back to article What's it like using the LG G smartwatch and Android Wear? Let us tell YOU

Wearable computing has been generating a lot of buzz ever since Pebble and others kickstarted the market last year and now the world's most popular smartphone OS builder has skin in the game and serious hardware partners. LG G Smartwatch running Android Wear LG G Smartwatch running Android Wear For months now the world + …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. SVV Silver badge

    You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

    Which presumably does everything and more that this thing does with more screen real estate. And also tells you the time.

    Genius.

    1. stucs201

      Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

      I think these will make more sense when they can move the 'brains' to the watch rather than the phone. The phone can then become a dumb screen which you can leave behind if you're going somewhere you only need basic functions and don't want to carry a large device in your pocket.

    2. photobod

      Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

      It's the most logical and practical way to do this kind of stuff, and it mirrors the way desktop and laptop computing evolved.

      Think of the phone in your pocket as a portable computer. This and other wearables are just peripherals, providing additional inputs and outputs.

      There is a huge potential cost advantage with this approach, which helps to mitigate the - at present - limited extra features provided. As uses are found and the market grows, costs will reduce and the balance between price and functionality will shift.

      Most people will understandably baulk at spending £200-£1000 on wearables like a smart watch, Glass or similar, because they don't presently see a need which justifies the cost. Over time, a range of cheap, functional wearables might cost £30 -£50 each and you'd choose which extra functionality you want, to suit your individual lifestyle. Those would be much more saleable devices.

      But that can't happen if every device tries to duplicate the power and functionality of your smart phone, because they'll always cost far more to build, be far more expensive to buy, be far more power hungry, more bulky and more awkward to use.

      Now do you see the logic?

      1. stucs201

        Re: photobod

        I see what you're saying. I think we sort of agree in that we both only want one main device, we just disagree which one it should be.

        For me a smartphone is simply too big to carry everywhere (I know not everyone agrees on this). Whereas a watch strapped to the wrist is a very convinient way of carrying tech - I've had a watch strapped to my wrist almost constantly (showers excepted) for most of the last 36 years. I hardly notice its there.

        Of the various bits of interconnected tech I just see the watch as the easiest to carry - so it makes sense (to me) to put the brains there. Larger pocketable screens (smartphone replacements), face mounted screens (google glass etc.) and other less portable output devices (e.g. TVs) become just screens that all connect to the same device. If you're going with the destop/laptop analogy then the equivalent would be ditching the desktop in favour of a laptop, but keeping a docking station on the desk.

        (as a side benefit if the watch was the expensive part with the processing and data in it then it'd make the most valuable part the part which was hardest to steal)

        Unfortunately technology isn't quite at the point where I think its practical to do it the way I want. If even without the CPU grunt in the watch it needs charging once a day then its a long way off where I'd consider it usable.

      2. PassingStrange

        Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

        I'm still massively to be convinced. All the wearable tech to date is clever and fascinating, but it's also firmly stuck at the "Hey, isn't our great new idea cool?" stage as far as saleable products that the market is really likely to want are concerned. Smart watches in particular look like a solution looking for a problem that isn't there to be solved. And the sobering truth is that the last 40 years or so are a positive elephant's graveyard of novel, technically sound products that died stillborn because no-one actually needed them.

        *Will* people find that they need smart watches? Well - my money, at least, is agin it. I'd point to the *huge* range of apps already available for smart phones. I therefore find it telling that, despite a *vast* range of ideas to trawl through, so far the companies developing them don't seem able to find a single thing to show their new babies doing that seems remotely calculated to get the average person excited. OK, sure, I understand that no-one expects them to have the killer app at their fingertips - but are you really telling me that everyone thought about everything they already use their smart phone for, and the very best thing they could think of to put onto a small screen on everyone's wrists were social media alerts? Ouch.

        It's hard to avoid the conclusion that, however technically clever smart watches might be, as a market it's almost certainly going nowhere.

      3. BillG
        Facepalm

        Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

        Now do you see the logic?

        "Logic" - you kept using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

        Technology during the mobile age has been CONVERGENT. Wearables and this "smart watch" are DIVERGENT.

        Do you see the flaw in your logic?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

      You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

      Which presumably does everything and more that this thing does with more screen real estate. And also tells you the time.

      Genius.

