Wrist-Top Computing: Drop The Watch Metaphor And Focus On Wearable Computers

Four years ago I blogged about the death of the wrist watch. I personally haven’t worn a watch in – well, over 4 years. But there is one way I could easily see wearing one: Wearable Micro Computing Devices (I totally made up that category BTW). I’ve been watching what both Timex and Fossil have planned for this space and while there are a few early devices in market, I don’t think any of them have hit the right approach yet.

Today Fossil has divested its efforts in “wrist-top” computing. MetaWatch (owned by Fossil) was sold to a group of outside investors made up of some big tech industry veterans. Fossil has long been heading further into fashion and doesn’t have technology in it’s DNA. So while It’s sad to see a company fail to innovate, it’s probably best that they sold off their efforts to a group who gets tech and can take things in the right direction.

“We are very excited about the opportunities ahead, as initial shipments of the Meta Watch development system are now underway. Our unequalled experience in this new category will allow thousands of mobile application developers to quickly and easily extend applications to the wrist, helping consumers to stay connected and to stay in style when they are really mobile and on the go,” said Bill Geiser, CEO of Meta Watch.

Nothing that interesting in the press release, kind of your usual stuff. But I do find it interesting that they state that connected watches have been around since 2006. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wearing a connected watch (not that I’d know it unless they showed it to me).

So why has “wrist-top” computing been so slow to catch on? I think it’s because they’re still trying to make watches. I don’t want a watch. People who want watches, buy watches. If their desire is to break into new markets they need to quite making watches and make wearable computers. Sure they may also tell time but what doesn’t?

My HTC Wildfire S which is a pretty sub-par smartphone is almost to the size that I could wear it on my wrist. I’ve seen people (usually men) wear bigger time pieces on their wrist. I think watch makers trying to create this new market need to quit making watches. Think outside the (watch) box. MetaWatches new team is made up of some former Nokia executives. I think that’s probably a much better reference point than the watch.

I for one hope their successful because I think wearable computing is going to be great.


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About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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