As the launch of Apple watch looms, a question comes to mind. What exactly does a user expect from a device that is worn from morning to evening. For e.g. if you compare iPhones or Samsung Phones or Nokia Lumia devices to phones of yesteryear, they do a lot.

So if I am demanding, I want my watch to do the following:
  1. Measure my fitness.
  2. Show my reminders.
  3. Let me take phone calls (Since by the time one takes the phone out of the pocket, the call has usually gone to voicemail).
  4. Play music.
  5. Unlock my front door.
  6. Arm or disarm my security system.
  7. Replace my universal remote (after all when there is a watch on my hand, why do I need to get up and grab the remote?).
  8. Open my soda bottle (Oops I forgot that bottle opener!).
  9. Show me a small projected screen (Since I don’t want to miss that touchdown of course!) to watch news or sports.
  10. Be able to withstand water and impacts without damage (After all I don’t want to take it off while playing tennis and swimming).
  11. Last forever (10 days is good for starters) or use solar charging.
Thats good for starters for the v1 version of course.
Oh and it also needs to tell time!!
Now, if it does all that, do I need a phone? Hmm..
This list looks like a watch more seen in a 007 film. Will it be a reality down the road? It’s possible. After all, if it can be envisioned, it can be done.
Paying with your watch is a nice feature. Much more convenient than taking out the wallet, then taking that card out of the wallet, paying and then keeping the receipt! All of that, without dropping anything else like maybe that lottery ticket (that by the way was picked up by someone else who won a million dollars)!
Pebble announced their competitor, the Pebble Time just a few days ago. While I was definitely disappointed that it does not include a heart rate sensor, nevertheless it will be successful. Forget the success of the Kickstarter or the fact that they have sold a lot of watches to date. Seven days charge with a color display is phenomenal. We will have to wait and see if that seven day promise holds good (I have seen three to four days without using a watch face that monitors weather etc on my Pebble Steel). Regardless three days is much much better than having to charge daily.
Without a doubt, the display on the Pebble is not going to match the Apple Watch or the Moto 360 or the LG Watch or the Microsoft Band. Still it is going to be an extremely popular watch. Because at the end of the day, what do people expect from their watch? Lets speculate realistically:
a) The watch needs to tell time first.
b) I would like to receive notifications of important text messages (Work, Family). Others can wait.
c) For these messages it would be easier if I could respond from my watch but I know I need my phone if I need to converse. Imagine trying to respond by voice for every incoming text! Background noises, data plans and just about everything else including privacy prevents us from using this method of response as a primary response. Which means… I need to take out the phone!
d) I would like to control music and select playlists etc without having to take my phone out of my pocket.
e) I want a decent battery life (seven to 10 days would be ideal but three to four days works too).
f) I definitely want it to be water proof as there is no way I am going to be able to keep water from touching the watch.
g) Color would be nice to have but not at the expense of battery life.
h) Health and fitness features (like heart rate monitor) would be nice but not a deciding factor.
The pebble watch comes close to meeting the list. Not all of it but quite close. Given time, the Apple watch will do the same as will the Moto and the LG watches.
So if I am choosing a wearable today, its good to close your eyes and think of the things that you desire the most in a watch or a watch and fitness device, rather than going with marketing buzz and “Control your world with you watch :)” plans. Who knows, the answer might not be a smart watch at all!