of us gave up our watches (myself included) when we purchased our first mobile (cell) phone. Only those who sought the elegance of jewelry or retained the business formality of the US East Coast, seem seek a clock on the wrist.
This is what I believe has happened in the presentation of the Smartwatch today, that we’re only barely scratching the surface of what can be or rather should be expected from a wrist-worn computer. Where the Smartphone has become a pocket computer that happens to be able to offer the time and phone calls, it is in fact a pocketable computer. The Smartwatch that is tethered to your Smartphone is little more than a trinket or extension of that pocket computer. Could it yet be the primary device or are we fooling ourselves into believing that it is anything other than a fancy time-piece?
The Samsung Gear S and the LG Watch Urbane both have WiFi, although the Gear S goes a bit further offering 4G connectivity. Both can operate at a distance that is greater than the limit of Bluetooth. However, the Gear S can operate at any distance from your phone as it is effectively a phone unto itself. But in being capable of separation from a Smartphone, or run alone, it is itself weak.
As the Smartphone is to it’s functional predecessor the laptop computer, so the Smartwatch is lacking not only in power, but battery-life and ease-of-interface. One automatically reaches the conclusion that the Smartwatch should not and in fact likely is not designed to be a stand-alone device.
It might appear that someone has replaced the author of Get Outta My Head, with an impostor, by the assertions made in the prior paragraph. But I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. I want the Smartwatch to be capable of all that a desktop or laptop, but even the greatest of current technology does not appear to be able to prove such a fantasy. To quote a famous character from a science-fiction movie, “Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world.” (Agent Smith, The Matrix) I agree with Agent Smith in saying that we lack the technical capacity to create a Smartwatch that rivals a laptop or desktop. And that, for now, we should not try to act like we have one.
The Smartwatch is cool, no doubt, but until an interface comes along that does not require a tiny touch screen, I think that it should remain a watch (with benefits).