Everyday it seems technology is encroaching even further into another aspect of our lives, and I wouldn’t blame you for occasionally wanting to climb up to the top of the nearest office complex and yelling enough is enough. But here’s the thing, smart watches aren’t this big new innovation. They’re just, well, watches. They expand on the functionality of your current watch, assuming you still wear one, in a way that shouldn’t feel all that surprising if you’re already accustomed to using digital options. A “smart” watch isn’t going to revolutionize your life, and just like a “dumb” one, it’s not going to be a necessity for most people out there. But if you’re into watches, and gadgets, here are four reasons why now might be the time to consider investing in a smart watch.
1. They Make Notifications Less Annoying
The primary advantage of a smart watch over traditional watches is that they reduce how often you have to pull your phone out of your pocket. Our lives now consist of numerous notifications ranging from emails and texts to tweets, friend requests, and app invites. These things typically cause our phones to vibrate or send out the same chime, and while the more meticulous among us may take the time to assign different notifications to each one, our default behavior is to unlock the phone and pull down the notification drawer just to see what a notification is, then decide if it’s worth responding to right away. With a smart watch, the notification goes straight to your wrist, and you can decide first if the notification is worth pulling out your phone and dealing with. Notification overload isn’t an issue we had to deal with back when analog and digital watches were first created, and smart watches are presenting a solution that makes a lot of sense.
2. They Can Function As Your Smartphone’s Remote
Our smartphones have gradually become centralized hubs for a wide number of electronics. If you pair it with a Bluetooth speaker, it becomes the device you reach for to play and manage music. If you have a Chromecast, it becomes the device for streaming video. This can be convenient, as it means you only need to keep up with one device to do all things. Yet this also means that you have to unlock your device to do anything. With a smart watch functioning as your phone’s remote, you can bypass the silly notion of having to unlock your phone just to pause whatever’s currently playing, especially on phones that don’t place a widget on the lock screen. It’s also nice to be able to silence your phone before watching a movie without having to dig it out.
3. Hyper Portable Apps
Smartphones are already pretty portable as it is, but some pieces of software don’t even need the 5-inches of screen real estate that they provide. Something like the 7-minute workout translates very nicely to a wrist watch, as all you need is an image of what exercise to perform next and a vibration signalling when to change positions. Want to see your shopping list or the weather at a glance? How about the number of steps you’ve taken or how many miles you’ve ran? These are nice options that aren’t necessities, but once you have the watch, it’s nice to offload some of the work from your smartphone.
4. The Options Are Growing
This may be perhaps the most important number on the list. Why should you want a smart watch? Because the options are growing, and some are actually compelling. The Pebble broke Kickstarter records when it surpassed its $100,000 funding goal with over $10,000,000 last year, and while it’s not nearly as complex as some of the competition, that may just be a good thing. On the other hand, we have the Galaxy Gear, a watch with a touch screen that only syncs with Samsung smartphones. Don’t own a Galaxy device? There’s Sony’s SmartWatch 2, an upgrade over its previous model. There are even fitness oriented options from the likes of FitBit and Nike. Still not impressed? Keep an eye glued to Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, because there are plenty more coming down the pipeline in the months ahead.
We recently ran a post called 4 Reasons Why Smart Watches Just Aren’t Ready For Us, and while I disagree with the conclusion, the points are certainly valid – many of the options are overly clunky, battery life could be better across-the-board, and functionality is often limited without a smartphone. But that still misses the point. Most regular watches look clunky on my wrist, and it’s debatable whether a smart watch even needs functionality of its own aside from telling time. Sure, you shouldn’t buy a smart watch if you have no interest in watches to begin with, but if the concept appeals to you, now is a good time to start paying attention. There never has been one watch that suits everyone’s tastes, and with new options appearing regularly, one that fits your wrist may be on its way.
Image credit: Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch