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Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the that's-adorable dept.

Businesses 399

jfruh (300774) writes "With rumors swirling about Apple entering the wearable space with an iWatch, you'd think that the Japanese and Swiss companies that have dominated high-end watchmaking for more than a century would be scrambling to catch up. But there were virtually no smartwatches on display at the Baselworld trade fair, and the watchmaking giants had no plans to produce any. Company representatives seemed sure that people in practice would be uninterested in constantly recharging their watches and downloading software updates just to tell time."

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Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturers.. (3, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | about 6 months ago | (#46858267)

...how that attitude worked out for them.

10 years from now there won't be watches without some sort of connectivity except for specialty pieces designed from the outset to satisfy luddites.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

Iconoc (2646179) | about 6 months ago | (#46858299)

Corded phones didn't cost $350 - $500 either.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858389)

And they didn't need to be linked to another expensive device to be of any real use either.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 months ago | (#46858477)

You mean like an iPhone? I agee. That'll never work.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46858763)

You mean like the CO phone exchange? :-)

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (4, Insightful)

grnbrg (140964) | about 6 months ago | (#46858843)

Corded phones didn't cost $350 - $500 either.

$350-$500 puts you into the range of cheap trash and knock-off timepieces. Try adding a zero. Or two [authenticwatches.com] .

I'm a geek, and I've got a Pebble that I wear fairly regularly. But the watch I wear when I want to dress up a bit (or when I get tired of the cheesy plastic smart watch) is a Tag Heurer with an automatic movement. The Pebble is neat, and has IMHO the right balance of features and price. But it has no soul.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (2)

Majestix (41486) | about 6 months ago | (#46858345)

Im waiting for the 1k year battery that will power my smart watch long past my death. Is probably in the glove-box of my flying car.

K

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 6 months ago | (#46858371)

I want my Moller Skycar now!

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#46858425)

You should definitely add some sarcasm mark to that, or people might take you seriously.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (5, Insightful)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 6 months ago | (#46858435)

The problem with that assumption is that a watch isn't a timepiece. At least upscale watches aren't timepieces, exactly. They're principally jewelry. And much like Rolex never made a calculator watch, don't expect them to make a smart watch either. In any event, I don't see much advantage to being an early adopter in this space. Their customers aren't banging down the door asking for a smart watch. The people I know who have smart watches so far are not your typical watch customer.

How much of a status symbol is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858761)

to have a smartwatch, if it only demonstrates 1) you spent a fortune just to learn the time and 2) you need a smarter watch just to tell the time? I guess I just need to run out and cash out my retirement plan so I can buy one.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (3, Insightful)

rioki (1328185) | about 6 months ago | (#46858769)

Same with fountain pens. People by fountain pens because it is a sign of class and status, same is with watches.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46858875)

Same with fountain pens. People by fountain pens because it is a sign of class and status, same is with watches.

I don't care about class or status, I wear a wristwatch for 2 reasons:

1) I've always worn one, and I feel kind of naked without it

2) "remove phone from pocket/turn on screen/twist body to shield screen from sun/read time" seems like a huge waste of time and effort, compared to "twist wrist/read time"

OK, 3 reasons:

3) my kinetic (ie self-winding) windup watch will always be able to tell the time, so long as I keep it wound and don't break it.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (2)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 6 months ago | (#46858931)

... and because they are very nice tools when writing. Mine has a plastic handle, cost somewhere between 10 and 20 € and does not look like much, but it does help making my handwriting somewhat legible, and enables me to keep writing for a while without fatigue.

Sure you can get super-expensive fancy fontain pens which are 90% status symbols - as you can with phones, cars, clothes, and practically everything else - but that doesn't mean that all fountain pens are just status symbols.

Consumers will choose the best option (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858491)

What's more useful:
  - A watch you have to install software updates onto and have to charge every 8 hours
or
  - A mechanical automatic watch that continues to work as long as you wear it every day

I prefer the latter, and am currently wearing one now. Much less maintenance.

Re:Consumers will choose the best option (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 6 months ago | (#46858781)

Ummm.... a $5 quartz clocked digital watch that keeps better time than the mechanical watch and has a battery that last 5yrs. Probably longer by now or at least it should be given advances in battery technology.

