Smartwatches are a strange gadget. The idea of a smartwatch has been around for decades, starting 80 some odd years ago with a popular American comic strip character named Dick Tracy. Now that the idea has become a reality, how useful are smartwatches to us, really?
Although a highly subjective matter, I've found that most people I know with smartwatches don't find them all that useful at all. At the very least they don't feel like they have gotten their money’s worth out of it.
I have not yet pulled the trigger on buying a smartwatch yet. Truth be told, I don't know if I ever will. I love smartphones, tablets, and computers, but smartwatches haven’t ever really struck me as interesting or something that I felt would truly be useful in my life – not for the features that they offer or for the price it costs to own one.
It's not that they don't feature enough; in fact, quite the opposite. I feel that smartwatches offer too much. I wouldn't need a lot in a smartwatch. I think being able to listen to music, viewing and responding to calls, messages, and emails, and of course, viewing the time would really be the only things I would use, but nearly every smartwatch on the market strives to do far more than that. Many smartwatches support apps, games, cameras, voice assistants - the whole nine yards. There are no affordable basic barebones smartwatches on the market, and I think that's a void that eventually needs to be filled. Just like we have cheap $20 smartphones that may not have the best performance in the world, they still get the job done and are affordable at the same time. Smartwatches need a category like this, too.
Some people may argue that the Pebble smartwatch already fills that void, and I agree that it is the closest thing to it – but the watch is still too expensive for the 5 things I want to use it for. The original Pebble smartwatch still costs $99 at most retailers, or $79 at Amazon. I may be unrealistic here, but to me that just feels like too much money to drop on something that my phone already does – but right now, that is the price of convenience. The price is probably more than fair for all that it does, but for the few things I want to use it for it is not worth it to me. Alternative brands that are similar to Pebble, like MetaWatch and Cookoo, ask for even more money for their “basic” smartwatch.
Maybe that’s just where we are with smartwatches. They’re still a new idea, so their novelty allows them to be more expensive – it won’t always be this way. I think the days of everybody walking around and wearing a smartwatch will still happen, but only when the market opens up. Right now it feels like every smartwatch company is focusing on bringing more features, more designs, and are way too expensive and advanced for the average consumer. At this point, I don't think people are looking for a smartwatch that can completely replace their smartphone; they want something to complement it, and an affordable no-frills smartwatch fits that bill.
Readers, what are your thoughts on smartwatches? Do you use one, are you waiting until they’re more affordable, or do you think you’ll never use one no matter what? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!