Smartwatch makers would like us to think their tiny wearable devices represent the next technology wave.
Maybe. Yet for now smartwatches are not ready for prime time. The current smartwatch crop is unlikely to break out from a geek niche.
Smartwatches have to get past two barriers. First, they are not useful enough to compensate for the cost, effort and the physical space they take up.
Some way to go
Second, tiny touch screens may not be the way to go. A quick look at what has happened to smartphone screens shows that people want bigger, better displays.
Apple may have something special, er, up its sleeve to change this should it decide to launch a smart watch.
In the meantime, one thing could push smart watches into the mainstream: Voice recognition.
Smartwatch makers need something like Apples Siri, only more so. Or, if you prefer, like a swept-up version of the speech commands used with Google Glass.
Smartwatch makers need to use voice
Instead of squinting at a tiny screen for information, a next generation wearable device can speak the information. Today’s speech technology is good enough for this to sound almost natural.
Decent voice recognition means no more struggling with swipe gestures on a tiny display. No more ridiculously trying to type on a minuscule onscreen keyboard.
Now here’s the rub. When the screen becomes less essential, the device doesn’t have to sit on your wrist. It could become a badge — like the communicators Star Fleet officers use in the Star Trek TV shows.
You could ask questions: What is the time of the next meeting, when does the next train arrive, what is the square root of 37?