While the smartwatches on the market today are actually nice and revolutionary, the sales of the watches are still slowly building up. It is expected that about 1.2 million smartwatches will ship this year, a paltry number compared to the estimated 1.5 billion smart phone users on the globe. What could be the reason for this? Chances are that the current smartwatches don’t have the critical components or features that may make them a runaway success.
Euromonitor’s head of gadgets, Loo Wee Teck, commented current smartwatches are just not that great a customer proposition yet.
“Smartwatches try to replicate the smartphone experience on a minuscule wrist-sized screen, which means inferior usability or elsewhere seek to complement and extend the functionality of smartphone onto a smaller screen”
So what will make an ideal smartwatch?
I have condensed it right down to five components that need to be addressed before we are able to see this class of wearable electronics remove. These five components are design, functionality and reliability, apps, power consumption and battery life and finally, durability. Why do I believe that these are essential? Well let’s look at them one at a time.
The design of the smartwatch could be put into three separate parts, namely the watch body, the watch face and finally the wrist strap.
The first thing that people look at would likely function as watch body. Is it too bulky, does it look cool and fashionable? The ideal body should be suitable for both casual and formal wear. For example, the Pebble using its nice clean sporty look would blend well sports attire but might look a little out of place when worn with a suit and tie. The newer contenders just like the AGENT or Vachen however, could possibly be worn with normal casual attire or formal wear.
The watch bodies ought to be at a reasonable size aswell. How big is the dive computers created by Suunto are a pretty decent size without being unwieldy. They may be worn like a normal wrist watch and most divers do this.
Most guys do not mind larger watches but some ladies do. Should there be two watch sizes? Perhaps www.mysmartwatch.se would be a good solution, in the end, we’ve had watch sizes for men and women all this while. However, add too much bulk to the watch and it becomes one chunky thing on the wrist that attracts nobody. The difference in watch size could mean that more goodies can be crammed into it. A larger batter will be the most welcomed as well as perhaps some sensors as well?
Needless to say the watch body should match the watch face it really is displaying. The watch face, like the body, will be able to match different dressing needs as well. This is easier because the watch face can be changed with the press of a button. So this is a thing that the watch makers or third party developers will need to take note of. While the watch body might have a general design that fits most dressing needs, the watch face should match a particular theme. A formal classy watch face for more formal occasions to large sporty display for sporting needs, there should be enough watch faces to appeal to different users and their needs.
Pebble made this possible by releasing an SDK for third party developers to create their own watch faces. This has result in an enormous library of watch faces for the Pebble. Vachen took another approach. They develop their own watch faces but promise over 100 watch faces available upon the launch of the Vachen watch.
Last but not least, the watch strap. Just like the two other areas mentioned, the watch strap ought to be able fit most dressing situations and you can find two possible ways to do that. The first way would be similar to the design fundamentals of the watch body such that the watch strap would look good whether it is worn with casual or even more formal wear. A good example of this design method would be the watch straps of the Agent watch. It features an accent-stitched watch strap that looks chic enough for normal wear however the stitching adds that extra little bit of class that means it is blend with formal wear aswell.
A second option would be for the strap to be easily replaceable. As the Pebble and Agent use standard 22mm watch straps which are easily changed with a small screw driver, this might still be a bit too troublesome for a few, especially if you change straps often or come in a rush. The Sony SmartWatch and Motorola MotoActv offer a fascinating alternative. The watch body includes a spring-loaded clip which is used to clip onto the watch strap, enabling really quick changes. The only real downside of this method is that the clip adds a substantial amount of thickness to the body.