There is still deliberation about the usefulness of the smartwatch due to the general need it has to depend on the smartphone, and that its main function is to receive notifications that reach the phone. It also gives the impression that the main buyers of this product are people who love technology and new trends, leaving a critical mass of users far behind that would give the smartwatch the category of consumer product.
But although the connection with the phone may be its main reason for being right now, an analysis that implies a broader reflection is evaded.
Although there are already smart watches with great independence from the smartphone because they can incorporate a SIM card or include GPS, the truth is that the most important feature at the moment is to support various functions of the smartphone to handle many everyday utilities. Perhaps the biggest incentive to buy a smartwatch is its ability to measure physical activity, therefore, athletes will be the ones who get the most out of these devices, with the added advantage of having more versatility than a dedicated watch.
But it is the notifications of the services that we usually use such as email, messages or social networks, and the possibility of making and receiving calls, that make the smartwatch exceptionally useful.
Truly, with these functionalities, the smartwatch is already a very advantageous item, a perfect complement to the smartphone that provides us with comfort and discretion. It is really valuable to receive the notification of a phone call on your wrist and to be able to answer it while driving or having your hands busy doing anything else. The strength of the smartwatch here is its size and availability.
In the same way, being notified about something and being able to see it just by looking at your wrist – without having to take your phone out of your bag or look for it wherever you are – provides the freedom, comfort and agility that sometimes makes small things easier. Although this was the only task of the smartwatch, it would be worth its acquisition.
Some of the biggest complaints about the current smartwatch are the lack of independence of the phone, the small screen and the short duration of its battery. Regarding the latter, we will all more or less agree on the tiredness produced by being pending to recharge the phone daily as to add another device that needs the same or similar regularity in its charge; something even more irritating to be aware that any conventional watch can run at least a year on battery power.
As for the screen, why does it seem too small? In fact, it is usually greater than that of a normal watch, therefore, the comparison is established against that of the smartphone, and this is not logical to do because each device has its use. It is as absurd to have a smartphone with a two-inch screen as a smartwatch of four or five . Let’s not forget that it is a device designed like a wristwatch and, logically, its design is subject to the size of our wrist.
It is clear that the question of the size of the devices is something that has brought us crazy, and the taste has changed over time.
In the past, appreciation for a mobile phone increased the smaller its size, and in the smartphone era, at first it seemed crazy to use five-inch screens. You have to have one thing very clear if you want to buy a smartwatch : it has its benefits and they are different from those of the smartphone. You cannot pretend to watch videos on a watch screen, or read long texts, much less write or dictate them. Likewise, it cannot be claimed that the utility of the smartwatch as a touch device is as pleasant as the large screen of the phone.
If you are going to buy a smartwatch, be aware of what it is for right now, its reason for being. You can listen to music, use the GPS, receive notifications and answer them in some cases, and use it in isolation from the phone depending on the features offered by the model. But don’t expect me to replace it; at least completely. In the same way that you do not expect the remote control of the television or the stereo to replace the device that it serves. And you will agree that it is an essential accessory.
Why is there so much insistence that a smartwatch should be totally independent of the smartphone when it is basically intended as a complement?
It seems that nobody remembers the main utility that PDAs had in their time: to complement the desktop computer. They were a type of digital assistant or electronic calendar whose value resided in its portability and autonomy to manage appointments, notes, tasks and files, among other things, but which reached its maximum potential by synchronizing it with the computer.
The PDA was an extension of the desktop or laptop PC as the smartwatch is an extension of the smartphone . And just as the electronic calendar was not very useful for writing long texts with the necessary stylus that its resistive screens needed, the smartwatch is impractical for tasks that are best done from the phone. In the same way that the PDA was autonomous for certain functions, the smartwatch is for others.
I remember the times of the devices with Palm OS or Windows CE prepared as standard to manage the time and notes but without being able to connect to the internet more than through a phone that had a connection and an infrared port to communicate. The synchronization of the data with the PC was done by cable and with specific software. And it wasn’t uncomfortable, just the opposite. It was what was and had its use. It cost nothing to put the PDA in its base and synchronize the data. These devices allowed you to take your calendar with you along with many other additional functions. Its benefit was well known and its limitations were assumed.
Today’s smartphones are actually yesterday’s PDAs with phone features, an internet connection and more advanced features. But today it seems that we want it all and we establish unfair comparisons, such as the screen of the smart watch versus that of the smartphone or the usefulness of the smartwatch as a file manager versus the phone’s capacity for the same. We don’t usually compare all this between the smartphone and the computer.
