As Yet Unconquered
Over the past several years, mobile technology has changed and expanded exponentially. The pocketable phone that could make calls and send simple text messages has morphed in shape and grown in use, becoming an indispensable tool. Almost a decade into the smartphone revolution, companies like Apple and Samsung have successfully taken over our palms. The space no one has conquered, however, is our wrists.
Many have tried, certainly. Devices like the Pebble (which ran a lucrative Kickstarter campaign) or Samsung’s recent Galaxy Gear continue to come out, but none seem to catch on despite valiant efforts. The litmus test for success is simple: how many people do you see using them? I have never seen one in real life. In contrast, think back to when the iPod first came out. It didn’t take long before those now-classic white headphones dangled from ears everywhere you looked.
And yet electronics companies plow on, like a love-crazed boy unable to give up pursuit of the girl who continually tells him no.
A Different Approach
Google today kicked up the dust yet again with the announcement of Android Wear, a version of Android specifically designed for “wearables”. (That’s probably not a phrase you’ve ever heard, so let me define it: an electronic device that you can wear, not just carry in a pocket or bag.) But like I do with most smartwatch news, I watched the announcement video with a well-practiced smirk. Who wants to wear a giant square thing on their wrist, no matter how many cool voice commands you can give it?
That, I believe, is the crux of the matter: when I think of a watch, I think of one I want to wear. I use my smartphone, but I wear my watch. A smartwatch could have all of the power of a laptop, but I am very picky about the watch I wear.
Here you can see my current watch, the Timex Easy Reader. It’s thin, with a clean face and wonderful typography on the numbers. The leather band is thick and well made. I look at it countless times a day and am proud to wear it on my wrist.
Would I replace it with something like the thick, square Galaxy Gear? Not a chance. I even tried fitting a picture of the Gear in this post but couldn’t find a good way to format the picture next to the Timex.
And then I saw the Moto 360.
Motorola’s philosophy in designing the watch hooked me right away in their introduction video. Immediately after the video finished, I registered for updates on the website and flipped over to Facebook to post the link. Guess what my comment was going to be?
“This is the first smartwatch I might consider wearing.”
Because you don’t use a watch—you wear it. It looks like Motorola got that part right, and I’m excited to see this thing when it comes out.