The Rise of the Planet of the Smartwatch
Ten years ago the general population thought wearable technologies were unnecessary and, to some, downright scary. Fast forward only a couple years, and the smartphone has saturated to most consumers, alleviating the fear of many of an interconnected society.
Not surprisingly, the “what next?” tech companies began to develop the next generation of computers. Wearables. There have been hiccups, and through trial and error, it seems that the ideal form factor of wearable computing has settled on the wrist.
Pebble, a fledgling startup with a vision, crashed onto the scene with a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, touting a smartwatch that piqued the interest of a generation of techies that had grown tired of the same-old smartphone handheld touchscreen interface. Within a couple years, big players like Google and Apple responded in kind, and the age of the smartwatch was upon us.
Allowing a user to stay connected to their phone, the smartwatch brings with it a new level of freedom many haven't experienced since before they had a smartphone. Habitually checking a smartphone is redundant when all you need to do is glance at your wrist.
Not to mention, there is nothing more sci-fi than speaking into your wrist to dictate a text response, or control your connected devices with subtle hand gestures or minute finger movements.
But what does all this information (and subsequent power) at our fingertips mean for the future of technology? Is wearable tech just a passing trend?
While it may still seem gimmicky, smartwatches and other wearables are poised to open the floodgates between the distinction of man and machine. Integrating new technology into our daily lives has been a theme of the post 2000s, but there is a lot of hesitancy when introducing new categories of technology, as witnessed by the commercial “failure” of Google Glass.
When it comes to integrating computers into our everyday lives, technology needs to slowly integrate to make things less complicated. A front door lock that unlocks for you as you approach it. A coffee machine that starts brewing when you set your morning alarm. A fridge that emails you when you should pick up some milk. Welcome to the Internet of things.
These things already exist, but consider the very near future of these technologies. Soon, walking into a room will connect you with the room itself. Drapes will open with a flick of the wrist. Your favourite music will follow you down a hallway. Screens will display your schedule while you eat a breakfast that was prepared for you, seconds before you sat down. And your smartwatch? It will be at the very center of all of this.
As technologically advanced as we are, traditional form factors will always win out. Man will always need to build fire. Pencils will always be the same. And wristwatches will always be at home on our wrists.
At this point, the internet of things can't be stopped, and the smartwatch is the ideal interface to interact with the digital world. While this new world can be scary to some, a smartwatch on your wrist will usher you in with a traditional form and function that has remain unchanged for hundreds of years.