On smartphones, smart watches and smart glasses

by Volker Weber

I have been thinking. And I am not finished. So it's going to be a long text.

We live in a world of fascinating technology. We make things that are better than last year's things. And we constantly invent new things. Phones are now cameras. And the real cameras suddenly lack features we take for granted on phones, like geotagging or instant sharing. Phones have become full Internet terminals. And they have become agents of ourselves, that we communicate through, be it in voice, text, photo, video. They have become our companions. They have become sensors of our surroundings, they can tell if and when we move, where, and if we move enough.

Smartphones are a tremendous success, and it all started with the iPhone. Americans are still in love with it, and it holds a large market share. In other countries we have seen even bigger success with Android phones. We have not found out yet, what the perfect size for our companion is. Bigger screens are better, bigger touch faces however don't work with one hand, or better, they don't work with the opposing thumb on the one hand you are holding it with. And as those screens get bigger, the phones become bigger and hunger for more energy, which makes the battery larger. And suddenly we have tablets, and phablets, and do we still need a computer?

The thing is, your smartphone is pretty good. And next year's smartphone will only be a little bit better. And everything we have invented in terms of wearables only augments this smartphone. You put a screen on your wrist or in your face, but you are doing exactly the same things you did before. You put a sensor band on your wrist, but it does not really do more than your smartphone could do, if it was on you all the time.

We have become so attached to our smartphones — remember, they are our agents that we communicate through — that we are getting second thoughts. Are we looking too much at these things, becoming oblivious of our surroundings? This is where the smart watch or the smart glasses come to play. See, I am no longer pulling out my smartphones every two minutes — I am just checking my watch. How does that work for you, if a person looks at their watch every two minutes instead of their phone? Not at all, right? Checking your watch is a clear signal that you want to get away. How does it work for you, if a person looks away and at a screen on their glasses?

I believe we don't need more stuff that needs to be kept alive by charging it once a day. I believe we no longer need dedicated wristwatches, because we know the time. We look at our smartphones every two minutes. And chances are, if we don't, there is plenty of cues around us telling us the time.

Are we done innovating? Absolutely not. But it is going to take a huge innovation to make a better computer than the one you are holding in your hand while reading this. Chances are, you are looking at something that has a keyboard attached. If we want to leave that keyboard behind and wear this computer on our body, those computers need to understand your voice and your intentions. So they do what you want, and not what you say.

As somebody with an abundance of things I can assure you, you want as few of these as possible. Use that one smartphone you have, make it as rugged as possible, so you can go about your life without too much care for it. And if you break it, get a new one. But only if.


Bin zu ähnlichen Schlüssen gekommen. Auf die ich hier leider nicht verlinken kann.

Thomas Cloer, 2014-03-24 21:04

Ja, verlinken geht nicht mehr. Und seitdem habe ich keinen Spam mehr. Aber immer noch Kommentare. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2014-03-24 21:06

Ich finde es immer noch komisch mit meinen Geräten zu reden.
Alleine Im Auto ist das ok aber sonst ist das einfach zu ungewohnt.
Das jeder in meinem Gruppen Büro pausenlos reden würde anstatt zu tippen würde den sowieso hohen Lärmpegel auch nicht verbessern.
Wir werden sehen wo die Reise hingeht.

Patrick Bohr, 2014-03-24 21:54

Büro mit Tür dran!

Stephan H. Wissel, 2014-03-25 01:28

Wer mit dem Rad durch die City fährt: seit wenigen Jahren laufen uns Fußgänger vors Rad die absolut gebannt auf kleine Glastäfelchen starren, am besten noch mit Knopf im Ohr. Einige werden jedes Jahr von der Straßenbahn plattgemacht. Die Menschheit wird auch diese Herausforderung an die Evolution überleben.

Bernhard Kockoth, 2014-03-25 09:07

Werden wir. Man suche auf Youtube nach "BlackBerry Helmet".

Volker Weber, 2014-03-25 09:25

Sehr schön geschrieben, deckt sich sehr mit meiner Meinung.

Ingo Seifert, 2014-03-25 09:56

This: I believe we don't need more stuff that needs to be kept alive by charging it once a day.

I wear a wristwatch and still use it to check the time. For me it's still faster than pulling a phone out of my pocket. And you only have to change the bettery every few years. So I'm really interested in how the battery life will be on smartwatches. But maybe there will be some features that will lead us (or me) to accept the fact that I need to start charging my watch regularly too. We also had (dumb) mobile phones which would last more than a week on one charge. But now we're happy with smartphones that just barely make it through the day.

Joachim Bode, 2014-03-25 09:57

The suitable jewelry for men is a (wedding) ring, a watch and cufflinks. if worn hidden, you could add a necklace.

So why should you want to replace a dedicated watch by a toy without style?

The next device beyond your smartphone should accomplish the classic wardrobe to leave the nerd corner. (and it's not the smart glass)

Kai Nehm, 2014-03-25 10:25

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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