What can you do with a SmartWatch…

And more importantly – what’s the point?

I’ve personally never understood the need for a SmartWatch. Perhaps it’s because of the reported short battery life on some models, or it’s because I’m never separated from my phone, but I never really ‘got it’.

However, I’ve become aware that the styling on some Android Wear devices has improved significantly, and with all the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, I decided to have another look.

Whilst at the Gadget Show Live 2015 I took the opportunity to talk to Pebble, who were early and successful pioneers in the SmartWatch field, to talk me through what a SmartWatch can do above and beyond a traditional watch.

The demo included:

  • The changeable watch faces – A nice touch and there are some very useful and clever watch faces available, although ultimately a traditional watch still does the same thing in telling the time.
  • Fitness software integration – For me this would be a great advantage, as I currently wear both a watch and a Fitbit. By integrating fitness tracking functionality into a SmartWatch, I would need to carry/wear one less device.
  • A simple game – In all honesty this looked more like a gimmick, and if I had chance to play a game I would just get my phone out. Now if they could use location services to drive a game that might be interesting…
  • Music control – Most of the time I control music using the quick controls on the front of my phone, however I can imagine scenarios when I’m listening to music in the house via BlueTooth where this would an advantage.
  • Up-to-date travel information – This is the function that appealed to me the most; up-to-date travel information delivered to your wrist. Changes to public transport are vital in the city and this seems a great way to get the information.
  • Message Notifications – This seems to be most people’s killer app, but for me this isn’t as useful as it may seem. The small screen isn’t ideal for reading large amounts of text, so I would rather look at my phone. It might also be a source of frustration if I have a notification on my wrist but can’t get to my phone.

The demo from pebble is shown below.

Ultimately there are a couple of elements that have started to interest me about smartwatches, but I’m still not totally convinced.
However, I am now open-minded enough to say that if the battery life and price was right, I would be tempted to give one a go. Right now, it means that the Apple product might not be for me because of the price-to-benefit ratio.

I don’t know whether any SmartWatch is right for me right now.

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