      Yes, but my Android phone is in my pocket while the watch would be on my wrist and glancing at that (as I currently do with my casio watch to tell the time) is a bit quicker to do that pull phone out of pocket, flip open case, look at it, close case, put back into pocket. Also, if phone rang while I was driving etc it would be much easier and safer to glance at alert on wrist to see who was calling than get phone out which could also get points on my license ... and those points don't mean prizes!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

        "Yes, but my Android phone is in my pocket"

        Mines in my top pocket and almost as easy to access as my watch.

        "Also, if phone rang while I was driving"

        Bluetooth link to car audio system and phone in a cradle where it's visible.

        So, basically, different use cases for different people.

        Personally, I'm not seeing a good use case for me yet.

        IMO a "super watch" either is tethered and therefore dumb as shit with an e-ink display to give me at least a month of life from a charge or it's not tethered at all so that I don't need the separate phone and works at least all day before needing a re-charge.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

        Integrated Bluetooth car phone with a dash screen and voice recognition, also a clock.

        Ugly Andriod watch, no thank you

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I want to wear a watch that tells people something about me, rather than a watch that tells me something about them.

    5. Omniaural

      Re: You need to carry an Android phone with you in order to use it?

      What I want to know is whether the watch is smart enough to tell not just whether you're walking or running but when you're jacking off as well. Could skew the figures a bit!

  2. Hud Dunlap
    FAIL

    Water resistant doesn't cut it

    Are we talking heavy rain, spilled drink? For that much money it is too much of a risk.

    1. Sensi

      Re: Water resistant doesn't cut it

      The LG G is certified IP67, i.e.:

      - Totally protected against dust

      - Protected against the effect of immersion between 15 cm and 1 meter (test duration: 30 minutes).

      Unless you want to submerge it for more than half an hour or at more than 1 meter under water, it must be certified enough for your water resistance concerns...

      1. Hud Dunlap
        Thumb Up

        Re: Water resistant doesn't cut it @ Sensi

        Thanks for the info. Yes that is good enough.

        1. Hud Dunlap
          Facepalm

          Re: Water resistant doesn't cut it @ Sensi

          A thumbs down for saying thank you? I don't get it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: don't get it

            I don't get why you have 5 thumbs down for asking a reasonable question. There's nothing strange as folk they say

            1. Steven Raith

              Re: don't get it

              Anonymous Cow Heard - I'd imagine he got five thumbs down for not reading the bloody article.

              "There are no buttons on the outside of the case, available in black or white, which LG says is dust-proof and waterproof to a depth of 1 metre (IP67 rating)."

              Which clearly states the information he was looking for.

              1. NotWorkAdmin

                Re: don't get it

                Agreed on point one. Second post...the surest way to get thumbs down around here is to use the phrase "thumbs down" in your post. Try it and see.

                On topic, there's simply no way I'm parting with my Casio in exchange for something I have to faff about with charging every day. I already have something for that.

  3. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    scratches?

    Watches get bumped and knocked far more than phone screens, which is why I've chosen a wristwatch with sapphire glass. How scratch-resistant are the current range of smart watches?

    1. stucs201

      Re: scratches?

      On the other hand watches get dropped less often than phones.

  4. Captain DaFt

    I'm a bit disappointed in the LG model

    Previously, they offered a wristwatch that was a cellphone;

    http://www.lg.com/uk/mobile-phones/lg-GD910-watch-phone

    and in my opinion, looked better than this one.

    Unfortunately, they seem to have pulled that model in favor of this one.

    /petulant "I wanted to look like Dick Tracy!" petulant/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm a bit disappointed in the LG model

      "/petulant "I wanted to look like Dick Tracy!" petulant/"

      Wear any "smartwatch", and in my humble opinion they'll have granted the first half of your wish.

      1. VinceH

        Re: I'm a bit disappointed in the LG model

        Based on either a word or a letter count, that's considerably more than half!

  5. Spindreams

    I don't see the point

    Before I had a mobile I had a wristwatch to tell me the time, now I use my phone to tell me the time (and much more) and I haven't worn a wristwatch in 15 years, why would I now want a wristwatch to do less than what my phone does, require me to still carry my phone and look fugly at the same time.

    My phone is in my pocket and that's pretty easy to access. The only way I would wear a wristwatch again is if it looked fantastic, something like this maybe https://www.behance.net/gallery/Smartwatch-Concept/14929833

    1. Salts

      Re: I don't see the point

      I have a nice watch, I always wear it when out at meetings, anyway last week I was in a meeting and wondered about the time, pulled out my phone.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Timmay

      Re: So what are the reasons to have one?

