Tag Archives | smartwatches

Google’s Android Wear Smartwatch Software: An Interesting, Unfinished Idea

Even if you like this concept, waiting makes sense
Samsung's Gear Live smartwatch

Samsung’s Gear Live smartwatch

Some product categories are easy to review. Smartphones? Until something comes along which redefines them as radically as the first iPhone did in 2007, it’s pretty obvious how to judge them, because there’s a general consensus on what sort of capabilities such a gadget should have.

Not so, however, with smartwatches.

Sure, scads of tiny computers you wear on your wrist have been released over the past couple of years, but the industry is still thrashing out what’s important: what features a smartwatch should have, what technologies it should use, what tradeoffs it should make involving size, weight, and battery life.

No two models reflect the same vision. And if you’re not yet convinced that the world needs smartwatches at all, you’re not alone.

With new smartwatches based on Google’s Android Wear software, however, the vision is pretty clear. Android Wear is all about rolling notifications from smartphone apps and features from Google’s excellent Google Now information service into a form which you can check without fumbling for your smartphone. (Google says that typical Android phone owners check their phones 125 times a day.)

The concept makes sense to me–not as an epoch-shifting gadget in the tradition of the PC, smartphone, and tablet, but at least as a worthy phone accessory for busy geeks. Judging from my time with it so far, though, the reality doesn’t yet live up to its potential.

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This Just In: Apple Hiring a Swiss Watch Salesman Has Nothing to Do With the iWatch’s Country of Origin

Swiss watchWhen I read reports on unannounced Apple products, I often come away confused–but I don’t think it’s because I’m a numbskull.

Case in point: CNBNC has a story up by Jenny Cosgrave reporting that Apple has hired an unnamed sales director from Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer as it gets ready to roll out the wearable gizmo which Cosgrave, and most everybody else, is calling the iWatch.

(Update: 9toMac’s Mark Gurman reports that the TAG salesguy in question is Patrick Pruniaux, VP of sales and marketing.)

Fine. Interesting scoop. But here’s the part where I get confused:

Apple’s plans to hire Swiss watch experts are an attempt to market its product as “Swiss made”, which senior luxury goods analyst at Bernstein, Mario Ortelli, said is a label that is synonymous with quality when it comes to watches.

Um, hiring a sales director from a Swiss company doesn’t mean your watch is Swiss made. Actually, hiring an infinite number of employees of Swiss watch companies wouldn’t let you make that claim. Unless those employees stay in Switzerland and, you know, make your device. I can’t imagine why anyone would believe otherwise.

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At Last, Apple’s Wearable Enters the “Yes, It’s Coming Soon” Phase

iWatch

Exclusive Technologizer visualization of likely appearance of Apple wearable device

At first, people idly wonder whether Apple might enter an emerging category of gadgets. Then there are rumors that the company is entering the category–but they come from sources without a great track record for accuracy, or involve alleged facts which don’t ring true.

And then at some point someone trustworthy reports that the new Apple product really is on its way within the forseeable future. That’s when it’s reasonable to assume that it’s not a mass hallucination or a hoax.

The cycle happened with the iPhone and iPad. And now it’s happened with the wearable gizmo that everybody calls the iWatch.

John Paczkowski of Re/code, who’s on my exceedingly short list of reporters whose Apple scuttlebutt I reflexively believe to be true, says that Apple is planning to ship a wearable device in October. He doesn’t have a lot of detail beyond that, but does say–although it scarcely needs saying–that said device will hook into the HealthKit fitness platform which Apple announced during its WWDC keynote.

Yuichiro Kanematsu of Nikkei Asian Review is also reporting that the wearable will arrive in October, and provides some more color–although as is often the case with stories about unannounced Apple products, it isn’t always clear where the reporting stops and the speculation starts:

Though the details of services have yet to be released, specs for the new product are being finalized, according to industry sources. It will likely use a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen and collect health-related data, such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose and blood oxygen levels. It will also allow users to read messages sent by smartphones.

Apple appears confident of the new product. According to a parts manufacturer, it plans monthly commercial output of about 3-5 million units, which exceeds the total global sales of watch-like devices last year.

I’m not convinced that everything in Kanematsu’s piece is automatically accurate. For instance, that “likely” gives me pause, in part because it’s not clear whether it’s Kanematsu’s sources who are deeming the tidbits that follow to be probable, or whether it’s Kanematsu’s own guess. And it isn’t even clear which of the tidbits the “likely” applies to.

I am, however, officially assuming henceforth that Apple plans to unveil a wearable device this fall. Almost everything about the product remains mysterious, but even just feeling confident that it’s fact rather than fantasy is a big deal.


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