While driving to meet friends for coffee over the weekend, my mobile phone rang. Instantly my mind starts scrolling through possibilities…Is it important? Is it an emergency? Is it a client? Is it my friend telling me coffee has been cancelled?
Luckily, I had just started testing the waters of wearable technology so my Moto360 smartwatch buzzed and with a glance at the photo of the caller that had just popped on the watches 42mm screen I knew it was just a sales call. No, I don’t need a $25,000 copying machine, so I didn’t need to pull over and call anyone back.
Every day we see bad drivers looking down, or looking over to the passenger side. Usually they are dialing or talking on the phone, whilst swerving into oncoming traffic or crawling to a dangerously slow speed, because the phone has their attention. My hope is wearable smart technology is a step in the right direction.
Wearable technology has followed Moore’s law quite well over the last 5 years. Technology is getting faster, more powerful, while getting smaller – quickly. The smartwatch is the new front of wearable tech. While it does not have the full functionality of your smart phone, it excels at quickly telling you information, while not slowing you down.
Via Bluetooth, the smart watch will detect alerts from the phone in your pocket. Getting a phone call? Getting a text? Reached your goal of 5000 steps walked today? The watch will display a short message, or even better, a simple icon with a colourful background. The built in microphone allow you to take speech-to-text notes that can sync to your phone via Evernote or Onenote, or you can ask Google to display a map of where you are and step by step directions to where you want to go. All on your wrist.
While this particular watch works with Android and Apple phones, there are many devices not he market to choose from – Apple Watch, Pebble, the Moto360 etc. There are fun things on the watch too – an 80s style calculator, mini circular games you can play on the watch face etc. My favorite, however, is the customization. With apps for your watch like Watchmaker, you can choose from 100s of different watch faces, or you can completely customize your own watch face using jpg, animated gifs, text, weather, steps, and many other elements, all with the ability to be updated by your connection to your phone. Some elements can be programmed to react with the gyroscope and accelerometer built into the watch. With a flick of the wrist, your watch springs to life. With a tap on the screen, you can launch your map or notes or text message app. And yes, you can upload an image that rotates with the seconds or the minutes. Any watch face you want, you can download. With a tap, you can have what looks like a brand new watch, whenever you feel like it.
Charges last about 20 hours, so you’ll need to charge the watch at night. This is not a device you “need”, yet, but it is helpful. And it is fun!