Pebble Steel, Et Al.



Yesterday Pebble announced the new design of their watch, the Pebble Steel. While I do think it looks nicer than the original (which isn’t saying much), I’m still uninterested.

My disinterest with smart watches like the Pebble (or the Gear, or the MetaWatch, or…) is three-fold:

  • For one, I don’t feel the need to be more connected to notifications (if anything, it’s the opposite). The things that the Pebble does best — such as notifying me of an incoming text message or phone call, telling me the outside temperature, etc. — don’t appeal to me.

  • And then on the flip side, for things like the Pebbles new apps such as Yelp, why not just use the app on your phone? Is it really that much faster and easier and more convenient to use the little buttons on your watch? I could be wrong here, but if the Pebble needs a smartphone to work (the apps can’t get their data without using the connected phone’s network signal) then what is the advantage of navigating a miniature version of the app on your wrist? Perhaps it’s more polite than pulling out your phone?

  • And then, not to mention, the watches themselves just don’t look all that cool or attractive to me.

People are saying that the trend today (and the future?) is wearable computing, and that may be true. But in my mind there is still a long road ahead.

Smart watches, smart glasses, smart bracelets, and smart tie stays (or whatever) need to reach a point where they are simultaneously more useful and friction-free than just using the phone that’s already in our pockets as well as being attractive and cool to wear.

The FitBit and FuelBand are good examples of this. They are subtle and do/did something that our iPhones didn’t: track our steps and movement throughout the day. However, our phones are getting more and more capable every year, and so wearable devices such as the FitBit also need to provide an advantage that our phones won’t make obsolete.