back to article Google wearables: A solution looking for a rich nerd

If you've spent any time looking at transport technology - how cars and trains got here - you've got a head start over most VCs and pundits in understanding wearable computing. I'll explain why. Google's Android Wear is the biggest deal in wearable computing since Microsoft's abortive SPOT 12 years ago. And Google hasn't …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The garage door?

    Well actually I seem to recall about a decade ago a few applications that made use of then "de facto" IR interfaces on mobile phone for remote controlling appliances such as garage doors.... :-)

    1. VinceH

      Re: The garage door?

      And now you could conceivably do the same using something like a Raspberry Pi, which your phone connects to via your home network It may not be in a typical smartphone app in use today, but that doesn't mean it isn't an option.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: The garage door?

        Ahem. (which is about 4 years old)

        I guess that's as close as possible to the "self-satistifed twit" icon...

        1. VinceH

          Re: The garage door?

          It's such a simple and obvious thing to do, and I am so glad that somebody has bothered to do so!

  2. tony2heads

    battery life

    If the battery life is good (like weeks between recharges) it might take off.

    And the earpieces- who the hell wants to look like they have a hearing aid or like Agent Smith from the matrix?

    1. Richie 1

      Re: battery life

      > who the hell wants to look like they have a hearing aid or like Agent Smith from the matrix?

      Deaf FBI agents?

    2. pwillems

      Re: battery life

      Look like Agent Smith from the matrix eh?

      Hmmm... I can work with that.

  3. Oli 1

    Change the world they wont, but they are handy for lazy people such as myself.

    Also great fun to tinker with, seeing as you can link most stuff to it. Tasker integration is great.

    I have a pebble, the original one. So Around £100, not £300 (no idea what samsung were thinking)

    The stuff i use it for most is changing music when on the train and dont want to un-tangle a length of headphone cable, turning lights off at home when on the sofa watching a film, checking my train is on time as i run for it, and seeing who is calling then picking up, again when the phone is buried.

    Im not looking for a killer app, its just nice to have.

    but again, i tooks me years to get the pebble at £100. I dont think ive ever spend more.

    The problem though, i get 4 or 5 days charge from the pebble's e-ink screen.

    The video shows an almost HD screen, im sure that leads to charging everyday.

    1. kurkosdr
      Thumb Down


      "but they are handy for lazy people such as myself."

      I like how people are willing to change their existing garage-door controller to and invest on a device that will need frequent charging, just because they are too lazy to pick-up their garage door remote.

      This is like Google Wallet (the thing that was intended to replace credit cards). Google wants to take something that never breaks and doesn't need frequent recharging, and replace it with something that has limited battery life and is expensive.

      The good thing smartphone manufacturers did is that they took stuff that was already expensive and had limited battery life (Mp3 player, PDA, cellphone), and combined them in one device.

      PS: Anyway, this thing will get you geek bragging rights. People will look at you at the pub. That's the good thing about it.

  4. dogged

    deja vu all over again

    > And Google hasn't waited for technology to get smaller or better or cheaper - it's forging ahead, creating a platform while others hesitate.

    That's what Microsoft did with tablets. I don't think I need to elaborate further.

    1. fandom

      Re: deja vu all over again

      Yep, I sometimes get the impression that Apple spread the rumour that they where working on a smartwatch so that other people would make them and show Apple how not to do it.

      Or maybe, they want their competitor to concentrate on watches while Apple eats their lunch somewhere else.

      But I am probably giving them too much credit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: deja vu all over again

      But they didn't really did they. They took an existing crap platform (windows) sprinkled some appallingly badly written tablet-pixie-dust on it and ended up with windows with some crap pen support. Then they got some people to stick this start of the fart software on start of the art hardware.

      Google seems to be thinking very hard about what a wearable should be for and targeting the platform at that. If they do it well and say here's the software do what you like with it I think a lot of people will run with it.

      1. dogged

        Re: deja vu all over again

        Okay AC. It's 2001. What platform do you pick for tablet computing? Assume you're right and that the most popular OS ever (XP) is crap; what's better? Android? I don't think that exists, AC, and it won't for another 6 years. iOS? That doesn't exist either except as Cisco firmware.

        ARM chips? Good for dishwashers and the Psion Organizer, not much else.

        So what platform do you pick?

