With Android Wear, Google got me pretty excited about the futures of smartwatches. With a major effort to propel the market forward, the possibilities are basically endless. Eventually, we could certainly see that Dick Tracy watch. Maybe even sooner than later.
Not to say that the smartwatches that we've seen so far haven't done the same thing in their own way. Indeed, the Pebble smartwatch is effectively the reason why we're even talking about smartwatches these days. Thanks to their success, and from an obvious desire from the consumers to have these devices wrapped around wrists, the major corporations out there are paying attention and making their own inroads. And so are the smaller ones, obviously.
Even HP wants in on the fun. Seriously.
I can safely say for myself that I'm still waiting, though. Despite the fact that both LG and Samsung were ready to launch Android Wear on their own devices immediately following the software's unveiling, neither one of the devices really catch my eye. It's not that I don't like square watches, at least, not directly. It's partly due to design, yes, but it also has a lot to do with the battery life, and the specs.
Yes, the specs matter. While most general consumers don't ever talk about what kind of internals are in their "normal" hardware watch, the moment you start adding more technology into the mix, you aren't going to be able to avoid it. We're going to discuss those pieces. The processor. The battery. The display. Pretty much any piece is up for dissection. Just like it is in our smartphones and tablets.
Word has it that Samsung is gearing up to launch a "Gear Solo," and based on the name you can probably guess what that alludes to. A smartwatch with a SIM card in it, which should give it access to data without relying on your smartphone, as they all do now. Just with that addition, we're now right there on the cusp of the Dick Tracy watch, so I should be excited about that.
And yet, I'm not. In fact, now that I realize we're so close to that happening, and if Samsung really is just about to unveil one of their own, I don't want it to happen at all. Why? Because smartwatches still have a lot to get right, like design, and battery life, and features, and still finding the right way to balance all of that with a price tag that isn't ridiculous.
I just have a feeling almost all of those details are going to get tossed out of the window, just so we can have a smartwatch with a data connection. Specifically, price and battery life. Because we've already seen what adding a cellular connection option does to our other gadgets, from Wi-Fi/Cellular tablets to other devices, when it comes to pricing. It hikes it up, quite a bit. So, one can only imagine that that would be the case for smartwatches, too.
Secondly, the battery life. Adding the option for a cellular connection into a device that can barely last 7 days in the best cases, and barely one day in the worst -- if not most -- cases, just seems like a terrible idea. A really, really bad idea.
Yet, that's probably not going to stop companies from trying. If Samsung is going to showcase a watch like this later this year, then you can bet we'll see a lot more from other companies soon after. The trouble is, I doubt any of them will actually try to make them better, or actually function for an extended period of time without needing a charge, but instead just offer whatever they feel is "good enough."
I hope that's not the case, though. Let's see how far that hope gets me this time around.