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posted by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @04:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the 1st-world-problems dept.

Xenex writes:

"In the wake of the Android Ware [Video] announcement, I have been giving thought to the impact these watches could have on our life. 'The more I read about smartwatches, the more I appreciate my "dumb" watches' writes Shawn Blanc. 'But I don't just wear a watch to know what time it is. Part of the reason I wear one is as an excuse not to pull out my iPhone.' Basically: when you look at a watch you see the time, when you look at a smartphone for the time you also see notifications. Avoiding my phone is definitely a factor for me nowadays, and a 'smart' watch might just be another distraction."

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday March 24 2014, @04:27PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:27PM (#20309) Homepage

    One of the most surefire ways to spot an NSA spook is to see if they're wearing a watch, because they cannot have phones where they work. If you see a bunch of people wearing nice watches, all hanging out at the same credit union, whose kids go to a separate school, who all claim to be "janitors," for a living; chances are you have yourself a handful of NSA agents.

    Additionally, smartwatches are ugly as hell and still a little to "Star-Trekkey" to be fashionable in the mainstream. But personally, the only time I would wear a watch is to a job interview. Otherwise, it's just something I'll eventually lose.

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 24 2014, @05:01PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:01PM (#20328)

      I wear watches because I like watches. Basically, they're jewelry for men. The Star-Trekky nature of the smart watches does affect me though, as I have a Pebble watch, and while I absolutely love it, it ain't pretty enough for me to not wear any of my 'nice' watches. I'm at the point now where I wear a nice watch on my left wrist and my Pebble on my right. People know I'm a bit of a dork already so the added watch doesn't affect my social status much.

      I love the look of that watch Motorola is showing ... but I'll probably still wear it on my right wrist. One of the nice things about dumb watches that the Pebble also gets right is that you should be able to tell the time without pressing a button. I'm not sure most of the the other smart watches do that. Sure they have a nice colour display, but if I need to press a button I may as well pull out my phone.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @05:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @05:13PM (#20339)

      "nice watches" and "kids go to a separate school"? How much money do you think an NSA employee makes? Plus, outside of the game Splinter Cell, please elaborate on these NSA "agents." I'm aware of FBI agents and CIA agents, but what is an NSA agent? Are there Housing and Urban Development agents? Or NIH agents? How about those Bureau of Indian Affairs agents? Are all Federal employees "agents" with cool ID badges and carry unregistered PPKs?

      • (Score: 1) by EvilSS on Monday March 24 2014, @05:47PM

        by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @05:47PM (#20382)

        Not to feed this paranoid thread too much, but the NSA does have an internal investigative service (attached to the NSA OIG) members of which are referred to as special agents. They also have an internal police force. They are not anything nefarious, however (probably the most benign job at the NSA at the moment actually). Investigators investigate, mostly background security checks, security breaches, internal fraud, etc. They are NOT spooks in any sense of the word (despite what POI may portray). The police force is in charge of campus security at their facilitates.

  • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Monday March 24 2014, @04:35PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:35PM (#20313)
    My current watch is 30 years' dumb now, and I haven't managed to kill it yet. I just changed its battery for the umpteenth time yesterday. It's one of these: http://www.digital-watch.com/DWL/1work/casio_marli n_w-750c/ [digital-watch.com]
    • (Score: 2) by dotdotdot on Monday March 24 2014, @04:42PM

      by dotdotdot (858) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:42PM (#20315)

      This. Smart today, dumb tomorrow. What will we think of our current smartphones in 10 years?

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @05:32PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:32PM (#20363)

      That's a pretty cool site. I had a CFX-200 for about a decade from the mid 80s to mid 90s. They were value engineered not to last that long and the pix looks like one that went thru a cement mixer. They looked pretty nice when new.

      http://www.digital-watch.com/DWL/1work/casio-cfx-2 00/ [digital-watch.com]

      Because nothing is ever really new in IT, just recycled old ideas, I suspect the "smartwatch" will inevitably go the way of my CFX-200 scientific calculator watch.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:32AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:32AM (#20743) Homepage

      I still have a windup watch that wasn't new when I found it back about 1968. It still works. (I did get it cleaned once.) In fact I think it's the only working watch I own.

      But most of the time I don't bother with it. My internal clock is never more than a few minutes off, and in any case, yonder is the sun. Good enough for me.

      Now get off my lawn!!