        Or do you just sneer about it from 13 years in the future?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: deja vu all over again

          What you do back in 2001 is you don't attempt a tablet at all, because if you can't do it right, the product isn't worth trying.

          Apple started work on the iPad before the iPhone, but knew that they'd have to wait a while to get sufficient CPU/graphics at a low enough power, so they did the phone first. If Microsoft had done so, they wouldn't have had over 15 years of failed tablet efforts (don't forget "pen computing" back in the 90s!) in their wake (I'll be charitable and consider Surface merely lackluster rather than failed)

          The question is, is the time right to do a smartwatch "right"? If it is something people will ever demand at all, it will need certain capabilities and performance. This is a problem for Google because they must release a platform to prevent more stuff like Galaxy Gear that doesn't use Android, but they risk OEMs doing it too early or just plain badly and damaging the brand.

          Apple can afford to wait until they think the time is right and all the pieces are in place and not release until they think they'll hit another home run like they did with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. They don't care if Samsung and Google beat them to market. They weren't first to market with a music player, smartphone or tablet, either.

          1. twilkins

            Re: deja vu all over again

            “people don't know what they want until you show it to them.”

            - Steve Jobs

            You argument seems to be that it's all about timing. I'd say the fact that a tiny "piss ant" company that started on Kickstarter 18 months ago has shipped 400,000 watches since then is a sign that there is some demand. Come out with a watch that still looks and feels like a watch, tells the time but also helps them keep their phone in their pocket and that nascent demand will increase.

            Google Glass is a niche product.

            Smartwatches are a mainstream product.

            1. Disintermediation

              Re: deja vu all over agai

              It is all about timing and the timing is right.

              Are people going to give up their retinal screen 64bit smart phone with a fat battery as they have a pebble? No.

              Do you want to leave your super computer smart phone in your coat pocket and interface with it via your watch? Yes.

              It pisses me right off to pull my 5s out of my pocket to read "okay" from my mates about plans so meet up next week whilst in a business meeting.

              My smart phone stores gigs of coursera videos for me to watch on the go. It's going no where. (But on a train or plane I like my iPad mini for movies. My 2010 honda has an iPod jack so it likes my phone, so the iPhone is the "base station" and no watch will replace it).

              Do I really need to pull out my 5s of my pocket unless I need video? It's my big screen and big storage and big battery. I need an iWatch for the low bandwidth stuff like chat and reminders and email subjects from contacts. Apple is going to deliver it.

              You don't have to be Steve Jobs to see the future. You just have to have high expectations which are realistic. Blackberry and Microsoft can wipe my behind whilst I check my iWatch. Microsoft are the MSOffice (tm) dinosaur with a business partner model. They bought failed Nokia to improve themselves. Google is an advertising broker who ship betas which would bankrupt any consumer business. Samsung is a "me to" manufacturer who is only mildly less embarrassing than HTC because any good idea needs one good emulator to prove its the best idea. Pebble is a copy-me half-hit wonder.

              Let's wait and see what Apple does then declare it "obvious".

        2. Ocular Sinister


          Symbian? QNX possibly?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: deja vu all over again

      I won't try to defend Microsoft's approach to tablets (which has DNA reaching back into the mid-90s and their pen windows stuff) but what msft did get right was what Google is doing - getting an sdk out there and working before the hardware is 100 percent , so they can drive the development paradigm. That's what they did with win32, and it paid off well. Google's doing the same thing, so when a reasonable wearable arrives, they have developers in place.

  5. James Gosling


    How about kinetically recharging devices through the regular activities/movements of your body?

    1. FartingHippo
      Thumb Up

      Re: Kinetic...

      +1. Mechanical watches have been doing that for over a century.

      Also, I'm sure there's a joke about computers, wrists and vigorous activity in there somewhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kinetic...

        It's very hard to concentrate on your watch screen if it's jerking around like that.

        You could use your other arm but then it would feel like somebody else's watch.

      2. DropBear

        Re: Kinetic...

        Watches can do that because they run on so little energy that a tiny coin cell can power them for years. That's the sort of energy you can harvest from daily movement. Now take that same coin cell, and see how long it can power anything running at hundreds of megahertz and having a backlit screen...

  6. PerlyKing

    What's the big deal with charging every day?

    Disclaimer: I may be totally wrong here, as I've never lived with a smart watch.

