I was reading this NYMag article about smartwatches and this is what I have to say about the author’s views.
There’s a new project on Kickstarter, the wildly popular crowdfunding website. It’s called Pebble and it’s breaking some records. The goal of the project to get started was $100,000 and as of the writing of this post, the project has $6,193,523 of funding pledged from people.
The watch, made with an e-paper display, the same display that the basic line of Kindle devices uses, is extremely customizable, correctly priced (at $150, it’s the same as the Sony smartwatch and probably does more) and as you can see from the Kickstarter page, has gained the love of 42,000 early bird backers.
Sounds awesome doesn’t it?
Yes, it’s got great features like an amazing choice of apps, analog or digital or typographic watch face, Android remote SMS, email and phone call notifications (iOS doesn’t support those features yet), caller ID, accelerometer based functionality, an ARM processor for near-infinite modding capabilities, bluetooth and even a 7-day battery life (ZOMG!), but all these features are over shadowed by one tiny detail –
The watch and it’s entire ecosystem is based on the concept that you are using it in the day(light)!
Remember how irritating it is when you want to read from your Kindle but the light is just not enough to let you read? Remember how that wonderful afternoon in the sun with your favorite books turned sour as soon as evening hit the valley?
That’s what’s gonna happen with the Pebble smart watch over and over again. You’ll need to find just that spot that works. You’ll have to move to the only light in the room as soon as a phone call comes in, just so that you can read the caller ID before you decide what to do with the call.
What I’ve pointed out doesn’t seem to be of much concern to those funding the watch, in fact, when I tried to explain this issue to someone on twitter, I got it handed to me on a platter! (Apologies @mcowger if you didn’t want to be highlighted!)
I’m not saying don’t buy the watch. In fact, if you’ve got the dough, put it in right now before the project funding stops on May 18th. You’ll even get the watch cheaper than market price ($99 instead of $150) so it really is a good deal, just make sure you switch on the lights in your bedroom before you look at your watch at night!
After-note: The Pebble manufacturers added a back-light to the watch to combat the useless-in-the-night issue, probably as an afterthought, so, I as an afterthought, am going to talk about the Sony smart watch that came out the same time as the Pebble project was launched. Don’t be surprised because it’s called Smartwatch or that it runs Android. Or the fact that despite being technically superior than Pebble (multi-touch color OLED display), it’s going to sell much less.
That’s all folks!