// what do you think?


Rebirth of the Wristwatch: Forget Tablets and Smartphones, I Want A Micro Computing Device Strapped to My Wrist

Four years ago I noted that even before the recession hit wrist watches were dying. Who needs a wrist watch when every device you carry with you tells the time?

I personally have not worn a wrist watch in 5 or 6 years. Most people I know who wear a watch wear one because its a habit and the watch has sentimental value or they wear it as a fashion statement. They don’t wear it because they need a watch to tell time.

Smartphones nearly delivered a death blow to the wristwatch but I’m starting to think that after it’s near death experience, the humble wristwatch could come back to topple the tablet and smartphone itself. Not in this decade, but just maybe sooner than we think.

But with the adoption of (NFC) Near Field Communication, smaller and smaller computing devices, Bluetooth, and advances in speech to text and text to speech, I’m starting to see a not so distant future of computing devices that I would love to strap to my wrist. AdAge has an interview with the CMO of Timex, that’s worth a read.

There is a lot of functionality on your smartphone that you don’t need a screen for. Making phone calls is one of them but here’s some others and how they could be done:

  • Messaging: Speech to text and text to speech already make it so that I can read and compose emails, tweets, or other status updates.
  • The mobile wallet. Chip and pin technology used in Europe could easily be added to your watch. Having a card seems silly now.  Having multiple cards, seems downright stupid.
  • Remote storage sync: Why do I need to carry a USB drive with me when NFC, Bluetooth or even WIFI could sync specific folders with a storage device on my wrist. Imagine carrying files with you from your work PC, tablet, phone and home device when the files are actually stored in my watch.
  • Audio books, music, etc. And I’m not talking about those lame watches with a headphone jack in them. Serious advances in Bluetooth, headphone and mic technology need to happen.
  • Location based checkins and location based marketing (coupons). Both automated and non automated.
  • Proximity based social networking.
  • Data collection: Your watch could literally “watch” you. It could passively gather tons of data that would enable us to all turn into life-hackers - GPS, biometric, retail shopping, activity based, etc.
  • Push notifications for news alerts, reminders, SMS, etc.
  • And at the rate cameras are improving, I’m sure that will be an option.
  • Projector technology is also advancing at a pace that within 10-20 years these super computing watches will have projectors as well and who needs screens then?

Some of this is obviously just wild speculation but I think we’ll be surprised at how far it goes. I love smartphones, I have three of them. But they will soon be seen as big and cumbersome to carry all that in your pocket. Why not free your hands up by strapping it on your wrist?

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About Tac

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

  • Jeffwr

    “Chuck” is the 21st century Star Trek in terms of tech to dream about

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    @3156e5013a5f9ba770968d4db778ec80:disqus I assume that’s Chuck, the TV show? I never got into it. Might have to go back and Netflix it. 

  • http://twitter.com/JeromePineau Jerome Pineau

    Heh, as someone who comes from technology but is now implanted in the luxury watch industry as a social media guy, this article really hit home and was of very special interest - didn’t fall on deaf ears :) Especially since I just discovered this: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1104350651/tiktok-lunatik-multi-touch-watch-kits as well this morning.
    Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.layeredbyte.com/ Holden Page

    One problem: I despise wearing things on my wrist. I fear I shall never share your enthusiasm for such a future product. 

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    @holdenpage:disqus I hear Japan is already embedding chips in people’s wrists. Maybe this will work for you better? Or maybe you can bring back the pocket watch. You know with the cool chain and everything ;)  

  • http://www.layeredbyte.com/ Holden Page

    I’ll bring back the pocket watch. If anyone can pull it off, it’s me obviously :P

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