Someone actually using a watch to tell time, smart or otherwise, is new to me. Last I checked we all have smart phones that are constantly linked to the internet and synchronized with the most precise time sources physicists can come up with. These devices are on us at all times, can be used to take pictures, exchange communications in a dozen fairly unique ways, browse the web, etc.

There's a point where a smaller and smaller smart device just means less and less an ideal interface. While less portable a laptop is still less hassle for involved tasks than a smartphone. That's why tablets came after the smartphone, people realized this and tried to fill the gap but a tablet is less useful as a mobile device than a phone and more hassle than a laptop. While not really portable at all, a desktop is better, certainly faster, than any of those things for more involved work.

A watch... that has nothing to do with telling time and certainly nothing to do with computing. Those are decorative items. Some also have the novelty factor of seeing the cool mechanical bits through transparent windows. I thought about getting a pocket watch for that reason.

Re:Consumers will choose the best option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858847)

Depends. I rarely need to know the time, but frequently need to be reminded that I have a meeting in 5 minutes.

The former can get my calendar and notify me of the time when it matters, the latter can't.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (4, Insightful)

xclr8r (658786) | about 6 months ago | (#46858513)

Just as there are certain types of "Audiophiles" (for better or worse and they do not all exhibit the same amount of ...), there are also Watchphiles too. They hang out at sites like http://www.watchismo.com/ [watchismo.com] . Watches are highly individualistic time peices. I see lots of people foregoing the watch because their smartphone has the time. There will be some culling of the lower tier watches that don't adapt but their will always be room for the "classic time piece" e.g. there's still a market for pocket watches.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 6 months ago | (#46858637)

While I agree that watches have their own niche, I don't think any of them believe that their timepieces are more accurate than other devices, so audiophiles are probably not the best point of comparison.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46858905)

While I agree that watches have their own niche, I don't think any of them believe that their timepieces are more accurate than other devices, so audiophiles are probably not the best point of comparison.

At least, not until Monster starts making oxygen-free watch bodies with 24k gold connectors.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

rioki (1328185) | about 6 months ago | (#46858803)

I think the low end watches where already culled by the mobile phones in general. All watches that remain are basically some form or other an accessory, that is used to show off.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858517)

Like many people, I don't wear a watch of any sort. It is a hassle and I can get the time from my phone anyhow.

Why would i need a watch linked to my phone?

Pocket watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858699)

Consider a pocket watch. Actually, a watch chain would be a useful accessoire for a smartphone. That's how people cut down on theft and cracked glass centuries ago, and guess what: it worked. It would also be so much more stylish to pull your smartphone out of your vest that way in order to look at the time and/or messages.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

xclr8r (658786) | about 6 months ago | (#46858719)

athletic info - heart rate monitor, track over time etc., altimeter, temp barometer readings over time. Also think bi-directional. What info can the phone deliver to my watch. e.g. only forward sms from significant other during outing and display on watch.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46858939)

So get a FitBit (or whatever).

Actually, if they'd stick a simple digital time readout into the FitBit, and not charge an arm and a leg, that's something I might actually be willing to consider as a replacement for my faithful ol' analog watch.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46858537)

...how that attitude worked out for them.

Not the most observant person, are we? Next time you're in a brick-and-mortar establishment, take a second to look around at just what kind of phones they have on the various desks, kiosks, checkouts, et. al.

FYI, the "corded phone manufacturers" are doing just fine; hell, they sell me (or rather, my clients) thousands of phones and replacement parts every single year.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

rioki (1328185) | about 6 months ago | (#46858867)

The question is, for how long? Granted I have a phone at my desk, but I think this is more about organisational inertia. I very rarely use the phone, if I ever have voice communication with colleagues, it almost always is some form of VOIP. Granted we may see some "corded" VOIP phones turn up, but the POTS is going to die some time around. My guess is along 10-20 years.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 6 months ago | (#46858967)

Yeah, biggest change is that today they're attached to the ethernet port instead of needing their own cable system, and has access to the company phonebook via LDAP etc. They have also become quite complicated - when I got the phone on my desk, it came with a little folder instructing me how to install the operating system. That think literally has more buttons than my laptop...

They may not be wrong... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 6 months ago | (#46858559)

Of the people who still use watches, they do it precisely because they want just the time with batteries that go on forever or even don't use batteries at all, or consider the device as more an art piece or fashion statement than a practical tool.