In the same way that the old PDAs could be used as an alarm clock without depending on any other device, the smartwatch will give you the time absolutely independently. You shouldn’t ask the elm for pears and be aware of its usefulness. Another thing is that it does not serve our purposes or we consider it unnecessary, but you have to know the type of product it is.
Anyone who reads this about PDAs without having known and used them, may be surprised by my claims about their great usefulness, and think we are talking about technological prehistory. The reason is that the immediacy and versatility of today was obviously not what existed not so many years ago. Who would think today of synchronizing the data on their smartphone over a cable and a program when cloud services and Wi-Fi connections are available? The truth is that it did not take any time to do it but the fact of connecting a cable seems to us a nuisance today.
Precisely for this reason, due to our tendency towards minimum effort and the search for comfort and speed, the smartwatch is such a useful watch , whose limitations do not tarnish the valuable service it offers us. The value of being at a meeting or at a meal and not having to take the huge cell phone out of your bag to see the notification that just arrived is priceless. Just look at our smart watch – which has vibrated to notify us of the warning – for a second to see if any action is required from us. And no one has to know what you are doing.
Think about it: You have avoided taking your phone out of the bag, unlocking it, consulting it, turning it off and saving it again. This is immediacy, service, discretion and education. Yes, education; Because it is often tiring for some people to pay more attention to the mobile, interrupt or stop listening to the conversation often to consult their smartphone. We live in the hyperconnected era that often disconnects from the closest.
Imagine now another everyday situation. You are at home preparing food and you have left the smartphone in the living room because you are charging it or because the kitchen is not the most appropriate place to have it. Then you hear the ringing sound of a call or an announcement. Due to our dependence on mobile, we will normally see what the sound corresponds to – unless you cannot leave the pan at that moment – interrupting what we are doing and losing those seconds that today seem so important to us.
And they may not actually be, but the interruption is always annoying and psychologically stressful. Well, with a modern smartwatch on the wrist we save all those inconveniences; just turn it to see if our intervention is necessary at that time, or we can answer if it is a call and our watch model allows it. Fantastic!
The utility of the smartwatch in the future
There are numerous smartwatches with the ability to use a SIM card, thereby increasing their benefits while also becoming independent from the smartphone. Perhaps the biggest drawback they have right now is the battery life and the absence of truly successful applications, with features that make them essential to use mainly on the watch.
But we must be aware that the moment in which the smartwatch is right now is in constant development and its future projection is very promising. In itself it is already a wonderful achievement: a wristwatch with connection to a phone that is more a pocket computer, with added functions and designs for all tastes.
The profits of the smartwatch in the future can include from electronic payments to the management of household appliances and elements of the home , through the remote management of car functions. The small screen size that some criticize becomes a virtue in reality, since it does not take up more space than the diameter of the wrist; you will always know where you have your device and it will be safer than the smartphone. Manufacturers and software developers are still working to improve the advancement of smart smartwatches, and it seems they just need to find that feature, that distinctive feature that makes them a must-have for most.
The advantages and disadvantages of using a smartwatch
After what we have seen so far we can summarize the advantages of the smart watch and its disadvantages at the moment.
- Dispense with the smartphone in everyday uses such as seeing notifications.
- Immediate to be aware of what is happening.
- Social discretion.
- Versatility of use for its multiple functions.
- Phone battery saving.
- Efficient time management.
- Pleasant and varied sports use.
- Ubiquitous management of our music.
- Short battery life.
- Lack of innovative applications.
- Little standardization in the loading process.
- Lack of compatibility with all phones.
- High price of some models.
By way of conclusion to end this article on the usefulness of the smartwatch, I would like to highlight the importance of knowing what the reason for this type of device is. Whoever wants to buy a smartwatch must recognize in it, not only an exercise in style of an incredible and novel accessory, but the derivation of many functions of the smartphone to facilitate its management.
Depending on the use that each one makes of his smartphone, he will be able to choose one model or another, considering that, in any case, it is a watch that he can always use as such but with features that can be really useful at any time.
It is a mistake to consider the smartwatch as a substitute for the smartphone . Even if it works completely independently it cannot replace it, as the phone cannot supply it.
The smart mobile watch has come to change many things. I sincerely believe that the usefulness of the smartwatch is undeniable and that its moment of hatching will come sooner rather than later to make it a necessity as the phone is now.
But it is not necessary to wait for that qualitative leap to buy a smartwatch, because it already has the characteristics that make it an attractive, beneficial and innovative device to enjoy it. Technology changes rapidly and depriving yourself now of something that works perfectly for the task assigned to you, just to wait for news, is to waste a time of delight that is not recovered.
The smartwatch, in addition to communicating the events of our digital life, reminds us that time is money.