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Last post Author Topic: Rethink Smartwatch  (Read 5914 times)

Fred Nerd

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Rethink Smartwatch
« on: September 16, 2014, 03:24:10 AM »
After all these weird and wonderful wearables, there's still not one that REALLY solves any real problem.
They all need bluetooth tethering which too limited for anything other than wearing your phone anyway.

So.... here's my idea:
The watch has a SIM and a phone/data plan.
Watch can take and make calls either with bluetooth headset or loudspeaker.
Can receive messages.
Can send messages. No idea how current input is but I imagine you could write one letter at a time on the screen and OCR would recognise it.
Can receive emails, probably using an app where the email is parsed at the server and the watch only gets plain text and low res images.
Maybe send emails.

AND.... can tether.
So then you get home, tether your phone/tablet (by resting your watch on a wireless charger that also is a wifi booster) and your messages get synced and saved and you can see the full version of your emails.


This would mean a light phone user could get by with only the watch. But would be notified when an email came.
You could go on holidays with a watch and a Surface Pro, be out partying all day, make calls/text, and when you got an urgent business email you could grab the Surface and deal with it and then go back with empty pockets.

This watch could also be waterproof, so you can get caught in the rain/fall off a boat and not worry.


I'd buy this as a builder so I can leave my tablet in my truck while working, watch (or even minature fob watch in pocket, like a nokia phone designed for tethering) would do everything I need and when I need to read emails with supply documents I go to my truck.


What do you guys think?   Should I start a kickstarter?  Or am I only designing for myself?






Renegade

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 10:01:28 AM »
Watches are too small for modern communications technology right now. You can't get the RAM memory, CPU power, and storage into that small of a container.

Think of the 1950's to the 1970's movies with "futuristic" technology where they showed a watch. Ain't gonna happen quite yet.

However... what do people ALWAYS have with them?

  • Watch
  • Mobile phone
  • Wallet/purse (not relevant here, but true)

The technology **is** there to marry a watch to a mobile phone.

So why not use the watch like an old dummy terminal with the mobile phone as the server?

That gives you all the connectivity and processing power you want.

The problem then is mobile phone battery life. And the watch battery life because wireless communications and video take up a lot of power.

The problem of mobile phone battery life can be mitigated easily though through connecting to desktops/laptops, and using a cycle to check for other devices, e.g. connected tablet computers.

That space will be filled fairly shortly though. Give it 5 years or so. Maybe 10 at the outside.

What do you guys think?   Should I start a kickstarter?  Or am I only designing for myself?

You are not designing just for yourself. If done right... e.g. You get a call on your phone, answer it on your watch, and if it's a longer call you walk over to your phone & use that **seamlessly**. (The audio quality/volume will be paramount - you must have a good speaker that far exceeds the quality on a mobile phone.)

Can it be done? Absolutely.

Can you do it with a Kickstarter? Dunno. It requires a huge amount of investment into hardware and software development.

Batteries will be a problem though. Careful planning there is essential. e.g. You talked too long, but still need to tell the time, so a reserve is needed.)

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

skwire

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2014, 10:13:34 AM »
What do you guys think?   Should I start a kickstarter?  Or am I only designing for myself?

I swear I read an article that this is how the new Apple watch will work, i.e., you would need an iPhone to get the full (or any) use out of it.

bob99

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2014, 11:27:19 AM »
What do you guys think?   Should I start a kickstarter?  Or am I only designing for myself?

I swear I read an article that this is how the new Apple watch will work, i.e., you would need an iPhone to get the full (or any) use out of it.

I heard the same thing. It was on a podcast or news station announcing the new apple product.
Blackberry also did something similar a couple of years ago with their phones and discontinued tablet. Called it a bridge.

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 12:10:29 PM »
Hmmm, some guy was talking into his watch on the train platform this morning.  Either he has Dick Tracy delusions or the thing is out already?

4wd

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2014, 12:17:58 PM »
However... what do people ALWAYS have with them?

  • Watch
  • Mobile phone (it's got a clock)
  • Wallet/purse (not relevant here, but true) (I've got pockets)

Problem solved  :)


Android Watch Phone

I think your main problem with something like that is going to be finding a battery that lasts long enough for it to be useful.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2014, 12:25:02 PM by 4wd »

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2014, 12:51:36 PM »

Problem solved  :)


Android Watch Phone



I can see people driving with this thing now.  One arm across the steering wheel so they can touch/tap with the other hand while cornering.  Ay Yi Yi.

