The time of the wristwatch has almost assuredly passed us by. The ubiquity of cellphones has replaced the need to wear one, and those that do sport a watch more often than not use it as a fashion accessory. There is little need to tell time, and surely anything that a watch can possibly do, a smart phone can do better. Right?
The expiration date on wristwatches has been reset, as a handful of companies seek to once again reinvent the device to appeal to a younger generation that doesn’t need one, and certainly doesn’t view it in step with the iPhone, Blackberry, or Android.
What if, however, your smartphone was on wrist? What if Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, email, and SMS were all available literally within arm’s reach? That is the idea behind the “connected watch,” which is for all intents and purposes a smartphone located conveniently on the wrist. Fossil, a clothing and accessories company, has developed what they believe to be the first watch of such distinction, one that can connect to social media and perform the functions that people look to their phone to do.
A prototype currently with Bluetooth was on display last month in Shanghai. Dubbed the MetaWatch, the long term plan is to have the watch display all the alerts and messaging options of a phone, which begs the questions, is it necessary? While there are certainly situations where looking at one’s wrist is the more convenient and reasonable option than pulling a phone from a pocket, does that warrant financial investment? Moreover, if your wristwatch clamors alerting you of a text, is your phone vibrating simultaneously with the news of the same message? It could be the tragic irony that a company named Fossil would seek and fail to promote an antiquated device.
One consumer electronics company, Allerta, has a similar project underway. Their watch is Bluetooth-enabled, and will show alerts and texts by relying on proximal PC or Smartphone. The inPulse is available online for $149.00, and is showcased as a customizable and easily adaptive piece of technology to complement, but not replace, your other technological gadgets. It works best with Blackberry, and Android, or accordingly, a jailbroken iPhone.
Still, the device does not seem completely negative and superfluous, though at the moment it is close. There are a few Apps already available, and the ability to act a remote control seems to be it’s greatest potential. As of now it can work as a PowerPoint and iTunes controller, but it will need to do more than just that to find a popular market. When an Apps page features six programs, two of which simply tell time in different aesthetics, then maybe the watch has yet to hit its stride. Yet, being the key word in that sentence.
It is a tough, long road that will lead to success, as such companies will need to offer all that a phone does while surpassing it in terms of convenience, yet not remaining redundant. Isn’t it enough that everyone has a smartphone in their pocket or purse at all times? Does it really need to be attached to the wrist? The question of ‘is it necessary?’ is irrelevant though–the important question, and ultimately the only question is, would you buy it?
Check out the video here.