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 1) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday March 24 2014, @04:47PM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:47PM (#20320) Journal

    I don't bother wearing a watch because I'm surrounded by time displays pretty much everywhere I go. If I'm not near a display and I want to know the time, I fish my phone out of my pocket. This feels to me like a throwback to the old Victorian pocketwatch-on-a-chain in the waiscoat pocket.

    I would pay good money* for a modern smartphone, in a nice steampunk-inspired circular pocketwatch case**. Am I the only one?

    *Actually, I have more important things to spend my money on, but I would be very tempted to spend good money on it.

    **Alternatively***, a nice, sleek, modern smooth design. Has to be circular though, for ease of unpocketting, and with a sturdy chain& chain clasp.

    ***Ideally, one of each :-)

    • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Tuesday March 25 2014, @05:44AM

      by egcagrac0 (2705) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @05:44AM (#20818)

      I would pay good money* for a modern smartphone, in a nice steampunk-inspired circular pocketwatch case**. Am I the only one?

      I think there's a bigger market for a phone shaped like a Communicator [wikipedia.org], complete with chirps. A non-display "smartwatch" badge that allows one to tap it to answer a call has potential, too.

      Similarly niche market, but people at cons spend good money on strange things.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by takyon on Monday March 24 2014, @05:07PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday March 24 2014, @05:07PM (#20334) Journal

    Don't buy a smart watch then?

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @05:41PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:41PM (#20371)

      The meta point is its a sign of a bubble topping. Can't grow smartphone revenue by just shoveling out garbage, can't grow revenue by making a better mousetrap, can't grow revenue by marketing the existing products, can't grow revenue by weird business deals... I know, make something kinda related. How bout a watch? Or a pocket watch? Or goggles with a camera? Bad sign for the phone biz when the phone guys are trying everything to make a $ other than selling phones.

      I'm not saying smartphones are going away any more than being only halfway down the decline side of the housing bubble means we all live in apartments or tents. Just the glory days of epic profits are over in that biz.

      • (Score: 1) by takyon on Monday March 24 2014, @07:14PM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday March 24 2014, @07:14PM (#20452) Journal

        Could be good for innovation and price. You'll be able to buy a $50 device without the "this is recording you right now" light.

        On an unrelated note, I recently lost a smartphone. Amazing that yesterday's supercomputers are today's garbage.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 1) by Daiv on Monday March 24 2014, @05:33PM

    by Daiv (3940) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:33PM (#20364)

    I have two main requirements for a smartwatch before I buy one.
    1. It better be damn responsive.
    2. Make it super-simple to view notifications (ie, text messages and phone calls)

    I don't want a smart watch that does everything a smart phone does. I just want to not look rude when I have an incoming call or text so I can respond as appropriate in my circumstance. I want to be able to read a text, who it's from and when it came and dismiss it easily. I don't want to respond back from my wrist in any way.

    Number 1 should be first and foremost though. If it doesn't do #1, forget about #2.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @05:49PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:49PM (#20384)

      Might want battery life. That means bluetooth-LE. That means apple. That means you just chained your biz to theirs and they now control your biz so don't bother releasing until BT-LE works better on more (all?) android devices.

      Its not going to happen as a major product until or if google and/or apple release watches so the other has to and it become a "thing" across the whole market.

      One interesting aspect of battery life is I'm not a 16 year old girl so I don't carry my phone in the butt pocket of my jeans in order to draw attention so I don't care how thin a phone is. In fact I wish I had a super-fat phone because its easier for sausage fingers to hold and I could return to the glory days of recharging my phone once a week. Current phones are too small to appeal to me. Yet in comparison the current crop of smartwatches tend to barely last a day yet be roughly the size and mass of a hockey puck, so current smartwatches are too big even for a big weightlifter guy.

      • (Score: 1) by Daiv on Monday March 24 2014, @06:15PM

        by Daiv (3940) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:15PM (#20406)

        If a watch hits both of the original items I request, I would settle for 12 hours of battery life. My presumption would be any company that can hit both my requests would be able to get also get a day of battery life.

        I don't believe only Apple or Google can fulfill my requests. I believe someone else out there has the drive to do it and probably will hit what I want before either of the two you mentioned. Google's Moto unit has promise from what they've already shown, Samsung threw in everything including the kitchen sink and Apple hasn't said peep. Sony's even released a few that also look like they have promise.

