How to pick the perfect wearable

There are countless wearable smartwatches and health / fitness bands, but do any of these actually any good at being more than just a fun novelty and convincing us of a convenience that we don’t really need.

Kairos - A stylish example

Kairos – A stylish example

It’s got to feel good on the wrist

Ubiquity isn’t just about how something operates or how it looks, it’s also about social acceptability, if it seems massively out of place and looks like a hulking mass, you won’t want to wear it, you want to just forget that its there and for it blend in with the rest of your day and not have to defend it against everyone that sees it.

Batteries, batteries, and some more…

This might be a really obvious, but in some strange paradox, the smaller a device is, the longest we “expect” it’s battery to last. I want a laptop that lasts all day, a phone that lasts two days and my smartwatch is no different, I want it to last a week! There are a tonne of smartwatches around and most tout only a single day of battery… It’ll end up living in the bottom of the draw waiting on the day you can be bothered to keep charging it. Fortunately the products are maturing with battery embedded straps and solar panels beneath the screen.

It must tell the time

Now this might simple enough, but a smartwatch has to pack an incredible amount of tech just to simply do this, needing OLED always on screens using a black background to keep power usage to a minimum, motion sensors to detect when the watch has been raised. Unfortunately I have had to suffer the embarrassment of asking my friend I was calling to tell me what the time was when we were making plans, because I didn’t have a free hand to switch my watch screen on to check the time.

It must have NFC

Arguably the biggest use case of NFC isn’t your phone, which is always buried away somewhere, it’s where it needs to be, on your wrist… paying for your coffee should be as easy as reaching it out to grab it…

Must be water resistant

Even if you might not want to be listening to music in the shower off of your wrist (or morning travel updates), you most definitely will not want to be taking it off every time you are in the kitchen/ bathroom, remember this is where ubiquity comes to play, the wearable should fit into your lifestyle not the other way round, you really want to be able to forget it’s there.

Does it need to tell me everything?

So what are the two killer features of a wearable? It tells the time AND it constantly has to tell me about my next junk email… A lot of wearables proclaim how great they are, recieve an SMS and it lights up your wrist… But when was the last time anyone you actually sent an SMS? With the world hooked on Whatsapp or Viber, the most advertised feature is completely pointless, leaving the only real feature left, it’s time telling ability, might as well just go back to wearing a regular watch then…

Size really is everything

A smartwatch should be no more than 11mm thick, mine is 14mm and I got laughed at, a lot, my only save was that it got called a gigantic watch, instead of monstrous unrecognisable slab of tech…

When will the market really kick off?

If you really think about it, you don’t need easy access to pointless notifications, or anything fancy to tell the time, however the single critical feature about a watch is that it’s always on you, 24 hours a day.. If the watch can justify what its doing in this time, then suddenly the market will skyrocket, imagine devices that can constantly monitor your blood sugar, heart rate and calorie use. The first smartwatch that can obtain medical grade certification at tracking and monitoring real health problems will usher in a new age of smart tech.

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