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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the a-third-wrist-to-carry-in-my-pocket dept.

Technology 427

An anonymous reader writes: I don't wear a watch. I never have. So, to me, the push for smart watches has always been a non-starter. But I was discussing with friends some of the features of Android Wear that Google demonstrated at the I/O conference today, and it got me wondering: what set of features would be required for a smartwatch to become viable? Obviously, this is different for everybody — millions of people wear regular watches even though they could easily pull out their phone and check the time there. Any smartwatch can also tell time, but it has advantages (apps that do other things), and disadvantages (needs charging). Clearly, there are some functions for which it's useful to have an object strapped to your wrist, even if that function could be served by the device in your pocket. Telling time is one, and lots of people use sundry fitness doo-dads to measure exercise. It makes sense to me that checking the weather forecast would fall into this category, and perhaps checking notifications. (Conversely, other functions do not translate at all, like taking photos or playing games.) Thus, two questions: if you already wear a watch, what would it take for a smartwatch to replace it? If you don't wear a watch, what features would motivate you to get one?

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Cool solution looking for a problem (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319367)

I suspect much like current watches, this will mostly fill a cosmetic need vice a practical one. Sure, having a wristwatch is handy in some situations, but I wear my skeleton because I’m a geek and I think seeing all those gears doing their thing is badass. Despite being made obsolete by digital technology, a well made mechanical wristwatch is still a marvel of technology.

It’s a toy and a fashion statement. Some people will have fun with it, a lot of people will think it’s stupid, a handful of people will actually find it fills a legitimate need they had but lets not try to invent reasons we need one.

This whole thing reminds me of the home automation craze (which google appears to be trying to bring back). It sounds really neat and has some serious gee-wiz appeal to it. I’ll admit back in the day I bought into it (and went with x10... a system I wouldn’t wish on an enemy) but you very quickly realize that after lights, temperature, and maybe the coffeepot, there are very few practical applications. Sure some people will go on about how their curtains automatically close when they flush the toilet, but it was mostly a toy for geeks.

Personally I won’t likely buy one, but I’m not going to berate someone who does.

Thanks for reading and have a happy Wednesday :)

all I'd need there is a sports iPod (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 6 months ago | (#47319491)

wireless, several hours battery time, over 4 gig. everything else is on my smartphone, the new fogey's pocket watch.

Re:Cool solution looking for a problem (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#47319561)

While I'm not entirely sure I'm the market for these, they can fit a useful niche -- not keeping your phone on the table in front of you all the time, opening the screen for notifications.

I certainly advocate just getting fewer notifications [IDNGAF that you posted a new picture of your lunch to twittergram], but there are notifications that I want, and that I'd like to see without "risking" my phone out constantly. Also, with things like Google Now getting more and more useful (if you buy into the Google ecosystem), if my watch can support it, it'd be worth considering.

I just want to keep my phone in my pocket or bag.

Re:Cool solution looking for a problem (5, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#47319645)

This is dead on. I have a rather nice and somewhat expensive watch. Yes, it is nice to be able to check the time riding my motorcycle, or to know how long I have been scuba diving. And yes the new watches can do that. But I have had my watch for 14 years, and it is still a nice and stylish piece of jewelry. I also have a very nice watch I inherited that is significantly older. Performs a time keeping function, but is mostly jewelry. But I would have a hard time investing a few grand in a watch that would be obsolete in 2 years, and would need a new battery (or charging) every night. So for me, the answer is "It ain't happening."

Only if... (4, Interesting)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 6 months ago | (#47319383)

I could make phone calls on it without carrying a separate phone. Beyond that and telling time, I can't think of any other use for a screen I'd want to wear on my wrist.

Re:Only if... (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 6 months ago | (#47319501)

I thought the same thing, it should be its own phone. But then it isn't an accessory but a standalone smart phone that you wear on your wrist. But in addition to calls and time, navigation and sports apps would be a great addition. GPS readouts, music player interface, etc.

Taking my phone with me on a bike ride is annoying as I want to travel as light as possible. I only take a bit of cash, drivers license (for id) and phone. It would be nice If I can glance at my watch and see that I have ridden for x miles, current speed, weather and trip time. I don't need maps or graphics. Same would go for distance sports/activities in addition to a pedometer (accelerometers). I can leave my phone in the little pouch on my bike frame and keep it off the handlebars or pocket. It should also be waterproof so I don't care if I get caught in a downpour.

Re:Only if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319753)

A Pebble will do everything that have listed. but you do still need the phone cause the phone is doing all the heavy lifting. I also last ~5days on a charge, and is waterproof enough that i swim with it.

Re:Only if... (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#47319649)

And you think your battery life is bad now...

Re:Only if... (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#47319733)

I could make phone calls on it without carrying a separate phone. Beyond that and telling time, I can't think of any other use for a screen I'd want to wear on my wrist.

I basically agree. Here is how I see it: the thing on your wrist should do things that make sense for something on your wrist to do.

Making telephone calls is one. Without any other device necessary. Fitness and sleep tracking are also obvious functions.

But for just about everything else, you can have a tablet. Tether it to your phone (watch) via Bluetooth, or whatever.

But the point is, I think current "smartwatch" efforts have it backward. Rather then trying to put everything on your watch, powered by your telephone, put the phone and health apps ONLY on your watch, then tether your tablet to that.

Best of both worlds, rather than the worst.

Re:Only if... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#47319885)

"Making telephone calls is one. "
based on what?

Just.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319385)

MOTO 360

Acceptable battery life (5, Insightful)

carlhaagen (1021273) | about 6 months ago | (#47319391)

The Android-based things we've seen so far need to be recharged at the very least once a day. I can't even stand the thought of owning a smartphone model that requires recharging every day.

Re:Acceptable battery life (4, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 6 months ago | (#47319731)

The Android-based things we've seen so far need to be recharged at the very least once a day. I can't even stand the thought of owning a smartphone model that requires recharging every day.

Back when I wore a watch, I had a Casio that was supposed to be "solar-assisted". It was so well assisted that I think I only used 1 set of batteries in 10 years. So definitely I would resent having to rush back to the power well daily or even more often.

Also, I don't want to wear a 5-pound brick with a 21-inch bezel on my scrawny little wrist. When I want a big screen, I'll find a device that has one.

Fitness pretty much covers it (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 6 months ago | (#47319399)

The only thing I can think of are the fitness metrics. It would be exciting if a smartwatch could measure not only heart rate, but vo2 stats as well as blood pressure.

That'd be almost exciting enough to plop down 100 bucks on it.

Re:Fitness pretty much covers it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319527)

The only thing I can think of are the fitness metrics. It would be exciting if a smartwatch could measure not only heart rate, but vo2 stats as well as blood pressure.

That'd be almost exciting enough to plop down 100 bucks on it.

Yeah and that would be just about then only thing that I could think of that would induce me to buy one and if they carge more than 100 bucks for it it better cook coffee and secrete honey as well.

Watch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319401)

I was a kindergarten teacher for a while.... and you are better off with checking a watch than checking a phone with some jobs.

Built-in A/C and UV light (2)

istartedi (132515) | about 6 months ago | (#47319405)

Built-in A/C and UV light to compensate for the sweatiness and tan-marks that come from wearing a watch. This is the no. 1 reason why I would never consider wearing a watch again. Obviously I'm joking with the subject line. It ain't happenin', "smart" or otherwise. Now that time and a bunch of other things are in my pocket, they ain't goin' back on my wrist.

Oh, and bands that snag the hair on your arms. Ouch. Never again.

Cool, opt-in tracking bracelet (3, Insightful)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#47319407)

I think it's rather novel that Google is figuring out how to *sell* tracking bracelets.

Previously the government, and of all its marketing prowess -- had to actually convict people of a crime in order to drive sales, let alone get people to wear them after the 'newness' factor wore off.

Was the key change to make them in a wristwatch format vs ankle bracelet? I suppose that's why they get the big bucks eh?

So kudos to Google, real men of genius.

Re:Cool, opt-in tracking bracelet (4, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 6 months ago | (#47319471)

Yes yes very good. How's being clever going for you?

Since that this "tracking bracelet" requires a GPS from the phone you're carrying and the network connection from the phone your're carrying... it's of course nothing to do with a dumb screen on your wrist.

Re:Cool, opt-in tracking bracelet (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 6 months ago | (#47319789)

Yes yes very good. How's being clever going for you?

Since that this "tracking bracelet" requires a GPS from the phone you're carrying and the network connection from the phone your're carrying... it's of course nothing to do with a dumb screen on your wrist.

Location services via the telephone network (trilateration) is only guaranteed to within about a kilometer and then only if enough towers are available. When a phone or other device says "GPS", it's literally getting read-only data from the GPS satellite system. Location services is an abstraction where it's possible to select at the programming level what location service provider you select. Trilateration takes less power but is less accurate. GPS takes more power (= battery life) but has a much, much better minimum accuracy.

Of course, regardless of what location service provider you're taking advantage of, if your cell is set to send/receive calls, you can be located via the cell phone towers. Even if you're not using location-aware apps.

Re:Cool, opt-in tracking bracelet (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 6 months ago | (#47319475)

may be a smart collar is the way to go. You know it makes a statement or some such

Re:Cool, opt-in tracking bracelet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319675)

I think it's rather novel that Google is figuring out how to *sell* tracking bracelets.

Previously the government, and of all its marketing prowess -- had to actually convict people of a crime in order to drive sales, let alone get people to wear them after the 'newness' factor wore off.

Was the key change to make them in a wristwatch format vs ankle bracelet? I suppose that's why they get the big bucks eh?

So kudos to Google, real men of genius.

There is nothign new about selling people tracking devices. Your phone can be used as a tracking device and since the NSA seems to have free access to the infrastructure of most telecoms in the western world they can track you pretty easily by monitoring which cell towers your phone connects to and approximating your position within the cell. Of course that's just one tracking option of many and a rather labor intensive one. It's probably easier to monitor all the crappy apps you installed on your phone and that send location data to Google & Co. or similar data leeches. If they were really determined to keep track of you the boys at the NSA might deem it world while to hack your phone and installing malware on it that sends them your GPS coordinates but as you can see they don't really need to.

No plans to wear a watch (2)

cyberspittle (519754) | about 6 months ago | (#47319415)

I stopped wearing a watch when my last one broke over 10 years ago. I am surrounded by time - on my computer, the TV guide, cell phone, clock on microwave, clock on stove, clock on standard phone, time is everywhere. Why would I want to strap it on my wrist?

Re:No plans to wear a watch (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 months ago | (#47319521)

It's useful in a very small handful of circumstances. The main one that comes to mind is checking the time in a meeting or other situation where it would be inappropriate to haul out a phone (although the social expectation of not playing with your phone in these situations is eroding fast).

Mainly though, it's a piece of jewelry. I know some people are repulsed by the very idea of wearing anything more than the most utilitarian of cloths, but I like wearing one. Mine has a clear faceplate showing off the intricate mechanical workings, which is something I find cool and suits my personality. Other people get something out of the workmanship that goes into those $2000 watches.

Not everything needs a practical purpose. Some stuff is just cool.

Something useful? (4, Insightful)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about 6 months ago | (#47319419)

I would need it to do something useful that would either not be available on my smartphone, or completely replaces my smartphone.

I doubt that I will be able to (or WANT to) talk on the phone using a smartwatch...while Dick Tracy *looks* neat in comics, It's essentially putting everyone on speaker phone which I think is pretty retarded. With that as my initial stance, it would have to do something other than what my phone does.

I'm currently in the market for a blood pressure monitor, and I've used the gimmicky pedometers/calorie trackers before. These are things that my phone doesn't do (or doesn't do well), so I guess more or less sets the bar for me.

I don't care that they can do "neat" stuff. I need it to do *useful* stuff. Simplify my life, don't complicate it even more.

I already have one (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319431)

I already a sweet Casio that's wp to 100M, has an altimeter, thermometer, and various time-keeping functions/features. And it was $50 bucks.

Until, you can give me a Leila-style forearm-puter with a flexible 6-7 inch touch screen...I'm happy with my Casio.

Second category (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319451)

Since this is addressed to non-watch wearers too (last sentence).... ok, I'll answer.
If you want me to wear a watch, it needs to have:
1) extreme reliability - it will last at LEAST 5 years, which I have never seen in any watch, cheap or expensive.
2) Battery will last 3+ years, or it will require no battery.
3) It doesn't have a shitty leather strap or shiny shit that will make it get stolen or some shitty material
4) It costs less than $40.

I have never seen a DUMB watch which satisfies these, and I suspect that any smart watch would fail miserably at ALL of them. All I want is something which won't fall apart will tell me the fucking time when I'm hiking in the woods for a week and my cell phone dies. ALL watches have failed me so far.

Re:Second category (3, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#47319557)

Since this is addressed to non-watch wearers too (last sentence).... ok, I'll answer.
If you want me to wear a watch, it needs to have:
1) extreme reliability - it will last at LEAST 5 years, which I have never seen in any watch, cheap or expensive.
2) Battery will last 3+ years, or it will require no battery.
3) It doesn't have a shitty leather strap or shiny shit that will make it get stolen or some shitty material
4) It costs less than $40.

I have never seen a DUMB watch which satisfies these, and I suspect that any smart watch would fail miserably at ALL of them. All I want is something which won't fall apart will tell me the fucking time when I'm hiking in the woods for a week and my cell phone dies. ALL watches have failed me so far.

A decent watch will last decades and have a battery that lasts several years.
There are countless styles and options for the face and band, even in the $40 and under range.
You're a fucking liar.

Re:Second category (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 6 months ago | (#47319639)

On cheap watches, the cost of replacing the battery is equal to the value of the cheap watch. So much so, that it is getting really hard to find batteries for watches in stock (at least the last time I looked). I don't buy watches as they are simply for tools trying to impress people with "money".

"Look at my Rolex, such a fine time piece" , Uh no thanks, my less expensive cell phone keeps perfect time, changes time zones automatically for me and does more that your stupid Rolex, which is just a fancy clock bracelet.

Re:Second category (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319709)

A decent watch will last decades and have a battery that lasts several years.

No, they won't, although the batteries might last. Some people just seem to emit EM or some shit which kills watches, regardless of price or quality. It is absolutely true, although I can't explain the mechanism.

