Just from surveying the bare wrists of people around you in any public situation, it becomes obvious that watches have been phasing out in favour of the smartphone. It makes sense—smartphones, recently, have offered much more than any simple watch could hope to. They have messaging, calendars, apps, the Internet and the time is on the display screen with one click of a button. Plus they make a great accessory at concerts. The sea of swaying lighters has, of late, been replaced by one of countless glaring login screens. Why would anyone invest in a watch?
As it turns out, they may be phasing back in. Sony’s new SmartWatch offers the apps traditionally associated with the smartphone, and you can read your incoming emails and texts without fishing in your bag every time you think you’ve heard a buzz. It’s a hands-free device that looks less obnoxious than those Bluetooth headsets.
This doesn’t mean that you should throw out your smartphone. The SmartWatch doesn’t include a keyboard, so you have to carry both around with you if you want to answer emails and texts.
It’s meant more as an accessory to the smartphone, allowing more of your endeavours to be done hands free. This watch allows you to preview your messages, ignore phone calls, conduct hands-free calls and use voice commands to draft messages.
The SmartWatch looks like a tiny touch screen phone on a strap, and offers messaging, social media and a calendar. The watch vibrates gently when you get a notification, which offers some improvement on the smartphone—many a text has been missed as a result of a phone being left at the bottom of a purse. Also, for the fashion conscious, the straps can be switched out and customized for personal taste.
It’s hard to say how well the watches will catch on. Watches, as a fashion statement, generally tend to look more classic, in the style of the Rolex or the Omega. Expensive analog watches are generally coveted and viewed as a symbol of status and wealth in the fashion world. The digital watch has recently been used mostly for sport and recreation, so it is not certain if it will be able to make the switch to the business and urban environment.
The other issue is the price. SmartWatches, although less expensive than designer brands, may not be snapped up immediately because of their price ranging from around $200 to $400 USD. While the device may prove to be a useful accessory, the question remains whether the price is reasonable in relation to the menial tasks it will accomplish.