        I just want the notifications, and no one seems intent on delivering that yet, especially the companies you've mentioned.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @06:49PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:49PM (#20429)

          "I just want the notifications"

          I believe this is a big part of the market problem for smart watches. Customers want the notification screen and thats pretty much it. The app store people want to sell the new Angry Birds on the watch, all over again, perhaps for more money much as ipad apps used to sell for more than ipod/iphone apps (I haven't had an iDevice since I got my nexus so don't know)

          This kind of competition has played out in other fields... I want a commuter car, too bad we're selling SUVs and you'll like it. Or homebuyers vs the mcmansion, that sort of thing.

    • (Score: 1) by Tork on Monday March 24 2014, @06:12PM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @06:12PM (#20404)

      I recently purchased a Pebble Watch and, from experience, can tell you that that's probably what you're looking for. It's a watch (with a bunch of neat watch faces...), and when your phone has a notification, it turns up on the display AND the watch vibrates. Actually I've killed the sound notifications on my phone because of this. (Although it might be worth asking me a month from now if I continue to still do that.)

      Basically they went the short and simple route with this watch and... it works! The watch is a nice decent size. The battery life... eh it's so so, 3 or 4 days, but since it uses something like a mag-safe adapter they claim it's water resistent. (Note: I have not tried this.) The simple interface doesn't get bogged down in minutia just to see why your phone is buzzing. And, the most shocking thing for me, is that I had no idea that watches were MISSING vibration capability. Seriously, I would never have thought I'd want a watch with this capability.

      My experience with it gives me the same concern you have about getting something more sophisticated: I don't want to noodle the damn thing. The thought of actually having to do app updates on it just fills me with dread. Simple is good with a watch, treat it like a second monitor and nothing more, that's what I say.

      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday March 24 2014, @06:54PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:54PM (#20433)

      3. Make it resist when I hit it on random objects. My old swatch has a new scratch from yesterday's gardening. I did not worry for one minute that it was going to break. I know that gorilla glass is stronger than Swatch glass, but there are a lot more ways one can hit and partially disable any of the current watches.

      Oddly, I believe that the future of the smart watch is long thin screens nesting on the inside of the arm, maybe with a system to be readable despite shirt cuffs. I only need three lines of text, if there's more than two words per line...

  • (Score: 1) by stephenw32768 on Monday March 24 2014, @06:01PM

    by stephenw32768 (2735) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:01PM (#20392)

    I wear a dumb watch; specifically, a mechanical one. I think there's something glorious about a mechanism that can tell the time, to an accuracy within seconds in 24 hours, using only gears and springs.

    Plus, I like the chukka-chukka-chukka ticking sound of a clockwork movement.

    It's obsolete technology, sure, but nonetheless appealing.

    -Stephen

    • (Score: 2) by everdred on Monday March 24 2014, @06:30PM

      by everdred (110) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:30PM (#20422) Journal

      I'm with you. While I have a handful of quartzes in my rotation, my favorites are easily my self-winding ones. What they lack in the accurate timekeeping department, they make up for with a certain something else.

    • (Score: 1) by darkfeline on Monday March 24 2014, @07:53PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:53PM (#20477) Homepage

      I agree with this, though I'd characterize clockwork as romantic or mysterious rather than glorious. I'd want to own a good mechanical watch for the same reason I'd want to own a solid, well-bound hardcover book.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
      • (Score: 1) by stephenw32768 on Monday March 24 2014, @10:12PM

        by stephenw32768 (2735) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:12PM (#20601)

        I need to expand my rather limited adjective pool, "glorious" is one of my standard go-to expressions of appreciation. I agree with you, "romantic" and "mysterious" are both good and fitting descriptions of the appeal of clockwork. For me, they don't tell the whole story though, the technical aspects are appealing too.

        It seems to me that watchmaking is simultaneously an art, a science and a craft. The same can be said of programming. If I'd been born two centuries earlier, perhaps I'd have been a watchmaker.

        -Stephen

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:37AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:37AM (#20749) Homepage

          And I might have been one of your customers. :)

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 1) by youngatheart on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:57AM

      by youngatheart (42) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:57AM (#20685)

      My wife bought me a beautiful watch [zales.com]. It is silent, solar powered, light, thin and subtle. It is jewelry with a function and it doesn't require me to reset it every month or two.