Posts Tagged ‘smart watch’

Pebble Battery Life

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

I decided that, cool as the shake-to-light feature is on the Pebble watch, I turned it off. Saves battery life. And, frankly, it can be annoying if one sleeps with a watch or is in a movie theater.

But I don’t know how long my year-plus-old watch lasts in this setting because I have taken to setting it to charge when I get up in the morning, before I take a shower. I put it back on when I get dressed. Yes, I know the watch can go in the shower, but it still gets in the way of, say , washing my wrist.


©2015 Kent Borg

Google’s Project Glass: Dies at the Hands of a Smart Watch?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

As I am trying to understand Google’s Project Glass, yesterday I did something disturbing. As I was leaving work, wondering what temperature I would find as I left the building, I started to look at my watch.

Uh, oh: A “smart watch” might take important wind out of the sails of Project Glass’s acceptance.

Usually when I want to know the temperature I look at my Android phone. Weatherbug keeps the temperature displayed at the top of my screen. I don’t need to unlock the phone (I have a long unlock code, secure but tedious), I just turn it on, glance, also see the time and any alerts, and turn it off again. Works great. But when I am carrying stuff it is easier to glance at my watch and that is what I mistakenly started to do yesterday. (My watch doesn’t know the temperature. Not yet.)

What does this have to do with Project Glass? I am not certain, but it could be bad.

Some people will buy a Glass device for use when jogging, and that’s the only time they will use it.  I don’t think that is Google’s plan here.  I think Google hopes that this product will disappear into eye wear and become part of our lives; they hope we will wear it all the time.

As I mentioned in a previous post (, for normal people to keep Glass devices on their faces, there will have to be good reasons.  For focused activity, pulling a phone from my pocket is worth it, and for many focused activities, a phone will be as good or better than a Glass device.

Over the course of my day I might have several predictable activities that would be improved with a Glass device, but will I bother to put it on each time it is useful?

Some might suggest that I leave it on all the time but they are ignoring very real costs to doing so:

  • First, there is the cost of buying a Glass device in the first place, but let’s ignore that.
  • Second, lots of people wear eye glasses occasionally.  I am near sighted and I put on my glasses when I drive, watch a movie, need to see something else at a distance–otherwise I take them off.  My glasses are stunningly light and I still prefer to not wear then.  Conversely, other people are far sighted and put on reading glasses only when they need to see something up close.  We already have a pattern of putting on and taking off eye wear, there are real costs and practical issues in a Glass device trying to get in the middle of this activity.
  • Third, the first version of these devices are said to have a camera and microphone always there and possibly always recording.  There are lots of locations in our world which will not want us recording all before us and will require we take off a Glass device.
  • Fourth, there will be a cyborg geekiness that will dissuade potential wearers.

I suspect that if Google is to motivate us to wear these things all the time it will be for all-the-time tidbits of information.  This is the kind of information that some people in the past have gotten from a pager: financial data, sports scores, breaking news, notification of communication from other humans, etc.

These are asynchronous events that I can’t schedule, they disrupt someone a little to notice them, they might happen while I am using a Glass device for a focused activity, or maybe when it it otherwise idle: but they are not focused activities.

The killer app that maybe makes wearing Glass devices worth it, the thing that makes us keep them on our faces when we aren’t actively using them: asynchronous information tidbits.

Enter the killer Smart Watch.

A wristwatch is really well suited to display tidbits of information.  Traditionally this has been restricted to the time because that is what the watch could economically know.  But if you have a Bluetooth-capable phone in your pocket, a smart wristwatch can relay nearly any information from that phone.  A watch can also quietly vibrate an alert and be felt in a noisy room, phones vibrating in pockets or purses are not always felt.

People used to carry pocket watches, and they worked.  But we moved on to a wearable technology, wristwatches, because they were handier than reaching into a pocket, more convenient than having to have a suitable pocket, and maybe easier than remembering to put the watch in my pocket.  Also, the was no big downside.  Maybe some traditionalists scoffed for a time, but they have been forgotten.

If you want to keep track of the play-by-play of the day-game while at work, a smart watch could do it. It is a bit distracting and rude when someone constantly checks his watch, but only a bit.  Depending on the circumstances I can possibly moderate myself and maybe not keep looking at my watch while my boss is talking to me. It is not as rude as holding a video camera in his face, and that is what a wearer of a Glass device is virtually doing.

If Apple wants to kill Project Glass its best move might be to add an “iWatch” to its product line up.  Similarly, Google would be well advised also add a watch tie-in to Android’s notification system.

What’s Left?

If my logic holds water, there is still room for Glass devices to serve specific, focused activities, but they will have to be powerful and compelling.  But also, build us a good wristwatch.

-kb, the Kent who likes his current watch, but wants more.

© 2012 by Kent Borg