I want a smartwatch, but not in its current form

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: June 21, 2013

I like smartwatches; really, I do. They're awesome pieces of technology because they work with our smartphones to let us know the important notifications that come through without making us actually take our phone out of our pocket, or miniscule actions like changing the track on the music player. They're little things, but it can add a lot of convenience to our everyday lives.

Despite that they're able to make our lives easier to an extent, there hasn't really been a smartwatch to hit the market that also made it "big". And I don't mean "big" like it was talked about for a few weeks and then forgotten about (which has been pretty much all of them); I mean big enough to make people think, "Wow, this is totally the next big thing to hit this industry!" It hasn't happened yet, and with about 16 smartwatches that have come and gone on the market, you have to wonder why they're not doing so well. I mean, it is a pretty cool idea.

At least, Sony must think so: on their Xperia Twitter account, Sony teased that "1/3 smartphone users want smart wrist wear. #itstime #MAE13" which makes us think that Sony plans on unveiling a second smartwatch during Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai next week. I can't disagree with the Twitter statement, though; I do want a smartwatch!

However, I still haven't bought one yet. Even though I said that the Pebble smartwatch was (is) a good idea, I can't get over the design of it. It's pretty much the same reason I've never been a big "watch" person my entire life. They're just too uncomofortable for me to get used to. The design that smartwatches currently have just seem like they could be improved upon. A smartwatch shouldn't just mean that the inside of the watch got smarter - the design could use some reworking too.

The way that the Pebble smartwatch, among others, is designed is too reminiscent of how regular watches already are. It's chunky, and the design was originally made for a gadget that was primarily made to tell time (which means that smaller faces are completely acceptable). These smartwatches, which require a pretty sizeable screen, could easily utilize some of that technology that we have been hoping for when it comes to our smartphones, and in that sense could make smartwatches even more revolutionary - not to mention, some of the designs we've seen for "future" smartphones could actually function better as a smartwatch, in my opinion.

For instance, take the flexible graphene displays that I've mentioned in past articles. The thin, bendable, and nearly indestructible material would work perfectly on a smartwatch. Not only does the bendable display make sense as a smartwatch (conforms to the shape of your arm) but it could also work great as a tester to see if this type of technology is actually something that consumers want to use. Being that smartwatches only perform a few select functions for our smartphones (notifications, music selection, notes) along with other watch-like functions (time, date, stopwatch) it would seem to be a lot easier to utilize this material in a smartwatch form over an entire smartphone.

Not only would graphene displays pair well with the smartwatch idea, but I would also be willing to bet that a smartwatch is one of the few things in life that could actually work with a transparent display. We've seen that engineers were working on a transparent smartphone prototype earlier this year, but as a phone I just don't see that technology working out very well. As a smartwatch, however, the material would already be against your skin so you have a constant 'background' of sorts. I mean, the actual use for a transparent display in general is really only there for the "coolness" factor, but if you're going to incorporate that into any gadget a smartwatch would be a better solution than a smartphone in my opinion.

I would like to see smartwatches improved upon in the future, and don't get me wrong: the design that current smartwatches have are still relevant, just not to everybody (like me). But I would be all over a transparent graphene smartwatch like gravy on mashed potatoes, I can tell you that.

Readers, what do you think of the current design of smartwatches? What changes would you make to them? Share your opinions with me in the comments below!

Images via Slash Gear, Wired