    But I have a smart phone, which I charge every night.

    And I used to use a mechanical watch, which I had to wind every day.

    I also remember the "good old days" of the Psion 3 and Psion 5, which would go for weeks on a pair of AAs. Some people scoffed then that backlit colour screens would never take off, as they would eat batteries.

    Is charging every day really a deal breaker?

    1. Cuddles

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      "And I used to use a mechanical watch, which I had to wind every day."

      Notice the words "used to" there. How many people actually use such a watch these days? Unless it's just a fashion statement, no-one wants a watch that requires constant maintenance. You can get a watch for £5 that will last several years without needing to be touched at all, and will be more accurate than a mechanical one as well.

      "I have a smart phone, which I charge every night... Is charging every day really a deal breaker?"

      Yes. Note that one of the most common complaints about phones is that the battery does not last anywhere near as long as people would like. We accept having to charge them regularly because at the moment there's simply no alternative, but there are constant efforts to make them last longer and to make charging less inconvenient when it is necessary. Replacing a watch that never needs charging with one that needs charging every day, in addition to the phone which will also need charging, is just adding even more inconvenience. And as the article notes, it doesn't add any real convenience to compensate, it just does the same as the phone you already have, but not quite as well. Voluntarily paying for extra unnecessary inconvenience is not something consumers do.

      "Some people scoffed then that backlit colour screens would never take off, as they would eat batteries."

      Some people may have done so, but the fact is that backlit colour screens do things that previous screens didn't. People are willing to compromise in some areas if they get enough benefits in others. But the only benefit a smartwatch has is that you don't have to take it out your pocket. In return you have to compromise battery life, screen size, processor power (how hot do you want your wrist?), cost (you still need a phone to connect to it), and so on. And of course, even that sole benefit is hardly even such a thing at all. You still need both your hands to actually use a smartwatch - it's attached to one and you need the other to do anything with it. So while you don't need to actually hold it in your hand, having it on your wrist offers no real convenience over having it in your pocket anyway. People scoffed at backlit screens because they thought the cost would outweigh the benefits. People scoff at smartwatches because there are no benefits, only costs.

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

        The batteries will get better, the charging will become less intrusive, the screens more efficient, the technology will become lighter.

        I wear a watch. Would I prefer if that watch was really a computer, that interfaced with my phone/home/tablet, network capable, that had it's own GPS, that could do a myriad things if I wanted, that all I needed to do was drop it on the (generic and for many devices) charging plate at home every week or so, damn right I would. Even if all I used it for was maps, reminders and changeable clock faces.

        Google is making an effort to have the infrastructure/software ready for when everything else catches up. I don't think that's a stupid move.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

        My good ol' Seiko is self-winding :)

        As for smartwatches, you'd hope the time-telling part would use a separate battery so that it wouldn't die when other features do.

    2. dotdavid

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      Personally I don't mind charging my smartphone every day - it goes to sleep, on charge, when I do and is ready for me when I wake up. I guess a similar logic could be applied to smart wearables.

      The only downside is that it does make it annoying when you're away from a charger for more than a day which does happen now and then. A lot of the convenience of smart wearables would be lost if you had to carry around extra batteries just in case.

    3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      It is if you ever want to be more than a day from a charging point...

    4. GregC

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      I have no problem with charging my phone every day - I get to work, plug it into my laptop and leave it there until I need it. That's fine, if I wasn't charging it then it would still be sat on my desk.

      The problem with a smart watch by comparison is that in normal daily use it should be on my wrist, but if it's charging then I'm not wearing it and it's therefore largely useless as a watch. Which is a shame, as I actually really like the look of the Motorola offering.

      The other problem is price - as a piece of convenience tech I get it, but it's not worth any more than about £50 to me, and I would be surprised if any of these were less than double that, more likely 4 times.

    5. DrXym

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      The big deal here is that a "dumb" watch doesn't need charging every day, so why does a smart watch? What is it that the smart watch does which justifies this additional hassle of remembering to charge it? It's bad enough to have plug sockets for charging phones and tablets, but now watches?

      And because smart watches are such power hogs they do things which make them even worse than a dumb watch. For example, the first watch I owned was a 1978 Ingersoll. It's LED display burned through batteries so fast it made me push a button to show the time. Now it's like history repeating - I think smart watches are no further along their evolutionary path than my Ingersoll was.