Sure, some may go to smartwatches, but I'm wagering the vast majority of the opportunity for smartwatches are people who don't bother with a watch anymore because they've already gone to 'just phones'. In other words, the extent to which the 'non-luddite' market erodes the wristwatch industry has already happened.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#46858765)

10 years from now there won't be watches without some sort of connectivity except for specialty pieces designed from the outset to satisfy luddites.

Bullshit. Not everybody wants a smart watch. That doesn't make you a luddite ... you may in fact be a fan of time pieces.

I have a couple of skeleton watches, meaning you can see through the watch face to the actual gears and mechanical bits of the watch.

The aesthetics of the watch itself is the point. Just because someone doesn't feel the need to use every shiny bauble and gew gaw the tech industry comes up with doesn't make them a luddite.

I'm completely surrounded by electronics and technology already, and I don't see a smart watch as being something I'm particularly interested in. In fact, it's something I can't see the point of for me ... I don't text enough to need to have it constantly attached to me, any more than I can't be away from my phone (which I refuse to buy a data plan for, because wifi covers my needs). I also don't need Apple (or whoever) to be able to track every little I thing I do throughout my day.

If you think the big name watch makers all need to get on board with this or die, you're overly fetishizing technology. There will always be a market for mechanical watches. You really think suddenly nobody is going to want to own a Rolex because there exist smartwatches? If you do, you don't know anything about people who buy watches.

Some people still have plain old-fashioned analog sex too, and haven't embraced teledildonics. And, thankfully, most of us never will.

For many of us, technology is a tool, but not the be all and end all of our existence. Knowing when to draw the line and walk away from it doesn't make you a luddite, it means you have a better perspective on shit that really matters.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 6 months ago | (#46858771)

Would that be the same way there aren't any mechanical watches available today, decades after digital and electronic watches came on the market?

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858809)

Watches aren' t to tell time. They are man jewlery.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858815)

It's not the same thing at all.

These are the companies that still make mechanical analog watches. More than anything they're jewelry with barely enough functionality that men can rationalize wearing them as "practical" and not "vain"/"girly" (every important mane has to know how long he's making his subordinates wait for him after all).

A smartwatch is primarily an IO terminal for a phone. The only reason to get one is expanding the utility of said phone, and it's likely that they'll be percieved as "geeky" by the general public.

Luxury smatwathes may be a thing someday, but first smartwatches have to prove themselves useful. Once most people have one then the luxury models made form gold and platinum and styled to look like grate-grandfater's pocket watch (yes that does deafet the purpose but the target market won't care) will start showing up.

Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858825)

The number one use of watches is to attract women by being manly and/or expensive.

The Apple fag watch won't help with that. It will compete with the iPhone more than with the old style watches.

There is their big mistake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858279)

They will not be wearing them just to tell time. They are taking the spot that use to be used just to tell time.
And as soon as there is a god app for it everyone will want.

Re:There is their big mistake. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 months ago | (#46858377)

IN a world that gets the time from their smartphone, having largely abandoned watches save to those that enjoy being bejeweled, this is an answer looking for a question. GPS on your wrist, like a BoyScout/GirlScout compass? Watch a movie on your wrist? Take a picture like Dick Tracy? The watchmakers are right. If the medium is the message, the the watch on a wrist used to be interesting until time moved to a smartphone, which all the carriers will tell you is an HDTV, too.

Re:There is their big mistake. (1)

anagama (611277) | about 6 months ago | (#46858531)

Not just your smartphone -- your car, microwave, stove, radio, computer, and a host of other devices. Clocks are simply everywhere. Except for some specialized jobs or hobbies, a watch of any kind is just unnecessary -- I haven't owned a watch in many years, and my wrists are more comfortable for it.

Re:There is their big mistake. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 months ago | (#46858679)

While I like the electromechanical precision of Swiss watches (and those from other countries), the exactness is important perhaps once a year. So long as the carriers reference an accurate time source, the world doesn't need more accurate time for civilian purposes.

But the smartwatch will intrigue a few with disposable income. And they'll get banged up, require new wristbands, and get lost, just like watches have. They'll need to be water resistant, and won't be for long, and they'll get plentifully scratched and abused.

This is an answer looking for a question in some revenue-starved MBA's marketing mind.

Re:There is their big mistake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858901)

In my experience you can't trust any clock but your own watch (or phone).

