Monday, July 28, 2014

Smart Watches Not Ready for Prime Time

They look cool but they are not ready for prime time.
I take a few weeks off and the entire world looks like it is falling apart.  Israelis and Palestinians are killing each other again.  The saber rattling in the Ukraine has claimed the lives of innocent airline passengers and my Chicago White Sox’s continue to grapple with mediocrity.  It makes me grateful that I can concentrate on my work and my business.  This week on the blog I would like to discuss something which is all the rage; mobile computing.

It has been no secret that I have been spending the last three years talking about how two major trends are changing computing and how you run your business.  This first was the growth of cloud computing which makes it possible to manage your IT infrastructure for pennies on the dollar.  The other is the rise of mobile computing where smart phones and tablets are taking over the computing world.  As part of this trend it the rise of Google Glass and other wearable computers. 

If you are not familiar, Google Glass was a skunk works project which makes it possible to wear a computer on your face like a pair of eyeglasses.  The user can record video and surf the net just by using your glasses.  It is expensive and the users of the product have created a tremendous amount of resentment among those who aren't decked out with the devices.  As a business owner you can see the potential for the product.  Having people in your warehouse scan bar codes using glasses only.  Truck drivers could get directions beamed to their glasses.  Using facial recognition technology police could use them pull up information about criminals.  Sadly, this technology is still in its infant stages so these dreams will have to wait until the Google Glass gets cheaper and they have more useful applications.

This brings me to the next big thing in technology.  Smart watches are now being debuted for consumer public and it is clear that while they are a good next step they are not ready for prime time.  First, the products require an Android device to connect to so they cannot work on their own but rather behave like Bluetooth devices.  Next the devices are big, heavy and clunky.  You can wear the watch but it looks more like a phone strapped to your wrist than a watch.  Finally, the devices are power hungry so they need to be charged with the same frequency as your phone. 

These devices are going to be great but right now I recommend that you wait until the technology is perfected.  They remind me of an old Saturday Night live parody commercial from the 1970's for the “Chromega” digital watch; in order to tell time you needed three sets of hands to operate it. 

I am a big fan of technology and the next big thing but I am going to wait a while before I get a smart watch.
Until next time.