You're a fucking liar.

Yes, because you personally know everything about an anonymous internet coward, you fucking dick.

Re:Second category (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319747)

Some people just seem to emit EM or some shit which kills watches, regardless of price or quality. It is absolutely true, although I can't explain the mechanism.

Pro tips: don't put your watch in the clothes washer, don't drop the watch on the floor then walk on it. When you're dead drunk and about to fall asleep in your favourite gutter, try to fall on the arm where you don't wear your watch.

Re:Second category (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319575)

I've got my watch 13 years ago. It still works.

Re:Second category (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319717)

I'm pretty sure I've only gone through 2 watches since I started wearing them in 1999. Both plain. Both digital. Both with a metal locking band. Both cheap. Both about $40. The current one is a Casio and I think the old one was too. Never changed the battery in either of them. First one died at some point and I figured I'd just get a new one because it was all scuffed up from the occasional grind against something over the years. Neither fell apart. Neither got stolen. Even if I'm forgetting a third one, that's still 5 years each. Sounds like you're just more rough on your stuff.

Can't really say anything about the strap, since you basically eliminated every typical possibility... rip the timepiece out of one and put on your own strap. Or maybe get a pocket watch or something. Or if you hike all the time, get one that hooks onto a backpack.

History Lesson (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319461)

Decades ago there was some discussions amongst the techies about the "Dynabook" --- sort of the predecessor of the tablets that we have today --- and someone actually went and produce a thick and heavy "Dynabook"

It got a lot of press, but that venture ended up as a failure

Similar thing happens when Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple, and the "jobs-less" Apple came up with the "Apple Newton", again, a failure

Those two examples tell us one thing - just because you can produce some gadgets does not mean that the market would want it

Same with the so-called "smartwatch" --- this idea actually came from way back, from a comic strip "Dick Tracy", something about that fella's watch that has raised a lot of "fancy thoughts" throughout the years ( see http://techland.time.com/2013/02/11/dick-tracys-watch-the-most-indestructible-meme-in-tech-journalism/ )

No matter how strong that meme turned out to be, the society we live in today is no longer the 1930's, we have moved on

In other words, those "smartwatch" won't be big sellers

Portable cloud access to my desktop (4, Interesting)

randomErr (172078) | about 6 months ago | (#47319463)

I want to be able to walk to cafe, hold my watch over sensor, and have my home, school, or work station popup. When I walk away my desktop goes away.

A smart phone first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319467)

I'm not paying 600 dollars for a phone, and fuck contracts.

A smart phone first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319515)

Where the fuck are you where it costs $600 to get a basic smart phone?

Re:A smart phone first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319569)

I'm not paying 600 dollars for a phone, and fuck contracts.

You would not pay for a fuck contract? Well I suppose it depends on who's fucking who.

Cam built in Dick Tracy Style (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319473)

Dick Tracy style built in cam and skype/video call capable. Can bluetooth to my phone for all I care. I want quick access to voice commands and video calls via the watch.

It would need bing integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319477)

Because i need more metro in my life

Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 6 months ago | (#47319487)

If you are the kind of person who pulls their phone out just to check the time, then you aren't the type of person that would benefit from a smart-watch in the first place

I wear a basic timex digital watch, not because it's some sort of fashion statement, but because it's easier to look at my wrist (especially while driving) than it is to pull my phone out, without dropping it or getting it dirty.

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (1)

Andreas Mayer (1486091) | about 6 months ago | (#47319543)

I wear a basic timex digital watch, not because it's some sort of fashion statement, but because it's easier to look at my wrist (especially while driving) than it is to pull my phone out, without dropping it or getting it dirty.

Your car dashboard does not have a clock built in?

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319661)

Maybe new cars have fancy automatically-set clocks, but mine still shows the number of hours (mod 12) and minutes since the last time my car's battery died...

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319723)

I bet you ask your kids to program your VCR for you.

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 6 months ago | (#47319551)

What are you driving that doesn't have a clock already built into the dash somewhere?

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#47319673)

What are you driving that doesn't have a clock already built into the dash somewhere?

Almost any motorcycle, for one...

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319779)

Having not owned almost every motorcycle, I can't speak for certain. But I can say that my 06 GSX-R does. I never use it however as it can show either the time OR the odometer OR the trip odometer. And I find the trip odometer the most useful since the gas gauge is garbage. A light comes on at a quarter tank.

Re:Smart-watches are for watch-wearers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319577)

I use the Toyota approved and provided clock in my Toyota made car for checking the time while inside the car. Try it, you'll like it.

Transporter beam, health scanner, scary laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319489)

Just have it do everything, that's all I want

No brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319497)

Battery life that lasts longer than 5 seconds.

Beam me up Scotty,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319509)

,,,otherwise WTF4?

I'll buy one when (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 months ago | (#47319517)

it is made by Patek.