      I think smart watches need low power always-on displays - anything from LCD to mirasol. And to use low power bluetooth and open profiles for communication with other devices so they're not tied to a phone OS or platform. And to dial back on their functionality accordingly to keep their power requirements low. Give them a few more years and we may actually see some of these things. For now, I think they are largely gimmicks in search of a purpose.

    6. deshepherd

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      Is charging every day really a deal breaker?

      Depends how its done ... if you have to flick a rubber cover off a microUSB port and then plug in a connector (having remembered which way up to do it) etc then its a bit of a pain. If its just a matter of putting the device down on a wireless recharging pad overnight then its not. I've had a Nexus 5 since a few weeks after launch and I bought a Qi charging pad very quickly - sits by my bed and stick N5 on it each night and the full charge in the morning lasts me all the next day. I'm sure for a watch it will be simple to come up with a simple wireless charging device that you place the watch on every night. So in reality charging every day is probably not an issue - in reality if it last more than a day then its got to last almost indefinitely to avoid the unexpeted "out of power" events.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

        Hand-winding a watch every day may be a slight inconvenience but it takes moments and you can keep the watch on, and do it anywhere. Having to take your watch off for an hour or 3 every day is a whole other issue. You'd get use to it but it is certainly inconvenient.

        1. PassingStrange

          Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

          And indeed, at the other end of the spectrum - once you get used to not wearing a watch again, it's a relief not to need to.

          I own a cheap Casio F-91W digital - cost me well under a tenner, totally reliable, a battery that will last a decade or longer, and does everything I need in a timepiece. I wore a watch every day for 30 years whilst at work, because so much of my life was driven by the clock. Now that's not the case, and the watch has slowly migrated from a permanent home on my wrist to equally permanent lodgings in my trouser pocket - from where it gets taken maybe once every couple of days (when I actually need to know the time, and taking it out's the simplest option). But in truth, I have clocks around the house, in the car, and on my phone; I'm rarely far from sight of one, and I simply don't need an extra one stuck annoyingly and uncomfortably on my wrist. So if I'm going, say, to stick serious computing power there, it better give me something I really value, and that I can't get half as well another way. So far, I simply don't see any application that remotely steps up to the task.

          The recent history of technology is awash with novel and inventive ideas that went nowhere because people didn't want them, didn't need them or both. And if there's one lesson to be taken from that, it's that, just because you can make something "clever", that doesn't mean to say that people will buy it. Bet the farm at your own risk.

      2. VinceH

        Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

        "Depends how its done ... "

        Indeed. My watch receives some charge most days - it's solar.

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

          My solar watch charges some days. I live in North Wales.

    7. pwillems

      Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?

      Is this discussions not kind of beside the point? You wear it on the wrist and it can give the time, but the similarities with a watch stop there. A smart watch is a kiosk for your smart phone. A small convenient interface to get basic operations done without having to boot up the real computer. I certainly do believe it has it's place.

      You can not compare this to a Casio watch and complaining that it will need to be recharged more often than a G-Shock makes no sense. It is in no way related to a G-Shock other than being a similar size and replicating the G-Shock's one basic function.

  7. Robert Grant

    Here's all I want

    Just make a little disk of metal that vibrates when my phone tells it to, and I'll glue it to the bottom of my watch. Next.

  8. DaLo

    Not scared to try

    A lot of modern tech companies don't know if these ideas will take off, but they have the money and the vision to take risks that is why technology in some areas is progressing so fast.

    Apple might not have imagined the iPhone would become so popular, and I'm pretty sure they knew the iPad was a gamble but they went ahead anyway. Google probably didn't know their self-driving cars would ever be truly capable of being seriously looked at as a possible real-world product and within a few years every major car maker is looking at self-drive with licences being granted for real world trials and pundits expecting public availability within a decade.

    It was reported that Nokia always had a fear factor about new, innovative products, as management weren't prepared to take the risks

    Microsoft have been accused of similar with their main motive being profit and unprepared to invest in anything that didn't have a definitive Roi (until they went into catchup mode).

    'Wearables' are just another part of this, they might go mainstream and become 'the Next Big Thing' or they might not. But if they do you want to be a market leader and there is not a business killing loss if they don't.