4wd

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 02:25:18 PM »
I can see people driving with this thing now.  One arm across the steering wheel so they can touch/tap with the other hand while cornering.  Ay Yi Yi.

And this is different from them currently staring at their lap while sending an SMS in what way?

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2014, 02:33:06 PM »
I can see people driving with this thing now.  One arm across the steering wheel so they can touch/tap with the other hand while cornering.  Ay Yi Yi.

And this is different from them currently staring at their lap while sending an SMS in what way?

Both hands are locked up.  I had an early digital watch that required holding down a button to light the LEDs to see the time.  Try that on a motorcycle with no accelerator lock.  I had to pull over to see what time it was.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2014, 04:22:56 PM »
Detouring a little,

After all these weird and wonderful wearables, there's still not one that REALLY solves any real problem.

Back when I was still enraptured by the Matrix and Johnny Mnemonic, the coolest thing for me ever was watches that played mp3's.

The one I had was a Brookstone version that looked a lot like this:

misc mp3 watch.jpeg

Since then, since it's old tech, various styles have emerged. But you basically couldn't tell it was a player - it looked like a watch. (Remember, mp3 players are mini hard drives, so you can carry some work or whatever around with you too!)



Fred Nerd

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 04:36:52 AM »
I'l like to see someone jogging with the MP3 watch... cables everywhere.

The Android Smartwatch looks close to what I was thinking. In fact, I'm tempted to get one.

I'm not reallly serious about starting a kickstarter, I just get frustrated that what should be simple isn't there.

What I want is my $30 nokia in a watch shape, with tethering, and syncing all the data to your 'family' of devices.
So: watch receives text/email while you're mountain climbing, you read it and decide to ignore it, or call back.
Watch receives text/email while driving, read and reply on the tablet/phablet you keep in the dash, that way you don't run off the road trying to get your phone out of your pocket.
Watch receives email while at a formal dinner, scan your watch to see if it's important. Reply on fancy phone to impress people or sneak off to reply in private.

You can have endless devices on one phone plan, and your watch screen doesn't have to be high res because you only need basic info.

It just needs a 1 week battery. If Nokia can do it 10 years ago... where are we now???

Stoic Joker

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2014, 06:59:26 AM »
What I want is my $30 nokia in a watch shape, with tethering, and syncing all the data to your 'family' of devices.

Personally, I just want my phone to be a phone ... But the Samsung Gear S rig in this iWatch vs. Samsung review seems to do much of what you're after.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2014, 07:04:24 AM »
I had an early digital watch that required holding down a button to light the LEDs to see the time.  Try that on a motorcycle with no accelerator lock.

LOL Same problem as checking the time on an LCD watch at night now -(even with cruise control)- It does tend to be a real PITA. :)

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2014, 07:52:34 AM »
I had an early digital watch that required holding down a button to light the LEDs to see the time.  Try that on a motorcycle with no accelerator lock.

LOL Same problem as checking the time on an LCD watch at night now -(even with cruise control)- It does tend to be a real PITA. :)

Yeah.  If they did the watch I think it may be a case where you are better off using something like Dragon.  "Watch!  Call work.  Use fake sick voice to tell them I have the flu.  Then have pizza and beer delivered."

bob99

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2014, 08:54:17 AM »
What I want is my $30 nokia in a watch shape, with tethering, and syncing all the data to your 'family' of devices.

Personally, I just want my phone to be a phone ... But the Samsung Gear S rig in this iWatch vs. Samsung review seems to do much of what you're after.

+1 on just being a phone.
To me they just look like a fancier version of a law enforcement ankle bracelet.

Renegade

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2014, 10:45:05 AM »
Hmmm, some guy was talking into his watch on the train platform this morning.  Either he has Dick Tracy delusions or the thing is out already?

THAT'S IT!! DICK TRACY!

I'd had a bit to drink and couldn't remember the exact reference.

But... no. Buddy there isn't what we really want. We want VIDEO!

Video is very expensive for a mobile device, and this is why we won't see a good watch device for a while yet.