      Oh, as a manufacturer of smartwatches, I didn't realise you alone represented all of humanity.

      My apologies, I'll go away and create something else, and also let Pebble know - though given they only sold 400,000 smartwatches last year, they're probably already aware.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what are the reasons to have one?

      "I don't use Facebook or Twatter, so I don't know why they exist."

      "I don't see the point in smartwatches, so I'm going to read articles about them and post negative comments against them"

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: So what are the reasons to have one?

        You're missing the point.

        The reason to have a smartwatch is... to have a smartwatch.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. dogged
          Stop

          Re: So what are the reasons to have one?

          It's pretty simple. I don't want a new car right now so I don't read the occasional reviews and tell everyone that I neither want nor need one because clearly, some people do.

          This is called "not judging everyone else's needs by your own" and it's a thing that most people who aren't hopelessly autistic pick up pretty quickly. Usually before they can type. I don't know what went wrong with you.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    apps

    They're coming. I work for one of the launch partners (viewranger) and our app won't be in the store until the 7th though Google has it now. Being a pebble owner the devices look very interesting though I don't think they add a lot compared to a pebble so far.

    Use cases still are pretty niche but in the case of our app it makes perfect sense to be able to see your upcoming directions on your wrist rather than having to pull out a phone just to check. Useful but not exactly a game changing device.

  8. Goat Jam

    No

    Just no, and not just because it is uglier than those first gen digital watches that were all the rage for about 5 minutes in the early 80's either.

    A watch that needs constant attention (recharging) who would want that?

    Also, I still have to cart my phone around anyway?

    What need are these so-called "smart watches" meant to address?

  9. Uffish

    I don't have a smartphone...

    ... but would it work with an android pc in my backpack?

    1. Hardcastle the ancient

      Re: I don't have a smartphone...

      Only if you go round with a sim-equipped laptop switched on in your backpack. Since that's unlikely on at least two fronts, then no

      1. Uffish

        Re: laptop switched on all day

        Yeah, I should have thought of that. And a giant watch linked to a giant phablet is also a no (for me anyway).

  10. twilkins

    How is the display in sunlight?

    The strong point of the Pebble is the fact that the display is very readable in sunlight. The most useful application of a smartwatch in my life would be when I am away from my home or office and my phone is in my pocket or bag - so I don't miss notifications and check the time without getting my phone out like a pocket watch.

    Battery life of a day kind of kills it for me as well, because you know that there will be a "heavy day" when the battery dies at 4:30pm.

  11. Spicer

    Pebble

    I'll keep my Pebble (steel) watch, thank you very much.

    I love the fact that it's much more understated than all the smartwatches coming up.

    I don't want a colour touch screen on my wrist and I want something small enough too be inconspicuous.

    As people have rightly pointed out, you're still going to carry your phone, if not in your pocket within the reaches of a BT connection, and this is the device you're going to use for anything that requires more than a quick glance.

    What I use my Pebble for is to throw quick glances to a subset list of notifications (filtered by myself) sent by my phone: SMS, calendar reminders, emails, etc

    Oh, and the charger is a simple USB cable and the watch is waterproof to 5ATM

  12. Tim Roberts 1

    Oh my god why did you buy that?

    The last comment from my good wife when I bought a binary watch. Why would I do that? Well I love my maths and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Smart watch? No don't think so! My watch is on my wrist primarily for me to see what time it is. No I don't need to know who has "liked" me or my post, and I have never had an email that I must respond to immediately or the known universe will disappear. So hell no, I am not and will not ever be in the market for any smartwatch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh my god why did you buy that?

      "The last comment from my good wife when I bought a binary watch. Why would I do that? Well I love my maths and it seemed like a good idea at the time."

      "Seemed like a good idea at the time" is the default answer for all expenses' questioning by the wife.

      It is also the default answer to "why did you marry her?".

      (just joking -- but posting as anonymous just in case).

  13. Sean Houlihane

    Want standalone, or at least wifi

    This really does look like a step backwards compared with the (almost working) truesmart - being able to read and reply to massages from anywhere in the house or garden without carrying my phone all the time is a genuine benefit. Of course there is a simplicity and battery life tradeoff - tethered and notification only is much easier for the media to understand...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Want standalone, or at least wifi

      You want a stand-alone wristwatch that can receive and display messages? The 1990s had one made by Swatch - effectively, it was just a pager in a wristwatch. It could only display numbers, not alphabetical characters, so some youths used codes such as '1664' for 'pub'.

