A wearable or semi-wearable computer is something from '50s and '60s era science fiction, in my mind. This would include Google Glass, PDAs, wearable PCs, and now we have smartwatches. But in the big technology picture, is nothing sacred or off-limits? Is the smartwatch practical, or a reach?
The personal computer was the entryway for consumers to experience high technology. Before the PC, we had Texas Instruments LED calculators (my dad still has one), and Hewlett-Packard 41-C programmable calculators (I still have mine buried in a box somewhere). This was the consumer technology experience.
But then companies came out with consumer computers. Radio Shack, Commodore, and others which begin to open our eyes to what technology could actually do for the average Joe. But after so many years of desktops, we felt the need to be mobile, which ushered in the era of portable technology. By this time, we were using MP3 players, PDAs, and cell phones with text capabilities. We wanted to take our technology with us wherever we wanted to go.
Okay, I get that... but a watch?
This brings me back to old school science fiction. To Dick Tracy, whom everyone knows sported a wireless communicator watch, to the Jetsons with their flying cars and push-button dinner machines (I still wish I had a Rosie the robot, but I digress).
The watch to me is a sacred cow -- a device with a specific purpose, that does that purpose very very well. I want to know the time, and maybe even the date, but that's all I want my watch to do. Period. I don't want web surfing, or email, or texting, phone calls or video capabilities, from my damn watch. And I don't want others around me being distracted by those activities on their watches either, especially that guy driving the 18-wheeler behind me on the 101.
Next thing you know they will be putting SSD hard drives in our underwear -- don't even think about going there.
We already have plenty of smart devices on our persons. Laptops, smartphones, you name it. But don't desecrate my wrist-ware with the whore that is consumer technology. Don't turn my son's Hot Wheels watch into an Internet device, or my daughter's Hello Kitty watch into a wireless texting/emailing machine.
The standard watch tells you time, which invariably is more valuable than any email, text, or website. Don't degrade the watch by stuffing it with technology. It's just wrong.
To me, smartwatches are tech companies' attempt to find a place on a person to plug technology into, and see if it sticks. I think this paradigm has to change, before we begin to see real innovation in the industry.