User Interface (1)

vanyel (28049) | about 6 months ago | (#47319519)

Phones are barely big enough to be usable for apps as it is - while I would like to move to a smartwatch to avoid hauling a phone or tablet around, it needs a way to have a large display on demand and simple user interface that isn't audible (for privacy and security reasons). Until we get a neural or perhaps google glass style interface, I don't think it's possible to solve that problem. And all that with a 24hr battery life.

A bunch of factors (1)

Bill Yee (3713907) | about 6 months ago | (#47319531)

A considerable increase in a combination of the following: Price decrease, Useful features, Battery Life, Aesthetics

lots of money..in the millions (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 6 months ago | (#47319539)

it would take billions more to make me wear it daily.

Re:lots of money..in the millions (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#47319581)

You stole my response.... Smart watch???? You mean that thing that requires another device to actually DO something?

I'll keep my old analog watch because it takes no batteries, keeps reasonable time, and is going to work when all else fails...

It would have to be delivered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319545)

... by Scarlett Johansson.

stopwatch, metronome and caller id and vibrate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319547)

The only place I can see it being useful is fitness, and I don't do much of that these days. It would be convenient to see things like pace, laptimes, pulse, etc, without having to take out the phone and unlock the screen. I'm horrible at keeping a pace, so maybe some help with that.

The only non-fitness use case I can think of is caller ID - if I'm in a meeting, I want to be notified of a call discreetly and silently, and be abel to check my caller ID to see if I care. I always have my phone in vibrate mode, but don't always notice the ring in a loose pocket - something in constant skin contact ought to do better. However, I don't think I would spend $100 on this.

I stopped wearing a watch some years ago. (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#47319563)

I am working all day with computers, and there I have the time somewhere in a widget or just a command away. The car has a watch. There are watches all over town. Thus, I don't need a wristwatch, and in the few situations where I need to know the time and there is no watch around right now, I still can pull out the mobile and check.

Thus for me: Currently nothing could convince me to buy a smart watch.

I have enough devices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319573)

I don't need another one with half the features of a smartphone.

Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319579)

Calling Dick Tracy, come in Dick Tracy.

Handcuffed (1)

AndyCanfield (700565) | about 6 months ago | (#47319591)

I live in Thailand. In 1992 I was going to visit the USA. so I bought a watch. A month later I was in the US. A month after that I lost the watch. A watch feels too much like a handcuff. Be there then, race the clock, step in time, step in time, step in time. No thank you. My heart made the choice. I haven't owned a watch since then. If I want to know what time it is I reach in my pocket and pull out my new Sony Smartphone. It tells me the time, and connects me with other people and the world's schedules. But only when I chose. It's not a handcuff.

Re:Handcuffed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319681)

Just because your phone is around your wrist, doesn't make you any less shackled to it.

How does it go... (0)

azadrozny (576352) | about 6 months ago | (#47319595)

Something dealing with snowballs, hell, and a whole lot of pigs.

bigger display (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 6 months ago | (#47319605)

A screen the size of my Galaxy note 3.

Nothing. (2)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about 6 months ago | (#47319607)

There is nothing that would motivate me to get a smartwatch. Everything they can possibly do is done better by a smartphone, with the sole exception of the convenience of being able to tell the time with a glance at your wrist, and that is offset by the inconvenience of having an uncomfortable chunk of metal strapped to your wrist. One might possibly be able to make a case for Google Glass or something like it, but not a smartwatch.

settle on a fucking standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319617)

Besides that I had a timex data link watch back in the day. So perhaps a time machine as well would be in order. Make it work stand alone.

It's Very Simple -- Loyalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319629)

If I'm going to pay money to own this smart watch, I want it, its OS, and its apps to be loyal to me, not to its manufacturer. I don't want the device's manufacturer, the phone company, the ISP, the NSA, or anyone else keeping records of what I do and where I go. I want to be able to trust my property.

I think that pretty much means I won't be buying smart watch, I won't be upgrading from my feature phone, and I'll continue working to rid myself of cellular technology altogether.

Google would have to offer a new service (4, Insightful)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 6 months ago | (#47319631)

called "Google Private", where they take a subscription fee from you for services and in return, they send noise data to their marketing customers about you while providing you with a list of all entities that make user-specific queries about you.

Glucose Monitoring (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319637)

I would buy a smartwatch and wear it--at least at certain times a day--if it provided some sort of blood sugar monitoring. The next release of the iPhone is rumored to have this. If the iPhone 8 has a consistent and/or reliable glucose monitor, I will buy one the first day and start wearing a wrist watch again. (I quit wearing a wrist watch in ~1990 because they ate my shirt cuffs. I wore expensive, for the time, dress shirts to work everyday and my dive watch chewed them up like candy.)

Two necessary requirements (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 6 months ago | (#47319655)

Firstly, like in an ordinary watch the battery life should be measured in years and it should require no other maintenance.
Second, people should be openly admiring of it - both as a technological marvel and as a timepiece.
If it could do anything else than keep good time, that would be nice but not necessary.

Personally, I consider the first of these needs to be the most achievable.

Re:Two necessary requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319755)

On a more serious note, unless you're camping or something I don't see any problem with a battery life of a few days (or perhaps even less), especially if it has wireless charging. I also like maintenance if it means updates to add features I want, or to correct a problem that wasn't noticed until after production (and both of those better be free at least until the warranty is up, if not longer).

Nice try Mr. Cook (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319679)

Sorry, but we're not going to give you the secret keys to our wallets just yet.
One hint though, make something that's actually useful without a phone. Integrating it with a phone is fine, but it should still have helpful functionality when not currently paired...

Pants with no pockets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319693)

Great reason to wear this around is not having a weird bulge in your skinny jeans :)

Re:Pants with no pockets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319719)

People who have weird bulges should NOT wear skinny jeans.

There are no such features (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 6 months ago | (#47319697)

Frankly, I stopped wearing a digital watch because I noticed when I forgot it class passed by much more quickly and enjoyably than when I was counting away the minutes until it was over. Also, it lead to the rude habbit to be checking my watch when conversing or keeping company with someone, as if I was just waiting to get away.

Having technology always at the ready is at least mildly antisocial, especially when it's visible to others. If I'm sitting down to do work then I want my full laptop. I will carry a smartphone for alarms, texting, important email, GPS, etc., but that stays in my pocket until it's needed, I don't fiddle with it and distract myself while I have any kind of company or other work to do. If there were useful features that only a smartwatch could perform, then I would carry the smartwatch in my pocket. I absolutely don't want some gaudy box on my wrist which can distract me from whatever I am presently doing. For the most part, each feature you add to it is another reason I don't want it.

A standalone smart watch for me. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 6 months ago | (#47319701)

I still wear an old school Casio DataBank (150 model) watch. I do not use mobile phones. I'd like a smartwatch to replace my old watch since it is difficult/hard to find another one. I do not want to buy a phone. I just want simple features like scheduler, times, address book, etc. Nothing fancy. I have disabilities so I can't hold mobile devices well. Watches are perfect. They cannot be big and heavy since I have thin arms and other issues with my old weird body. :( Anyways, it seems like the current and upcoming smartwatches won't meet my needs. :(

Re:A standalone smart watch for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319811)

Actually, I think this is exactly what I would want. A very basic watch that could quickly and effortlessly sync with with my smartphone. Basically like one of those old calculator watches but with the ability to sync the calendar, alarms, contacts, time, maybe even my YNAB budget.. Nothing that needs to be realtime, graphics intensive, or otherwise drain a lot of battery, just things that are hard to enter in on a ridiculously small keyboard.

So the most complicated I want keeps the idea of the LCD screen, maybe as smart as to have an eink screen, and sync abilities on command (not continuous battery draining mode)

But then the reality is, I don't think I'll ever use a watch again... Except maybe a dive watch, while I'm diving... But even that I'd prefer stayed simple, and synced with my smartphone when I get out of the water for more details.

Can't quite stand stuff on my wrist. (1)

Sowelu (713889) | about 6 months ago | (#47319711)

Don't know why, just bugs me to wear them, and I keep bashing them on things. Before I got a cell phone, I wore a carabiner watch on my belt and it was pretty cool...they were built with cheap springs though, had a tendency to stop staying clipped after a year or two, and after I lost one down an elevator shaft while disembarking I pretty much swore off timepieces (coincidentally that's around when I got a cell phone and stopped needing them).

I guess if I was working in a physical, mobile job...where taking a phone out was inconvenient (dirty hands, gloves, hands always full)...and being able to time things was really important...I'd wear a watch. I could control it with voice, that could be a killer app for some job I don't know what. ("Smartwatch, give me a thirty second countdown on my mark... Mark.") Yeah, the only use for a watch in my mind is checking the time without using your pockets, and always-on voice control is the only "smart" addition that makes sense. If you had the use of your hands to fumble with buttons or a touch screen, a phone would be easier to use.

tough one (2)

hurfy (735314) | about 6 months ago | (#47319715)

Probably not good I had to think so hard to come up with just one answer.

Universal remote control

I can't find a pro that would overcome the cons. The only thing I'll use a smartphone (when I get around to one) is a better camera, it could do remote Credit Card transactions for 10 days a year(meh), and it could monitor the office security system. I can't see anything about a smartwatch to compensate for the losses.

The poor call quality and battery life have so far kept me from even getting the smartphone yet. No way is a watch going to help either of those, so really, none.

teleportation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319721)

Buildin human teleporter would motivate me to get one.

Re:teleportation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319823)

This. If it was required to keep all my molecules together, I'd consider it.
Otherwise, no.