Look at what's available now, then wait 5~10 years and look.


However... what do people ALWAYS have with them?

  • Watch
  • Mobile phone (it's got a clock)
  • Wallet/purse (not relevant here, but true) (I've got pockets)

Problem solved  :)


Android Watch Phone

I think your main problem with something like that is going to be finding a battery that lasts long enough for it to be useful.

Battery - Exactly.

Battery is good enough for some things, but it isn't good enough for video quite yet. Or not good enough for sustained usage.

You can use a tablet computer that is plugged into an electrical socket to stream video and the battery level will still decline.

But for "problem solved", no. The problem is far from solved. The issue there is form factor and battery life.

The watch, mobile phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop computer form factors are all very different in how we (need to) interact with them.

The question is about fitting what we want to do (video or high energy applications) into a small form factor with battery power sufficient to meet our expectations.

Energy in general needs to be rethought. The current mainstream ideas aren't working out very well. But there are alternative technologies that are promising and could help. 
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2014, 01:25:31 PM »

I guess I'm not seeing the plusses of video on a watch. I tried to watch a couple movies on my phone and the only way I could enjoy them was to sprawl out on the floor with a pillow and the phone propped up. But I far prefer my 24" screen for movies and TV.

Meanwhile, re: the jogger and the watch, just make the watch unit removable from the band and then attach it to your collar or whatever the same way you'd do it with an ipod nano or whatever.


4wd

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2014, 05:37:42 AM »
However... what do people ALWAYS have with them?

  • Watch
  • Mobile phone (it's got a clock)
  • Wallet/purse (not relevant here, but true) (I've got pockets)

Problem solved  :)

But for "problem solved", no. The problem is far from solved. The issue there is form factor and battery life.

There, fixed my OP so it makes sense - there's no problem for me because I don't use a watch or a wallet.

Renegade

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2014, 09:14:42 PM »
There, fixed my OP so it makes sense - there's no problem for me because I don't use a watch or a wallet.

Haha! :)

Yes, that may very well work for you, and a lot of others -- me included -- I no longer use my watch or wallet. But that just boils down to our preference for what form factors we like. In this case, pockets. :) Watches will find a market with people that prefer them to pockets.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Target

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2014, 06:03:16 PM »
saw this this morning - Neptune Pine Review

I've been interested in the idea of a smart watch but I think that like most devices they're trying to put too much functionality into the things (just because you can do something doesn't mean you should).

At the end of the day I think we as consumers need to adjust our expectations -I mean, do we really need/want to do video on a 1-2" screen, or game, or browse the net?

Having said that I suppose we'll just continue to consume whatever we're fed (no matter how ridiculous) 'cos that's what we're trained to do

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2014, 07:13:48 AM »
Looking at the Neptune what strikes me immediately is the need for "flexible circuit boards." If the watch was made more to hug the wrist giving the appearance of a wrist band, and the screen 16x9 traveling a bit higher on the wrist, then it might not appear grotesque.  But I think it would cost a hell of a lot more than $350 if the "form factor" was flexible.  Instead of fiberglass circuit boards some innovation would be required so that the electronics could be anchored in some way that allowed the device to conform to the curvature of the arm.  The 16x9 screen would be very flat indeed!  :)

But I think voice commands or some direct thought control wireless manipulation would also be needed to avoid being handcuffed while walking along using it. After all,one may need a hand free to carry a briefcase with non-compressible coffee and sandwich.  :)

Renegade

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2014, 10:42:40 AM »
...some direct thought control wireless manipulation...

That's coming. The technology for thought control was at around 95% accuracy 10 years ago at an ETRI startup that I worked at. It was wired, but still... It's closer than many would think.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2014, 07:42:51 AM »
That's coming. The technology for thought control was at around 95% accuracy 10 years ago at an ETRI startup that I worked at. It was wired, but still... It's closer than many would think.

Maybe then we can finally get to the computer doing what we want, not what we say.  :)

tomos

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2015, 08:29:18 AM »
just came across this today:



http://xkcd.com/1420/
Tom

MilesAhead

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Re: Rethink Smartwatch
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2015, 08:54:04 AM »
just came across this today:



http://xkcd.com/1420/

If I have to wear a watch I want one like the Predator.  Setting it to overload is way more fun than a mere alarm.  :)