Other clocks may or may not be kept accurate so between power outages and daylight savings time they may be off by any amount of time (don't even get me started on the people who set their clocks 5 minutes ahead so they'll be on time).

Re:There is their big mistake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858439)

I want a god app.

Re:There is their big mistake. (1)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#46858529)

'as soon as' assumes that there will be a good app. There is no guarantee anything will or even can be developed that would be attractive enough to pull customers away from smart phones and traditional watches into some kind of smart watch ecosystem.

Re:There is their big mistake. (1)

Miseph (979059) | about 6 months ago | (#46858881)

I suspect that the plan is to integrate smartwatches into the already existing smartphone ecosystem, rather than try to lure anyone away from it.

"Smart" aren't (0)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 6 months ago | (#46858289)

I already can't grok why anyone wants a "smart" phone that freezes and crashes all the time, acts like the NSA in your pocket, has no usable keys or keyboard, a screen that's like reading the internet through a straw, and generally has nothing but irritating "features." I certainly do not want a digital watch with no buttons.

Re:"Smart" aren't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858499)

What is a luddite doing on a tech news site? Back to your basement, beardie!

Re:"Smart" aren't (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 6 months ago | (#46858635)

Slashdot has been pretty much luddite when it comes to anything but Linux on a desktop machine for at least a decade now, if you hadn't noticed.

Hitler and George Bush!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858295)

http://www.rt.com/news/155088-neo-nazi-march-disrupted/

" As a result, the ultra-right radicals held a short meeting where they were and after about three hours began to disperse.

The police set up two cordons to separate the two groups, although there was some violence. Bottles and stones rained down on the neo-Nazis, which were hurled from the left-wing camp and the police had to intervene with batons and tear gas. A few people were arrested and there were a few injuries, including among the police.

The local press has dubbed the neo-Nazis’ march, “the shortest march in history.”

---Of course the Nazis, that is the National Socialists are far far left, that is fascism, big government from border to border, regulations for thier regulations. Oh yes and death and violence all around. This is nothing to do with the right, as understood in the west, that is the Tea Party style right that stands for limited government and individual rights - for ALL men.

Silly media, lies are for Democrats!

I think they are right - for now (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#46858301)

Company representatives seemed sure that people in practice would be uninterested in constantly recharging their watches and downloading software updates just to tell time.

I think that for most users they are right for now. But when a smart-watch can be charged weekly or have battery changes annually it will be a different story,

Re:I think they are right - for now (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 months ago | (#46858399)

An inductive charger would help. Keep it by the bedside. I think it would be more acessible to take of your watch and put it on the charger each night.

UI is still a problem. You can only reasonably display a couple of dozen characters. I think even displaying an entire tweet on one screen would be pushing the limits of the technology.

Re:I think they are right - for now (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#46858597)

An inductive charger would help. Keep it by the bedside. I think it would be more acessible to take of your watch and put it on the charger each night. UI is still a problem. You can only reasonably display a couple of dozen characters. I think even displaying an entire tweet on one screen would be pushing the limits of the technology.

More like pushing the limits of comfortable reading, we already have screen resolutions high enough to display smaller text than can be comfortably read,

Re:I think they are right - for now (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#46858733)

A very different market.

High End watches are a work of art. They don't even make digital watches, and they never passed them off as a neat idea.

However if we think back to the 1980's, a lot of people wore digital watches. The common adult model went beep every hour, and could be setup to run as a stopwatch, and a alarm clock. (The standard 4 button model). Sure if you wanted to go on a job interview or to a stylish place you probably wouldn't wear the watch and go with the fancy analog one.

Today most of the population doesn't wear a watch, they have their phone on them and they are setup to tell time (Your cell phone is like a modern day pocket watch) If companies can get the Smart Phone watches cool enough, then people will buy them and wear them... But still the fancy watches will remain.

Missing the point (4, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 6 months ago | (#46858321)

There are two markets:

One -- served by commodity electronics -- watches that do something useful.

The other -- served by high-end, hand-made jewellery that don't actually function all that well as watches. For richarses with more dollars than sense, who want to show off.

This is like comparing apples and oranges.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | about 6 months ago | (#46858405)

It seems to me that the "high-end, hand-made jewellery market that don't actually function all that well as watches" is the one that has the most to fear from "smart" watches- "smart" devices are being treated more and more like fashion accessories.

