For all us techies this week revolved around one thing, and one thing only: CES 2016. The consumer Electronic Show is held every year in Las Vegas and this year isn’t any different. In the heart of the biggest showbiz city in the world, all meaningful tech companies (except for Apple) have come together to show off their new innovations for 2016. This year’s fair was packed with awesome innovations and I would love to show you everything but this isn’t doable. I’ve included some links (click here, here and here) where you can find extra information and explore what has been going on at CES 2016.
So now you may wonder what this week’s blog is about. I want to talk about a trend that has been becoming more apparent, especially on this year’s CES. It has me caught up in a love-hate relationship with this parti0cular kind of product. I’m talking about wearables. A particular kind of wearable has been well represented at this year’s CES, and so I want to give you my opinion about the good, the bad and the ugly. A more opinionated piece then you are used to from me but nonetheless a good read. Let’s start.
What are wearables?
I don’t want to insult you but for the sake of discussion let’s round up what wearables actually are. We are talking about every product that you can wear on your body. This includes but is not limited to smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart-glasses (e.g. Google Glass), virtual reality headsets, and so forth. And with most products in this list I haven’t got a problem, but one product I just cannot get used to. Why people wear smart-watches is up until this day a mystery to me. At CES we have seen numerous passing by from companies like; Samsung, Huawei, Fitbit and even ‘traditional’ watchmakers like Fossil (see picture below). What these products basically do is tell the time like a normal watch but with some added features. These features include letting you see you text messages, incoming calls, maybe a fitness tracker or pedometer and if you have a really fancy watch you can call or write a text message back.
So, what is the problem?
All these functionalities aren’t anything new and at its core all can be helpful to some people. But what I don’t understand is that with all of these smart-watches you have to bring your mobile phone to get any use out of half of these functionalities. Not a single smartwatch up until this day is an independent product, it is an expensive add-on for your smartphone. So instead of getting your mobile phone out of your pocket and actually turn on the screen (not required when using LG V10) and see what notifications you’ve got. You are turning your wrist so you can see what notifications you’ve got… If you want to write anything more extensive then the preloaded texts that are on the smart watch you can more easily take your phone out of your pocket and type on there.
Well, then don’t use one..
This is what many people said to me and they are right, but this is not the point. I love technology and I love innovation, therefor in essence I should love smart-watches. Some of them are brilliantly designed and intuitive (Samsung Gear S2), some of them even look rather stylish. But with prices ranging from the 200 up to and well over 500 euro’s, it is quite an investment. Next to that your smartphone alone has basically the same functionalities as the smart-watch. The point I’m trying to make is that at this point in time the smart-watch is a non-product, meaning that without full independent functionality you can’t really call it a useful device.
Is it all bad?
No definitely not, as I’ve said before the smart-watch in essence is a great concept. When eventually fully matured it should be capable of fully replacing your smartphone. I for one am waiting for that day to come, not that I hate smartphones but it would be nice to have an alternative. This brings me back to CES, where we for the first time saw light at the end of the ‘smart-watch tunnel’. New balance is working on a fully independent smart-watch, it is going to be a product aimed at fitness and it is a step in the right direction.
Was that it?
Yes here you have it, my two cents worth on the smart-watch hype. I for one am going to wait on the fully independent smart-watches before I jump on the bandwagon. I’m not judging whoever uses one and thinks they are useful, they are the people who are driving this technology forward. I would love to hear your opinion about this subject, so leave your thoughts in the comment section down below. Also if you liked this blog don’t forget to share it on social media with your friends and family. As always stay connected and I will see you next week!