    2. Franklin
      Coat

      Re: Want standalone, or at least wifi

      "being able to read and reply to massages from anywhere in the house or garden without carrying my phone all the time is a genuine benefit."

      I've always been able to reply to massages without a phone, myself.

      Badum-bum.

    3. asiaseen

      Re: Want standalone, or at least wifi

      I always like to respond to massages...anywhere

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Integrated Strap?

    Then it is a total and abject failure in my eyes.

    I have huge wrists. The bones are 50% larger than the average. Normal watch straps aren't anywhere long enough to fit me.

    Anything that is meant to be worn on the wrist and has a builtin strap is a dead duck as far as I'm concerned.

    Yes I know I'm a neanderthal so you don't need to add comments to that effect.

    Now if this was available as a nice pocket watch in a proper 'hunter' case, I might be interested.

    I know that this isn't cool but it is about the only way I'd ever own one.

    1. Hope Spirals

      Re: Integrated Strap?

      proper 'hunter' case...

      Excellent, I'd buy one even though it's tricky to keep balanced on the wrist. But isn't that just an iPhone with the patented rounded corners taken to the extreme?

    2. Timmay

      Re: Integrated Strap?

      Not sure where you got "integrated strap" from.

      From the article: "The watch's strap is a rather ugly grey plastic thing, but the device can use any 22mm-wide strap."

      So you're free to use any 22mm-wide circus-tent lanyard that fits round your gargantuan wrist.

    3. Hollerith 1

      Re: Integrated Strap? @Hunter case

      I am afraid I am nerdy enough to want, really want, a pocket watch-shaped device that is my phone -- a phone/watch that does everything, with its little round screen able to show porthole-adapted movies. Steampunk the case and have a watchchain/usb-cable thingie and I am there.

    4. Peter Johnstone

      Re: Integrated Strap?

      I'm with you on that, although I have the opposite problem. I've got fairly slender wrists for an adult male, and always have to remove links from straps to get them to fit. I never buy leather or fabric straps as they invariably don't have enough holes to go narrow enough to fit me.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Integrated Strap?

        I too have to punch extra holes into leather straps to make them small enough. I also had to search far and wide to find a nice unisex watch, as men's watches tend to be larger than my wrist is wide. Any screen on there is either going to be too small to be useful, or ridiculously huge on my wrist. I vote for a wide-screen version, though (as other previously posted) I'd like it to actually be the smart phone itself. Then I'd only need a smart watch and wi-fi tablet, for when I wanted a larger screen.

        Inside there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2GHz with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage.

        That's more or less the spec of my (slightly old) phone anyway, though it is little slow now and then, it gets the job done well enough.

  15. Bob Vistakin
    Holmes

    Why the colour screen?

    I'm puzzled here. The elephant in the room is clearly the daily charging requirement, yet it's promoted as being "glanceable" and only for micro interactions, like short messages etc. So why is the biggest battery drainer by a country mile wasted showing this minimal information on a colour high res screen? Isn't it really obvious a kindle style display should be used?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Why the colour screen?

      There's a lot of tech stuff (early PCs and PDAs for example) that weren't really "useful" in any meaningful sense, they were simply toys for geeks. However, they were a necessary precursor to stuff that regular folk could actually see a use for.

      These particular devices don't seem very practical as watches (far too expensive and power hungry) or sufficiently "smart" to have other compelling uses. They'll all likely be at the back of drawers or on eBay within a few months.

      However, they may help illustrate what direction the next generation of devices should take (or even whether it's a device class that has a future). It's just how technology develops...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the colour screen?

      Read somewhere that the Moto 360 has a better battery life (ok, something like 3 days!) because it uses an OLED display which uses no or much less power on black pixels and thus has as its default "face" a watch with a black background. As for the charging requirements ... so long as putting it to charge is easy (think I read the 360 has a wireless charging "stand" that you hand the watch around) then so long as it lasts a full day then you need to have a battery life measured in weeks if not months before its much more helpful.My Nexus 5 won't last much more than a day if I'm making any use of it but as I have a wireless charger the I simply put the phone of the charger each night as I go to bed and its charged in the morning ... if a smatwatch just needs me to do something similar each night then, for me, that's fine. If it needs flicking open a rubber covered socket and plugging in a micro-usb cable each night then that may be at the too much hassle point!