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858419)

Comparing apples and blackberries?

Re:Missing the point (1)

muttoj (572791) | about 6 months ago | (#46858505)

For richarses with more dollars than sense, who want to show off.

Exactly! A watch main function is to make me look good.
I do not need a smartwatch as it would make my p.a. obsolete.

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858767)

I do not need a smartwatch as it would make my p.a. obsolete.

I can't see the technology advancing to the point where a watch replaces a physician assistant.

Re:Missing the point (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#46858595)

Not quite. There are three segments (besides the "I'll just look at my phone" segment):

People who want to tell accurate time. These are served by digital quartz watches, the higher end ones synchronize with time transmissions every night.

People who want something which is more than just another piece of consumer electronics and will actually retain some value over a long period. (And doesn't look like a cheap piece of shit, like most digital watches, regardless of their price, do) This is the market for mechanical watches - which while nowhere near as exact as a digital watch are good enough if regularly set. Analog quartz watches also fit in here, to a lesser extent.

People who want a smartwatch, for whatever reason. Problem is, they still mostly look like crap, aren't exactly cheap and aren't really more accurate than a regular quartz watch.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#46858647)

There's a third market. People who have a smartphone, and have a watch which costs between $0 and $500 and who don't want to look like a nerd. If you can make them non-nerd like and they actually offer something then go for it. No-one's going to buy them just because they exist, and the current ones look like someone's strapped a small smartphone to your wrist. There's a reason people scoff at those.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 6 months ago | (#46858705)

Apple doesn't really enter existing markets. They make new ones.

"Don't function all that well.." (4, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#46858807)

For my 40th birthday, my wife gave me a Tag Heuer chronograph (day, date, with stopwatch indicators for seconds, minutes and hours). I had been a long-time wearer of a digital watch, in fact I still wore the same Timex digital watch I bought at at Target in 1986 when I got this watch.

I'm not sure what "don't function all that well" means. About the only timekeeping weaknesses this watch has is that it is prone to run a little slow, needing to be moved ahead a minute or so every month, the date needs to be set when leaving a month with less than 31 days and of course DST adjustments.

Beyond that, it's a great timepiece. It's self-winding, so it never needs batteries. Waterproof to 300 meters. The sapphire crystal is totally clear and free of scratches. The stopwatch is handy for cooking or whatever simple timing needs I have.

Now, serious watch people tell me this really isn't a "serious" watch from a jewelry perspective, but it was $2300 when I got it and I don't think I'd want a more "serious" watch than this for the kind of money those sorts of watches go for.

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858951)

This is like comparing apples and gaudy and ostentatious displays of wealth.

FTFY

No wait...

This is like comparing gaudy and ostentatious displays of wealth and other gaudy and ostentatious displays of wealth.

FTFY and me.

It all depends on your uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858327)

I think for a lot of people, they would prefer a normal watch if their only task was telling the time. I think for some others, they might see the utility of a "smart" watch.

I personally like the general concept of a smart watch though none have really impressed me. 95% of the time, I am happy with my normal watch and the other 5%, I still have my smart phone which does any extra functionality I need.

Is the smart watch really meant to be a timepiece? (1)

Majestix (41486) | about 6 months ago | (#46858329)

Is the real purpose of the smart watch to tell time? i contend that the purpose is more so a less obtrusive way of viewing smartphone notifications than for telling time. Just my two cents.

Re:Is the smart watch really meant to be a timepie (1)

number17 (952777) | about 6 months ago | (#46858935)

Unless you are in a meeting or at lunch with somebody. Close your eyes and picture the person across from you constantly looking at their watch. It screams boredom.

Lib CNN reporter loses bet and welches HAHAHAHAH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858331)

http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/04/cnn-analyst-welches-on-bet-after-andrew-branca-wins-stand-your-ground-debate/

Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst. At one point her debate partner. Attorney Rice-Lave, made the statement that it was “indisputed” that George Zimmerman had gotten out of his car after being told by police not to.

Well, I pretty much know the relevant 911 audio by heart, and knew that was wrong. Zimmerman never was ordered not to get out of his car.

I immediately offered her a $100 wager that Zimmerman had never been told by police to stay in his car.