    It was also a response to the manufacturers that this came about. Google did not invent a piece of hardware here (smartwatches). There were many companies building these watches, many of them Android partners. It made sense for Google to put together an API and make a common platform for developers to use. It also keeps Google relevant in this arena.

    I could think of many uses for my app that would make perfect sense on a watch - displaying a OS grid reference out on the hills or alerting you to when you go off track, displaying a radar to your target, or a simple map overview. Much quicker on a watch display, especially in bad weather than a phone. There are watches that do some of this, and dedicated GPS hill walking devices but none of these are programmable with your own app on a common platform (Some Chinese watches are android powered and have some of these capabilities).

  9. Peter 26


    It will take off, but not in the way shown in the Google demo.

    I am the owner of a Pebble Smart Watch, I've installed loads of apps for it, but the one killer feature I use is Notification Alerts.

    Any time my phone alerts me about something I don't have to get the phone out of my pocket, I just check my watch and I can read the tweet, email(name, subject, first few lines), sms etc... I check my watch to see if I need to get my phone out. Anything that appears in the drop down at the top of your phone appears on your watch.

    And that is it, that alone that makes the watch worth it. Yeah I have all these crazy other apps that tell me the weather etc. but they are just gimmicks and get used very rarely.

    I am absolutely convinced this is the future for our mobiles, it is extremely useful, my wife even wants one which says to me this is mainstream. She says they are too manly though. As soon as the first Marc Jacobs/Gucci Smart Watch comes out this will be the next fashion accessory every women wants.

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Notifications

      "As soon as the first Marc Jacobs/Gucci Smart Watch comes out this will be the next fashion accessory every women wants."

      You are aware the 1950's are over, aren't you? Will the killer app be one to tell her when the casserole is ready, or the one to tell her to put her husband's pipe and slippers by his comfy chair?

      1. Peter 26

        Re: Notifications

        So because I state that women don't want something manly I'm sexist. If they come out with a girly watch I wouldn't want to wear it either? That makes me sexist? Men and women have different tastes, that's just the way it is.

        1. NotWorkAdmin

          Re: Notifications

          Actually, the Watch Pro article names Fossil Group as their manufacturing partner. Fossil do Marc Jacobs, so this quite possible.

        2. DocJames

          Re: Notifications @ Peter 26

          Men and women have different tastes, because they have been socially conditioned in this way.

          FTFY. But I agree that there's little point in trying to get a woman to wear the current style of smart watches.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Notifications @ Peter 26

            "Men and women have different tastes, because they have been socially conditioned in this way."

            Next time you visit a kibbutz, a society designed and executed, amongst other things, to eliminate your alleged "social conditioning", you might find yourself astounded to discover that lifelong residents of the these communities (incl. children) have markedly different tastes, attitudes and predilections that are entirely consistent with those shown in the rest of the world by members of the same sex.

            You have been drinking way too much radical feminism kool-aid.

    2. Fazal Majid

      Re: Notifications

      That use case makes sense, but getting more notifications is the last thing you should want. Without getting all Zen or Walden-esque about it, interruptions break your flow and hinder your ability to get things done. Frittering your attention onto what your phone or smartwatch thinks is important means you are ceding the control of your most important resource to someone else, e.g. advertising companies and their business need to turn us into Pavlovian dogs awaiting their next hit of notification so we can be exposed to more ads.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wearables could still be attractive if you have a smartphone

    I don't buy the "we already have smartphones, why would anyone want a wearable?" argument. We had pocket watches before wrist watches were developed and wiped them out, we had desktop PCs but that didn't stop clunky/expensive/low performance laptops taking off, we've had laptops with feature-packed applications but we love our smartphones with their limited apps. What the history of technology does teach us is that convenience and freedom trump better/faster/bigger/cheaper. And who wants to carry a power-hungry smartphone around in their hand and pocket all the time anyway?

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Wearables could still be attractive if you have a smartphone

      If your watch has a cellular radio and colour screen, it will be power hungry too

    2. Charles Manning

      Re: Wearables could still be attractive if you have a smartphone

      The newer products only took off when they replaced the old version.

      Nobody carried a pocket watch AND wore a wrist watch. The wrist watch replaced the pocket watch.

      Very few people had a laptop and a desktop. Laptops only really took off once they replaced desktops.

