SciTechTalk: The wristwatch, version 2.0, as desirable tech

By JIM ALGAR, United Press International  |  July 14, 2013 at 6:31 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

It seems like no one less than 30 years of age wears a wristwatch any more. Why? Because they carry smartphones.

In the near future, however, lots of under-30s are going to be wearing wristwatches. Why? Because they carry smartphones.

Prepare for the imminent coming of the smartwatch, the new partner of the smartphone.

But why did people stop wearing wristwatches? Because almost every cellphone ever made, from the first "candy bar" phones through flip phones, feature phones and finally smartphones, could do what a watch did -- tell you the time.

People soon came to note the redundancy of it all. Why a watch and a phone both? And given that a phone could tell you the time but then do so much more, why a watch at all?

The phone got its time from the wireless network it was on, so it was always accurate. Oh, and no more having to set the date after your watch, with its built-in 31-day date cycle, got it wrong following a 30-day month.

So watches went into the dresser drawer. Need to know the time? A quick look at your phone and you had it.

Oh, sure, some people still wore watches -- not everyone had a phone. And those with enough disposable income could still splurge on a Rolex, or if they had even more income to dispose of, a Patek Philippe.

Still, the watch as a ubiquitous timekeeper became, well, a lot less ubiquitous.

So why is it coming back?

And make no mistake, it is, and a lot of companies are on, or preparing to leap onto, the smartwatch bandwagon.

Sony sells a SmartWatch 2, its second stab at a smartwatch.

The Pebble Watch, a crowd-funding success story, will soon be available at your nearest Best Buy.

Microsoft, Google, Dell and a host of others reportedly are working on their own examples.

And of course the 500-pound gorilla of desirable tech, Apple, is rumored to be preparing its own smartwatch, and has copyrighted the iWatch name in a number of countries in preparation.

Understand that watches for the wrist are not coming back as timepieces -- oh, they'll tell time of course, but that's not what they're about.

What they're about, of course, is a computer you can wear.

Just like smartphones took computers off our desktops and off our laps and put them in our pockets, the smartwatch moves them to an even more instantly accessible location at the end of our arms.

They will, like our smartphones, run mobile apps, have their own mobile operating systems, send and receive texts and emails, navigate us around by GPS, even play music.

Some will do this all on their own, some will share duties with your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection.

People with tech savvy -- and the desire to demonstrate it -- are sure to flock to the smartwatch. After all, you may have the latest and greatest smartphone, but nobody will know that if it's in your pocket.

Whereas a smartwatch, by its very visibility, will carry a certain "hey, look at me" cachet for early adopters -- at least until smartwatches reach the ubiquitous level formerly occupied by the humble wristwatch.

And once they are, heading to work in the morning may soon involve a new personal checklist.

Smartphone in pocket? Check. Smartwatch on wrist? Check. Google Glass firmly on head? Check.

Shakespeare, anyone? "O brave new world, that has such people in't."

Topics: Google
Trending Stories