The next morning I sent Sunny the link to the 911 audio, which lacked any mention of the police telling Zimmerman to stay in his car, and offered to send her my mailing address so she could send me my $100.

She has not paid, changed the subject when I contacted her on Twitter, and now refuses to communicate on the issue.

Forgotten one's history? (1)

LaughingVulcan (3511853) | about 6 months ago | (#46858349)

Because a smartwatch was already tried, the Fossil Abacus. [wikipedia.org] I owned one, and while it was cool it does indeed get pretty tiring to make sure it was recharged every night. Things may indeed change, but wristwatch companies have far more to fear from smartphones than smart watches.

Re:Forgotten one's history? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46858411)

Contactless charging solves this problem almost completely. If you can just take the watch off and drop it into the same spot every night and have it charge, then you're golden. The only problem then becomes travel. The solution is that it must hold a charge at least a week. We're not there yet, which is why we don't have smartwatches everywhere.

Re:Forgotten one's history? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 6 months ago | (#46858519)

'Contactless charging' is a stupid and useless gimmick "technology" that is far from new and much like lotteries caters to people who don't understand how things work (in this case, the inverse-square law).

Re:Forgotten one's history? (1)

bytestorm (1296659) | about 6 months ago | (#46858651)

Of the people I know who own high end timepieces, returning them to their holder at night where they rest consistently in nearly exactly the same spot is not a problem. It's just like handling jewelry; everything has its place.

Re:Forgotten one's history? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 6 months ago | (#46858561)

I owned a Seiko MessageWatch (see http://mako.cc/copyrighteous/t... [mako.cc] ). It was functional for about 3 years. Off course, a modern-day variant can be connected to a laptop or desktop computer to upgrade the firmware, which the MessageWatch could not. So the idea is ancient, but maybe the time is ripe now.

On the other hand, My Nokia N900 was supported for about 3 years as well. Maybe people want to spend a lot of money on phones, but I doubt if they want to spend that much money on a watch that is already obsolete when you open the package.

Less is more (1)

ElectraFlarefire (698915) | about 6 months ago | (#46858381)

I'm new to Smart Watches and I got it because of a few features..
It's usable in full, bright midday sun, I get 5 days to a week per charge, it's quite waterproof and oh yes.. It happens to make a rather nice watch if my phone is not around!
I've already got a 'smart' device with all the bells and whistles in my pocket/bag, I really wouldn't want a 'watch' that can do much more than the pebble, it gives me a remote display so I don't need to take my phone out of my pocket to check simple things like GPS navigation direction and at the end of the day, it's just a watch that I can have fun with different watchfaces on..
And I know people who have continued to use their Pebbles even while they were without their smartphones for weeks at a time, just as a nice watch.

To me, it's turning out to be a handy extension of the phone, but it's not meant to 'take over' any functions..

Charging ther watches? Lol!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858421)

As opposed to my wife's $1500 bi-yearly Rolex overhaul.

Jewelry (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 6 months ago | (#46858441)

I wear a watch 1) to tell time and 2) as a piece of jewelry. Besides a wedding ring it's about the only piece of jewelry a guy can wear, and if you buy something nice (I have an Ebel Brasilia) it'll last forever, retain its value, and you can pass it on to your kids as a family heirloom.

That's the target market for luxury watchmakers. A smart watch is never going to compete with watches worn as jewelry.

Re:Jewelry (1)

langelgjm (860756) | about 6 months ago | (#46858579)

Agree. I have 6 watches. One is a dirt cheap analog Casio which is strapped to a motorcycle. One is a dirt cheap digital Timex which is also strapped to a different motorcycle. The other four are fancier, various colors (gold & leather, aluminum, steel, copper). I might wear a watch once a week, and I pick it to match what I'm wearing.

All the fancy ones were gifts. The next watch I buy will probably be another cheap Casio to strap on my bicycle. I think a smart watch is going to be a tough sell when everyone already has what will likely be a more capable smart phone on them already.

Re:Jewelry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858677)

Perhaps for a guy a watch is the only piece of jewelry he can wear besides a wedding ring.
But a man can wear whatever the fuck he wants.

If you stop being a loser who cares too much about the opinions of fools then you can wear rings, bracelets, necklaces, and anything else too.
Can wear a hat, a tie, a coat, a suit, paint your nails, and dye your hair too.

Want a dress or a kilt? You can have that too!