      A smart watch will only work once it replaces a smart phone. Given that the smart phone trend has been to larger screens etc,, it is hard to see how all that can be squished into a watch form factor.

  11. Ole Juul

    The music is the message

    I note that the sound track "music" consisted of one bar repeated. There was no harmony, let alone harmonic development - not even a turnaround. There was no melody, and no counterpoint. That is about as empty as it gets. Parapraxis or just plain out of ideas? Either way, I get the message.

  12. Captain Hogwash


    Presumed consent for organ donation.

    Google hosted medical records.

    NHS scheme.

    Health and fitness centric, cloud connected wearable computing devices.

    Put all of those ideas together and I've never felt more like an item of livestock in my life.

    Just fill the skies with drones to effect a quick recovery when the wearable in your hand starts blinking.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And of course...

    Security will allways be an afterthought with these things...

    So if you don't mind some pimply faced youth opening your garage door or rifling through

    your email... go ahead and start connecting everything to everything...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A nice watch says that you are professional. Taking our your phone to tell the time says you can't afford a watch/can't see it's simple significance.

    I wouldn't do business with you because I wouldn't trust you.

    A talking/smart watch is superfluous bullshite. A smartphone for a watch is just tragic.

    1. Charles Manning

      A nice watch says you're a poser who thinks rolling a turd in glitter will fix it. Please ignore what matters, just look at my bling!

      Real professionals, the ones people trust, are confident in themselves and don't need shiny ego-armour. They will wear casual clothes and they will use whatever they have to tell the time; they prefer function over form.

      1. A Dawson

        I think the AC was talking about professional wankers.

  15. monkeyfish

    Not so fast, Mister.

    I can imagine a scenario when these could take off (assuming they are cheap enough/good enough):

    Do not connect it to your phone. Do not have a 'phone'.

    Do connect it to your 3G/4G tablet, which is in your bag.

    Do not have an 'internet connection' on the watch, link that to the tablet. It's too small for browsing anyway.

    Do have the phone gubbins in the watch.

    Phones are either a) too small for the internet and everything you want to do with them, or b) too big to put in your pocket. So don't have one. If it's connected to the tablet, then let it update you with info and maybe also video call (Dick Tracy anyone?). If not, then it is a 'dumb phone' in a watch shape (+ a camera, that'll get the newspapers going). Happily you would only need one camera on it, so you would either point it at yourself or hold it up like a nutter to take something else.

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: Not so fast, Mister.

      Second thoughts, they could already do this with the current designs:

      One giant phone/tablet (could have up to 10" if not holding it to your head) + current smart watch.

      Of course, you might look a little silly holding the watch to your head to make a call, but no sillier than shouting into an ear-piece or holding a phablet (ugh, horrible word) to your head.

  16. James Hughes 1

    Once again

    It never ceases to amaze me how many luddites post here. I was under the impression this was a tech site. So many people say this or that will never catch on, or the (almost always bleeding edge) tech is crap and so on, just barging in with comments like "I don't like it so it won't catch on" without really thinking about the possibilities.

    And yet here we are, even Windows Phone is getting bigger market share.

    So it appears luddites don't have crystal balls. Or imagination.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: without really thinking about the possibilities

      My post was all about the possibilities. I'm ready to embrace any new tech that offers a benefit to me while leaving me in control.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: without really thinking about the possibilities

        Kind of rules out any offering from Google then. User control isn't their big strength; especially in the spaffing personal data area.

    2. DrXym

      Re: Once again

      Smart watches as they exist right now are seriously flawed devices which require constant charging, usually turn off their display when not in use, cost a lot of money, are tied to smart phone platforms and don't offer much functionality to justify the "smart" tag.

      It's not about being a luddite. I'm quite sure in time some of these issues will be addressed. Maybe Google / Apple have some product in development which lasts a month between charges or tops up from kinetic energy or solar. But I simply don't see the attraction in them as they exist right now.

    3. Charles Manning

      Re: Once again

      Having been in the electronics/software industry for 30 years, it would be hard to put me in the luddite camp. Yet I do not pack my life with tech stuff.

      Indeed I have a "dumb phone" that I only use for one or two calls a week and maybe 1 or 2 texts a month (all in CAPS because I can't be bothered finding out how to turn CAPS off). This thing runs for 2 weeks on one charge, nobody would ever steal it and I really don't care if it gets lost. I had a phone Google game me, but I don't use that any more.

