Does the smartwatch need to be reinvented to become relevant?

Do smartwatches need to be reinvented to become relevant?

moto 360

The success of smartphones has ensured that the market has no shortage of smart devices. We’ve seen dozens of devices in the recent past and smartwatches have beaten them all when it comes to being the talk of the town. The hype has been propelled further with the launch of Apple Watch recently and it seems like everybody needs one, even when there’s not much you can do with one (except, perhaps, sharing heartbeats with fellow users because that seems so important).

Smartphones had made watches more of luxury items than utility ones. Your big screen device can, of course, do anything that even the most advanced watches are capable of. It’s funny how smartwatches intend to return the favor to smartphones. But the question remains what can you do with the limited space that you can have on your watch’s display? Current smartwatches, besides showing time, can show you notifications and texts from your phone, act as your fitness tracker, and do some other tasks that you can absolutely live without. They seem to do some of the things are smartphones are capable of, in a dumbed-down way, which for the moment, make them pretty useless. Sure, you can see the text you just received, or the call that you should probably answer. But to reply to that text or answer that call, you’ll still have to pull out the phone from your pocket. You can even change music on your phone using the watch, but why do you need to spend extra $300-400 for that? All this, so called convenience, at the cost of an extra device to charge everyday (that’s the best these watches can last on a single charge) and an extra charger in your bag while you’re travelling.

Do smartwatches need to be reinvented to become relevant?
How can any talk about smartwatches be complete without mentioning the Apple Watch?

It’s not just the Apple Watch, Android Wear devices also fail to change your life in a way that smartphones did. When you have such a powerful computer in your pocket, the smartwatch in its current form becomes redundant. Before the launch of Moto 360, Motorola boldly claimed that smartwatches don’t sell because the manufacturers aren’t doing it right. We doubt they listened to their own advice (except for improving the design of these devices).

Sure, the Apple Watch is selling in huge numbers, but we’re already seeing people running out of things to do with their shiny new watch. We don’t doubt that third party developers will be rushing in to fill the void, but even then, the scope seems to be very limited for now. Why spend so much, when a fitness band can do the most useful thing on your watch for a fraction of the price?

But wait! What about those who shell out so much money on these watches to show them off as a status symbol? Well, your regular Tag Heuer or Rolex doesn’t become obsolete just one year after the purchase. Sadly, with improving technology, the same cannot be said about these smartwatches. What if Apple had allowed users to upgrade their expensive watch to the next edition without having to shell out a bomb again? They could have made the watch upgradable to the new tech (similar to what Project Ara is trying to do with phones), but then where would the sales come in from the next year?

Smartwatches need to reinvent themselves into something more practical, and perhaps, more useful. We know some people find them to be perfect in their present form, but such a group won’t be commanding too many numbers. With most of the devices in their first or second generation, there’s plethora of room for improvement. Until then, you could wait and save yourself some money.

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