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Why the colour screen?

        The moto 360 looks a lot better than the LG one too, i.e. it looks like a normal watch.

  16. Jason Hindle

    Google voice recognition needs improving

    Ok, perhaps I'm being hyper critical, as it is actually very good (I use it often). One thing I'm noticing over time, though, is it doesn't recognise words and string them together; rather, it recognises phrases. Come it at from the left field, with something it doesn't often hear, and it will likely screw up (try "Twenty hours minus nineteen hours thirty six, in seconds"). Still, I find Google Now more accurate than Siri (though, thanks to big data, both represent a step change in voice recognition tech).

    Oh, and I think these watches are priced keenly enough for punters to take a punt. When I get back to the UK, I'll likely order one out of curiosity (or wait for the Motorola 360, if I have the patience to do so).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: take a punt

      £160 ? "out of curiosity" ?

      What is the "punt" on ? that you may find something use for it, that can't be determined from a detailed write up and/or test in the shop?

      Must be a parallel universe

    2. Chris 244

      Re: Google voice recognition needs improving

      1440 seconds, as per Google voice recognition.

      Admittedly, I did say "36 minutes", not just "36". Math requires units.

      1. Jason Hindle

        Re: Google voice recognition needs improving

        "1440 seconds, as per Google voice recognition.

        Admittedly, I did say "36 minutes", not just "36". Math requires units."

        Ok smart arse, that did actually work :-). Thanks.

  17. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge
    Coat

    ... utterly insignificant ...

    ... little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

    I really, really could not resist... I'll get my towel now, thank you.

  18. Andrew Jones 2

    Journalists reporting / reviewing the Android Wear watches are doing a terrible job so far -

    For instance - this reporter has for some reason given the price of the LG Watch in dollars - but hasn't pointed that in fact in the UK - direct from the Google Play store - the watch costs £159 and not closer to £200.

    The reviewer hasn't pointed out that the companion app for Android will allow you to block specific apps from sending notifications to the phone.

    The reviewer hasn't pointed out that applications that you install on your phone that include code that will run directly on the watch, will be automatically installed to the watch when you install them to your phone.

    The reviewer hasn't pointed out that the 36 hour battery life is with the screen set to always-on - but that the screen can in fact be set to turn off if you want to extend battery life.

    1. stucs201

      To be fair - on this occasion its a 'first look' not an 'in depth review'.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Andrew Jones 2

      "Journalists reporting / reviewing the Android Wear watches are doing a terrible job so far"

      Iain has used the watch for, literally, a day or two. We normally spend a week or longer when preparing a review. As the article says, it's a first look. A review will follow. I'll take your point about the price though and add it in.

      C.

  19. steve118x

    Voice Search of XBMC from watch

    I've been using my SmartQ Z1 Android smartwatch to control XBMC for several months now.

    It's a killer app, when I want to find anything quickly I talk into my watch, I'm well over the stigma

    of looking a bit nerdy. The battery life is 2-2.5 days, depends on how much I use the voice command.

    I only switch on the WIFI when I'm giving a voice command to save on battery life. At the moment I'm

    using both the Microsoft local speech recogniser and the Google cloud recogniser. Each is selectable

    with a different button on the watch.

    not sure if I can post links here but if you Google "Voice Search of XBMC from watch"

    it should bring up a youtube videoso you can judge how well (or not) you think it works

    I'm working on speeding things up , using orientation to enable the WIFI etc..

    Smartwatches are here to stay!

    Steve.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Voice Search of XBMC from watch

      Thank you Steve for taking the time to share your experiences of actually using such a device.

      Media remote control is an ideal application for a smartwatch (or even a key-fob, for that matter), since a phone can be left in a speaker dock away from the user. A television remote control that can't be lost - because it is strapped to the user's wrist - is also a good idea.

      A blindingly obvious interlace would be to make use of a watch's rotating bezel as a jog-wheel - popularised by the iPod, though first seen elsewhere.

      Personally, I'll wait until a sensible balance of features against battery life and appearance is struck. It seems to me that all the Android devices are trying to do too much at the moment, when a lot of utility can squeezed out of a simple dot-matrix display, and perhaps a couple of RGB LEDs for notifications. This simple display can easily be implemented in behind a real analogue watch face, and the power requirements would allow a couple of year's use (based on Casio's G-Shock Bluetooth Watch, or Citizen's similar effort).

