The future of the smartwatch…

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Instead of trying to shove tech components into the watchface, companies should shift their focus to a different area: the watch strap. We’ve already seen a few attempts at this. The Montblanc e-Strap tried to have the best of both worlds with a full screen on the bottom of a strap for its regular mechanical watches. And more recently, the crowdfunded Smart Buckle cleverly fit an entire fitness tracker into a standard watch band buckle… More at The Verge.

I completely disagree with this, and that comes from someone with an unhealthy obsession with real watches. For someone like me a smart band could be a solution that works, or even a smart buckle, but the reality is that to truly become an object that offers all of the advantages of the wrist a smart watch needs a face.

The Apple Watch showed me that- a quick glance to check the time, your exercise stats and notifications that can be ignored by simply resting your wrist again. Done right, and by that I mean by not trying to cram too much into a small screen, a smart watch can perform the task that real watches do in almost exactly the same way. Admittedly it will lack the style and craftsmanship or a well-made watch, but the vast majority are not looking for that.

You may also want to check out this article which asks the question of what a smart watch actually is. The answer is not that simple. Thanks to Bob for both links.

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Sami: Who saw this coming? Since the last few phones featuring Android and not even any special features, I was surprised people were even buying any.

Kirk: yeah. one if the advantages of the industry’s race for thinness at all costs is that people looking to sport proud bling could spend a few thousand on a bling case instead of 30K or whatever, and still have plenty width left for gems or whatever the hell they’re putting on this

Andrew: Yes, I think many of us could see this coming but it is a blip in the general trend of wealth and fashion. I do think much of it has to do with Apple and the iPhone – it’s a high quality aspirational product. Anyone can be proud of an iPhone, even the wealthy. However, compare this with the smart watch business…. I don’t think any of Pateks, APs or Vacherons will be losing too much sleep over this.

Kirk: Yeah- for a while Apple lived what Warhol “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”- but with the Watch Edition, they’re at least willing to think of courting the hyper-money’d…

Andrew: Absolutely right, Kirk. I’d forgotten about the Coke quote.

Shaun: The market just got away from Vertu. They succeeded when billionaires wanted simple phones that could not be hacked or listened in to i.e. a simple Nokia, but to also show the wealth. When they started making Android phones, the first selling part was gone.

Andrew: Perhaps but there’s a point where better tech outweighs bling. If your luxury Nokia only plays snake compared with apps for everything, you don’t look good. Most luxury items do the same as cheaper ones, only they’re handcrafted or made from better materials. If your luxury phone does less than a cheaper one, it’s not going to be a success.

Andrew: Image is everything for the rich and famous.

Sami: I’d say it was purely Apple. They almost are the Coke. Everyone has one, but you can buy the 128gb one to show off you’re richer

Kirk: but no one can SEE the 128. for a while the “rose gold” like colors showed off you had enough to get the latest and greatest….

Andrew: I think at the level of wealth we’re talking about here, $100 for extra memory is inconsequential.

Andrew: Here, Federer has just won Wimbledon. Check out what watch he has when he hoists the trophy.

Andrew: I think he’s a Rolex ambassador.

And that conversation on the Lost In Mobile WhatsApp group takes us back to watches and products that are considered to be either luxury items or just there to brag about. The first comment came from the collapse of Vertu, but I do feel that there is a fundamental difference between wearing a watch that someone may have wanted for years and owning the latest iPhone the day it is released.

One is a status symbol (in the eyes of the beholder) and the latter is just the latest thing. There is a big difference.

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