      After you've been pummeled by wave after wave of tech promising to change your life forever, you get to realise that almost all consumer tech over promises and under delivers. That is true of 8-core smart phones, Blue Ray,... or any of that other gotta-have stuff.

      For most of us, most consumer tech "innovation" ends up being a brief distraction until the next bit of tat comes along. Very little of it provides true utility.

      1. twilkins

        Re: Once again

        If you have no friends, don't vary your daily routine or ever travel I can almost see your point.

        Personally, having a smartphone makes trips abroad (business & pleasure) far, far easier and helps me keep in touch with my loved ones when I've there. A quick Skype call with my kids from a conference hotel last week made me glad of consumer tech "innovation". My kids were glad too.

  17. A Twig

    The problem I have with the wearables is they don't do enough to replace my actual watch, and I don't want to wear two things on my wrists.

    When I can get a FitBit/Fuelband style tracker that is as rugged as my G-shock, has the world time zones, stopwatch and timer, is properly water and shock proof (so I can wear it swimming / surfing etc), and does all the pedometer, fitness style stuff (preferably with wireless charge so it can charge off a pad on my bedside table at night) then I'll definitely buy one, but at the moment there isn't a single "watch" device which does it all.

    So I would end up with an expensive, flimsy and more hassle causing extra device, which I have to wear on the wrong wrist, At which point I'm better off using my normal watch and using the smartphone that I carry around all day anyway for the other stuff.

    1. dogged

      > When I can get a FitBit/Fuelband style tracker that is as rugged as my G-shock, has the world time zones, stopwatch and timer, is properly water and shock proof (so I can wear it swimming / surfing etc), and does all the pedometer, fitness style stuff (preferably with wireless charge so it can charge off a pad on my bedside table at night) then I'll definitely buy one, but at the moment there isn't a single "watch" device which does it all.

      Actually, there is (or soon will be).

      I don't much like the way it looks, sadly, but it is all you have asked for.

      1. twilkins

        Watch apps written in C# and a website that doesn't even render properly in Chrome tells me this company may not stick around until next Xmas.

    2. DrXym

      There are G-shock watches that almost qualify as smart watches - they implement bluetooth and have limited interaction with phones - bleeps for messages, incoming calls etc. They show the direction smart watches should probably be going - stop trying to be a phone, or ape a phone's display and just provide simple interaction with a phone if the owner happens to have one.

      1. dogged

        I agree but the G-Shock in question is limited to iOS notifications and Casio refuse to provide the Bluetooth API.

        It's like they don't want people to buy it.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    "Microsoft's information-by-radio Spot watch technology will now not hit the market until early next year rather than this week. And some of the software giant's hardware partners may not even ship product then."

    Funny, Google delivered their software and the partners their hardware...

    1. dogged

      Re: SPOT

      Really? You're wearing your Moto360, are you?

  19. ItsNotMe

    "Some revolutions never happen. This might be one of them."

    We can only hope.

  20. cracked

    When in public, talking to someone who is not really there, has never been a good look. Neither is sitting in the bus queue, mindlessly scrolling through a couple of days worth of your Facebook trivia.

    However, many people want to do both.

    Wearable Tech V1.5 is, unsurprisingly, a bit rubbish. But Google's kit does say to designers and developers; here, get on with it then. And yes, they will end up owning the space - But that isn't a surprise is it? ... Once it was Microsoft, and all that. I think it is better for the space, that a development company, rather than an engineering company, owns the space.

    The problem is that as the power of the smart-phone has increased, so has its size. That appears to be partly down to various applications requiring a large screen (maybe some type of wearable can replace that ...?); but the physical size is making using other aspects of the device less satisfying.

    I think making those aspects more satisfying - as well as a few new functions - is where the money will be made.

    (a bit weirdly ... if successful, wearable computing will eventually help reduce the size of the central, smart-phone unit)

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: development company, rather than an engineering company

      How do you feel about an advertising company?

      1. twilkins

        Re: development company, rather than an engineering company

        Hey, at least they give me something for free before they try and sell me something. Beats, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, etc.

  21. Cynicalmark

    Waste of time waiting

    Where is Glass in the UK. Given their record we may see such innovations when they are years out of date ..... Typical narrow minded corporation view....i'm off to play with my least we can buy it over here

    1. RyokuMas

      Re: Waste of time waiting

      "Where is Glass in the UK"

      Probably waiting while Google's laywers scrabble through EU legislation for loopholes against cases of photographing and retention of images without permission...

  22. RISC OS


    ...if you live in eric schmidt's neck of the woods... but if you live on some council estates here in the uk you may as well just walk around with a sign saying "mug me"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Technology has been shrinking for ages.

    The progression of computers:

    Computers in a big room.

    Computers on your desk.

    Computers in your lap.

    Computers in your pocket (PDA/phone).

    Computers in your hand (tablet).

    Wearing a computer device is a natural progression and combining it with a device some wear (watch) or used to wear is more natural than something not everyone wears or wants to wear (glasses).

    Watches allow for more instantaneous control since you don't need to keep unlocking them.

  24. scarshapedstar


    I used to always wear a watch, until I had a cell phone and it became superfluous. I do kinda miss it, so I'm quite excited to have an excuse to wear a watch again, because I am indeed a nerd. The fact that it's (theoretically) fully customizable in how it looks and behaves is a pretty big deal to me. People talk about how in the future we will wear smart clothes that can show movies or some junk, but a DIY watch face is a decent start.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why I think you're wrong!

    1 - They are not replacing the phone - which is the premise of your article for some reason. They are augmenting them. Look at the developer preview and it becomes obvious it is geared towards notifications and quick-glance info - not full blown "killer apps"

    2 - They will last a few days without charge - even Sony manages this with their already-out-but-barely-heard-of-full-blown-android-os v2 smartwatch.

    3 - SPOT was 12 years ago, and developed by a company that often doesn't know its arse from its elbow on a good day. Plus the obvious fact that these are two completely different products. Smartphones were shite back then too - perhaps you should let Apple and Samsung know there is no money in them - quick before it's too late!!

    4 - You say "Since voice remains the most popular human communication mechanism, so the phone - or a phone, of some kind - will be with us" - again, this isn't replacing the phone, you will still be able to call. But also, this is the main feature of the video I disagree with. I would never reply to a text by talking loudly to my watch on a train/bus, even with my hands full, I'd wait until it was a little more private, otherwise best case is you look like an idiot, worst case is it would be considered antisocial.

    5 - Ever missed a call because you didn't feel the vibration or hear the phone when you were walking with it in your pocket in the street. Happens to me - if these watches have vibrate or a decent loud speaker you wouldn't need to worry about that.

    All modern consumer electronics are solutions looking for problems:

    - why own a tablet when a laptop will do? A - you need to play plants vs zombies sat on the couch or a train.

    - why buy a flat screen TV when a CRT works just fine? A - You couldn't make out the actors individual hairs - but in "stunning Full HD" now you can!.

    - why buy a toaster with 4 slots instead of 2? Because waiting another 2 minutes to cook another 2 slices is too damn long!

  26. twilkins

    It's pretty obvious what problem they are offering a solution to

    The problem is the constant, almost nervous distraction that people who use a smartphone frequently can develop.

    "Did the phone ring, was that a text coming through or just a spasm in my leg?" Pebble got it right in the first instance because they focussed on doing one thing well - notifications. It's still pretty rude to pull your phone out of your pocket and check your email on a first date, in a client meeting, when having a chat a the dining table, but it's much easier to feel a vibration on your wrist and then have a quick glance at your watch.

    90 odd years of "convention" means that a quick glance at a watch is acceptable in situations that fishing around in your pocket / handbag for your phone is not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's pretty obvious what problem they are offering a solution to

      Except it probably wouldn't be a quick glance, it would be more like a gateway drug. You notice an incoming message, so you take a close look to see the subject, then maybe glance at the body, aw hell, maybe even type a quick reply, and out comes the phone. If you're in a situation where etiquette dictates that you should pay attention to those around you, maybe you should put your phone on "do not disturb". In all honesty, are those mails and tweets and whatnot really so important that they can't wait for a couple of hours. I suppose if you're a heart-surgeon....

  27. Fazal Majid

    Rich nerds wear expensive Swiss mechanical watches

    It's one of the few articles of jewelry a man can wear without appearing tasteless, along with cufflinks.

    Most of these are automatic and don't need recharging or rewinding.

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