Not for watch-wearers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319727)

People who wear watches aren't necessarily the target customers. Nowadays watches are more jewelry than necessities, and so far I haven't seen a smart-watch concept that isn't ugly as stink. The people who are most likely to buy a smart watch are those who DON'T wear a watch regularly and get one for the novelty of for some specific feature (no idea what it would be though).

Re:Not for watch-wearers (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 6 months ago | (#47319855)

The new pebble steel is probably the best looking of the smart watches, but thats not saying a lot. It almost looks like a normal watch, instead of a half an iPhone on a wrist band.

Blowjobs or Atropine maybe? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 6 months ago | (#47319737)

Honestly, I may occasionally joke about wanting an actual PipBoy, but the truth is, I don't want to wear anything on my arm, even a small thing. Maybe an upper arm/bicept device, but, not wrist or forearm. Possibly even a small pendant device, especially if it could be belt attached or pocketed as needed....but it would have to be a pretty clever device to overcome my suspicion that its going to end up left behind in a drawer forever in 3 weeks.

Durability and independent operation (1)

erice (13380) | about 6 months ago | (#47319751)

I wear a shock resistant dive watch. Quite unlike my smart phone, I don't worry about dropping it, hitting it against solid objects, or getting it wet because it shrugs these things off like it was nothing. I don't worry about losing it because it comfortably resides on my wrist regardless of what I am wearing.

I want a smart watch that is like that.

However, much of that advantage is lost if I still have to carry around a cumbersome, unattached, and fragile smart phone. It is fine to augment the smart phone when the two devices are together but if the smart watch is non-functional on it's own than I don't want one.

If the technology is not up to these challenges (And, frankly, I don't think it is) then it is not up to creating practical smart watches. Come back in 10 years and there may be a smart watch worth wearing. The battery problem may be solved by that time too.

Home Automation (1)

Aeyan (979644) | about 6 months ago | (#47319757)

I might wear one if it provided a responsive interface for various home automation functions (lights, security, HTPC, etc). Honestly, it might be part of Apple's plan with HomeKit and the oft-rumored iWatch.

Re:Home Automation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319861)

So for you, the smart-watch of the future is an RFID band? Actually doesn't sound too bad... Just make sure I can turn the damn thing off so I'm not constantly broadcasting my location to every store I walk into.

Who gave Google marketing PR an account? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319765)

Seriously, why is /. letting Google do their market research here? Pathetic.

To answer the question NOTHING will get me to use Google products if it can at all be avoided. They've already broken the web.

Don't feed the Google beast!

Mandatory features: (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#47319767)

Mandatory features of any smartwatch that costs more than $100:

* Acceptable aesthetics.I'm setting the bar pretty low here, but it has to at least look rugged & utilitarian, if not actually attractive. If it looks like a Fisher Price toy or some cheap piece of plastic junk, it's not happening.

* Ability to use normal wrist straps, absent some compelling and good reason to the contrary.

* Glass that's either independent of the screen & can be replaced when cracked by me for $10 or so worth of parts and an hour of time, or hardened enough to survive getting repeatedly scraped against rough concrete walls. I destroyed dozens of watches growing up by accidentally getting too close to a wall/concrete pillar/whatever and scraping or smashing the glass.

* MINIMUM 36-hour battery life

* At least two tactile hard buttons that can be easily pinched independently of one another and used as a modifier key with the other. I hate HATE ***HATE*** touchscreens in general, and a watch would be the worst touchscreen environment of all. The only way to make it random-touch-resistant would be to add latency and sample delays that would make it feel laggy & slow.

* Rootable & reflashable as I see fit. Android would be nice, some Linux variant would be OK, and frankly I could live with an Atmel AVR as long as I can personally reflash it.

* Real, honest-to-god e-ink (not LCD-based "e-paper") display that takes a cue from the DSTN LCD displays of yore & has two or more independent controllers that can update different parts in parallel (doubling or quadrupling the time to redraw the display). Enough framebuffer ram to do full-blown double/triple-buffering with *really fast* DMA (to let you compose changes, then propagate them to the actual display in an instant instead of 200-400ms) would be even better. There's no technical reason why an e-ink display HAS to be glacially slow... they've just been slow up to now because they were designed to minimize component cost and conserve battery life. But since they'd only consume power while being actively updated, the power budget difference between e-ink with parallel controllers and e-ink with one slow controller would be fairly small (think: race to sleep instead of always running slowly).

* If it DOES have a touchscreen (in addition to the aforementioned pair of diagonally-opposed hardkeys from a few points back), that touchscreen needs to be capable of AT LEAST 120 samples/second (if not with stock firmware, at least the hardware itself when reflashed to a custom ROM). A tiny screen NEEDS a high sample rate to get any kind of acceptable resolution from a capacitive sensor.