Re:Jewelry (1)

xtal (49134) | about 6 months ago | (#46858755)

That's great, but certain professions limit your options for self expression.

These are also the professions where one is likely to have the disposable income to drop $5k on a watch as your primary accessory.

See how that works?

Re:Jewelry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858885)

Look, you need to diversify. Marry twice, and you can have two rings!

What a trivial assertion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858443)

But there were virtually no smartwatches on display at the Baselworld trade fair.

The objects we call "smartwatches" are actually "wristheld"(tm) computers, not watches.

It's like comparing a "traditional TV set" with a modern "smart TV". Those things are too smart to be just things!

what's a "watch"? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858449)

did a little googling - turns out that people actually used to pay money for a single-purpose device that was advertised as keeping time but had no ntp support & left a tan line! they were apparently popular when it was fashionable to navigate with floating magnets, capture images with chemically coated strips of plastic and listen to music stored on removable media.

Style (5, Insightful)

McGruber (1417641) | about 6 months ago | (#46858473)

But there were virtually no smartwatches on display at the Baselworld trade fair, and the watchmaking giants had no plans to produce any.

That's because they understand that good taste never goes out of style.

So the obvious solution is: (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46858515)

Design the watches with spare batteries that get swapped in seconds. One in the charger and one in the wrist. Swap them once a day or once a week.

Make the software update automatic. Use the watch as simple status update device with rudimentary controls. As one who has used Timex+Microsoft datalink watches which downloaded contact lists by the flashing bars of a CRT display back in 1996, I tell you, there is a market for a well designed smart watch designed smartly.

Re:So the obvious solution is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858589)

Amazing. You've been a shill since 1996? Figures...

Garmin is most useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858525)

Garmin has the most useful "smart" watches out there. The Garmin Forerunner is full of useful features such as waypoints, virtual trainers, virtual racer, workouts, cadence sensors, etc. It is light weight and I don't have to carry a phone. They even have Garmin GPS watches for golfing, swimming, marine use, and pilots. The Fenix2 is next on my list.. it will cover running, swimming and biking as well as hiking. It has the most complete set of features. For reviews of the various Garmin sports watches (among others) check out the DC Rainmaker website. http://www.dcrainmaker.com/

Status (0)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 6 months ago | (#46858547)

expensive watches are all about status, not function. the hypothetical iWatch will not fall into the "expensive" category though it will certainly be more than run of the mill stuff.

It is hard to underestimate the iDrones and their propensity to own iAnything. But in an age where fewer young adults (and even older ones) are wearing a watch it better be something uber special. Is being a "fitness" monitor enough? Does the couch potato culture need that (looking at eBay fitness monitor lists, apparently not)? If a person is not now wearing a watch what is going to make them want to wear an iWatch?

Well, yeah. Obviously... (1)

thevirtualcat (1071504) | about 6 months ago | (#46858609)

Why invest milions of dollars into a platform that only a handful of people are going to use?

Omega Smartwatch: No apps because the few hundred people who have them aren't really enough of a market to bother developing for. Especially not when [whatever smartwatch platform ends up winning in the end, if any] has two or three orders of magnitude more users.

Far more likely scenario: Let the Pebbles and the Samsungs and the rest duke it out for marketshare, then partner with them. What do you bet Pebble would jump at the change to make the "Rolex Smartwatch based on the Pebble platform?"

Re:Well, yeah. Obviously... (1)

thevirtualcat (1071504) | about 6 months ago | (#46858645)

*"Change" was meant to be "chance."

Remember, kits. All way use you're spell check cur.

I agree (4, Insightful)

oic0 (1864384) | about 6 months ago | (#46858653)

How much smart device redundancy do you need on your person at any given time? I think my phone is enough, especially given Its huge screen and larger battery. No reason to compromise my watch with a battery life hundreds of times shorter just to have it do crap my phone already does.

It's just like it is with vinyls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858659)

People are looking for something solid and analog. Fragile unreliable smartwatches aren't what most people who are buying watches are looking for.

Nothing spells dbag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858663)

Like an expensive watch.

Disruptive technology is always less at first (1)

CyberLeader (106732) | about 6 months ago | (#46858689)

The long-term question isn't whether people want a watch or something more generalized, it's more a question of whether your wrist is a viable place to wear something useful. Traditional watches and the plethora of UP/Fuel/FitBit bands seem to say "sure."

Any disruptive technology starts out less effective than the thing it's disrupting. Early cell phones were big, clunky, and had short battery life; early smart phones had clunky keyboards and low bandwidth; early SSD drives were (are) more expensive and smaller than HDDs, etc. Early smart watches have and will continue to suck at being watches, but that's not the point. When battery life is no longer an issue, when clunky tiny interfaces stop trying to replace bigger interfaces and focus on things that work well at that size, *then* the disruption will begin in earnest.

Various posters are correct that a Rolex is a fashion statement and that its time-telling ability is incidental. However, there is such a thing as fashionable technology, so for the luxury watchmakers to think that they're completely immune to disruption looks short-sighted to me.

Maybe they should look at history. (1)

jcochran (309950) | about 6 months ago | (#46858697)

The quartz watch was invented by the Swiss watch manufactures. But they decided that people wouldn't like them and kept with the mechanical models. The Japanese took the quartz idea and ran with it, and in a few years, the Swiss watch makers to relegated to a niche market. Somehow, I suspect we're going to be seeing a repeat of history.

Casio (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46858707)

F-91W [wikipedia.org] . It does everything I need a watch to do.

Re:Casio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858841)

Be careful. You might end up in Gitmo with that watch

Swiss startup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858715)

Well.. if the big folks aren't interest, and it can be understood as it doesn't necessarily meet their product's image, there's at least one startup that's working on a nicely designed smart watch from their Geneva office. http://www.hyetis.com

They probably couldn't make them anyway. (3, Informative)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 6 months ago | (#46858727)

It's far easier for a computer company to create computers that strap to your wrist than it is for a watch company to create watches with computer functionality. Besides there's no real risk of being "locked out" of the market. Plenty of cross-licensing/design/development opportunities will be available if smartwatches ever become a thing.

.

pr hired goon troll panic ensues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858777)

leave no truth left uncovered

Nice watches (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#46858795)

I really think 'it depends.' I'm Gen-X and have an Omega Seamaster on my wrist. I've worn it nearly every day for nearly a decade (don't wear it when I'm travelling to some destinations - Then it's my Timex.) I like wearing a nice analog watch, but then I iron my shirts and don't wear runners outside of the gym either. I think there will always be a market for people like me, the question is whether that market will die off as my generation dies off...

maybe they understand their clientele better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858821)

Why do you buy a high-end watch. You can get something that tells time for $5. So again, why do you buy a high-end watch?

Its a statement. A style item. The statement you make with a smartwatch is very different from the one you make with a high end watch.

Watch makers don't compete with smart watches. They compete with jewelry.

Bad assumption... (1)

x0 (32926) | about 6 months ago | (#46858869)

For those who like Swiss watches - or even high end Japanese watches (Seiko Spring drives..), a smart watch is not necessarily an 'upgrade'. I choose to wear a mechanical watch because I like mechanical watches.

Sure, I have a G-Shock for when I'm going somewhere a Swiss timepiece isn't a good idea, but for the most part, I wear a Swiss automatic - usually a stainless Rolex GMT Master II. (pepsi bezel, baybee!) Why? Because I like the way it looks, and it's about as close to jewelry as I'll ever get.

A smart watch with an LCD/OLED display just isn't going to rival the look of a decent mechanical watch...

If I want a smart device, that is why I have a Galaxy S4.

Wait, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46858871)

There's still people out there with ordinary watches?
Give it time and Smart Watches will last much longer than a few hours. Charging it once a day when you go to sleep, through wireless charging, is perfectly fine, take it off, put it on your bedside desk that has a wireless charger on it, put your phone, watches and all that on it, sleep.

Short sighted (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | about 6 months ago | (#46858961)

Company representatives seemed sure that people in practice would be uninterested in constantly recharging their watches and downloading software updates just to tell time.

That's short sighted. Smartwatches serve as much to tell time as smartphones serve to make calls, i.e. it's one of the basic functions, but it does so much more that the original use is not even the main one any more.
Nobody will charge their watch every night just to tell the time, but they may do it if they think it's worth the hassle for the extra functionality.

Of course, there's still the argument to be made whether those extra functions are something people will actually want, but it just seems these companies aren't even asking themselves the right questions, and may be setting themselves up to a very big surprise.

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