What if... (1)

kosh271 (2036124) | about 6 months ago | (#47319777)

If the watch could:
-directly enhance my physical health - not just a health monitor
or
-fully replace my phone+wallet+keys - tethering to another device is not acceptable

*And:
should be capable of recharging in a matter of seconds, not minutes/hours
should be durable so the device does not fail after a bump into a table corner

As it stands today, *smart* watches are only a gimmick that will struggle to gain any traction. Smart watches will most likely never be able to compete vs smart phones. The physical dimensions required for the watch vs the phone will work to the phone's advantage every time.

No less than all of the following: (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 6 months ago | (#47319783)

A Phaser.
A Tricorder.
A real time universal translator that operates transparently while conversing with people of other languages.
The ability to respond to voice commands no matter how obscure.

also it would need to keep time

Ok i could do without the phaser and as long as it could always get time from gps or network connections i dont mind if it doesnt have an internal clock

replace my phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319803)

phone, sms, email, maps, simple browser searches. I'm surounded by quite powerfull computers for most of my waking life, so i don't use my smart phone much, and quite happily swap it for a watch that does the vital things. I understand this isn't for everyone, it wont suit the guys checking their phone every 5 minutes, downloading all the apps, those without a proper computer, and writing hundreds of messages to friends. and don't get me wrong i think smartphones are great, i just dont like carrying them around everywhere.

Its a cool idea.... (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 6 months ago | (#47319809)

It needs to be a complete phone with all the bells and whistles, just with a small screen.

Extra credit, it should plug into a bigger display for things like maps, chat, pictures, and email.

I'll buy one (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 6 months ago | (#47319829)

as soon as it generates its own power from my movements, like my 30 year old mechanical one does.

watch requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319831)

1. easy to read hands to tell time
2. solar power or self-winding
3. accurate
4. metal band with flip open clasp
5. easy to change current time zone

The SmartWatch is here to stay (1)

TechForensics (944258) | about 6 months ago | (#47319837)

I already have a smartwatch, but if I didn't these would be the reasons today I would get one:
(These are all real, existing apps.)

App that ..sends slow-scan video to watch from phone or takes and displays pictures ..sends nav screen to watch ..can display forecast, barometric pressure, wind direction and velocity ..gets full weather report ..lets you activate watch features based on a value on the internet e.g. **buy alert** goog is at $450
or "new post on your blog", etc. ..lets you know your phone needs charging ..keeps you on-time with buzzing alarms ..(maybe not yet) tells you if your flight is on time ..displays your track as you wander around hoping to wander back

Never! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47319841)

I dont wear or even own a watch, so why the hell would i need a smart one??

lock/unlock function (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 6 months ago | (#47319843)

The only advantage of a smartwatch over a smartphone is that it can't be that easily stolen/lost/broken. I would therefore like it to take over more critical functions that, however, require a minimum of interaction with the smartwatch. Have it automatically unlock/lock my house/car using proximity sensors, for example. Of course it should provide all sorts of time-telling functions, like time-zone conversion and it should have calendar reminders. It should be 100% waterproof so I can wash my hands without having to take it off. Did I mention that the battery should last for at least a year? Don't bother with anything inferior than that.

To make it worth it. (4, Interesting)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 6 months ago | (#47319847)

The key features to make a 'smartwach' worth my money, in my mind, starting from the hardware side:

1. E-ink display. Easy to read in daylight, can be illuminated from the side for low light use, extremely low power use.
2. Inductive charging. I need to be able to take my watch off and set it down on a stand, and pick it up in the morning knowing its charged, no fiddling with little connectors that get corroded by my personal humidity.
3. Decent water resistance. This is an extension of number 2, but vital. I need to be able to sweat, wash my hands, slosh a drink, and not be worried about ruining a multi hundred dollar piece of hardware strapped to my hand.

as for software features, I desire:

1. Show me the time without having to screw with it. - I don't want to be pressing buttons on my watch just to see the time during the day. At night, yes, a button for a light, but I need it to be a 'at a glance' function.
2. caller ID function, and ignore call function. This thing is linked to my phone, so most of its point is to be able, at a glance, to see who is calling me, and ignore the call if desired. Single dedicated button for this function would be best.
3. Volume control for headphones attached to phone. - say, I have my phone in a pocket/arm case, using headphones to listen to music or make calls. digging the phone out to change volume, or fiddling with tiny buttons on the side of my head at my headset sucks, It would be nice to be able to use a volume control on my wrist to adjust the volume of whatever i'm using. Remember, this 'watch' is supposed to be an extension of my phone. basic pause/play/skip function would be nice also.

Honestly, thats about it. The main thing that makes me dislike the current smart watch offerings is bulk, charging, and over-feature. There are very few things I will want to do on a screen small enough to fit on my wrist comfortably, and as such, I see the smart watch as more of a peripheral device, not a primary interaction vector for my devices.
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