  20. MrNed
    WTF?

    I just don't get it

    So far it seems that the greatest minds at Google, Samsung, Apple et al (not to mention at the myriad developers coding for the mobile platforms) can think of only one practical use case for wearables, and that's the fitness enthusiast case. Fair enough, that's a valid - if niche - case. But I'm sick of reading in reviews and comments that these things are the future but just need a "killer app" whilst nobody seems to have the first idea what this could be - not even the merest suggestion of a "wouldn't it be good if it...".

    The only uses for these things seems to be the obvious: tell time, view snippets of messages and look like Dick Tracy (or a dick of some sort, anyway). Oh yes, and to act as a glorified pedometer (FYI you can pick up a decent pedometer for about £15 and all sorts of apps that will analyse and make use of your footstep data). But it's odd innit - I mean, the only practical use is health-based, but just how lazy do you have to be to consider pulling your hand out of your pocket to look at a wrist-strapped screen as being preferable to holding on to your phone as you pull your hand out of your pocket so that you can look at a hand-held screen?

    I love technology and love gadgets, yet despite this I can't see these wearables as anything other than utterly pointless, not to mention stupidly priced for something so utterly pointless. Neither my tech-fancy nor gadget-fancy are being tickled, and I'm left cold by these things. Yes the prices will drop, but the devices will remain pointless.

    I read these reviews and previews in the genuine hope that all will be revealed, that the manufacturer (or even the reviewer) will make the case why anybody would or should want one of these. And every time I read these reviews I'm left thinking "whoopee f***ing doo!". Even when a reviewer has tried exceptionally hard to focus on the positives, I'm still left feeling that the reviewer him/herself is less-than convinced about the merits of the device, or even the wearables concept.

    Lots of people are arguing that these are just first steps on a long road. Perhaps. But the benefits of computers were appreciated before they appeared in every office and home; the convenience of a laptop was appreciated before they became practical or popular; same for smartphones; same for tablets. But wearables? Nobody can formulate a convincing argument as-to what the point is. I suspect that if Samsung and Apple (et al) didn't have such huge piles of cash these devices would never be built cos they'd struggle to get independent financial backing for such projects (I can just see the meeting with the financiers now: "Lend us millions to develop this device", "Why, what does it do? Why will people buy it?", "Well... errr... it... um..."!).

    If you disagree with what I'm saying then answer me this: what IS the point for the user or - more pertinently - why can't even the best brains come up with even the remotest hint of what this point is/will be, nor what the mythical "killer app" will be and why it will make smartwatches indispensable to users?

    Of course, from the point-of-view of the manufacturer, the indispensability will come from fooling people into parting with good money for the privilege of being tracked more thoroughly so that your personal details can be more fully exploited for commercial gain.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I just don't get it

      I have to agree with everything you wrote.

      However, speaking of killer apps, the answer is as obvious as sunshine to me. Will I tell in a public forum? Are you kidding? I'd like to have a retirement account one day as well, you know?

    2. Mark #255

      Re: I just don't get it

      [...] only practical use is health-based, but just how lazy do you have to be to consider pulling your hand out of your pocket to look at a wrist-strapped screen as being preferable to holding on to your phone as you pull your hand out of your pocket so that you can look at a hand-held screen?

      I'd guess that some folk get out-of-breath and sweaty enough that holding a screen becomes significantly more difficult and risky than having one strapped to your wrist.

      (There isn't an "oh my $DEITY I'm having a heart attack" icon that I can see)

  21. jason 7 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The thing I love about my watch...

    ..is that it simply tells the time and the day of the month.

    Oh and it only needs a new battery every 2-3 years. In that time it just keeps working. No forgetting to charge it up, not having to worry if I'll be able to tell the time come 11pm.

    It doesnt distract me, make noises, require updates.....be obsolete in 8 months time.

    Why in this day and age are we replacing simple, efficient well designed devices for devices that at best offer lower reliability, are kludgy and much much higher maintenance?

    Am I the only one not taking crazy pills?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The thing I love about my watch...

      No, there's a few of us not smoking stuff. It's just the "i'll take a punt on £200+" crowd are out and bitching whenever anyone criticises their next new "toy".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The thing I love about my watch...

        I'm sorry that neither you, AC or Jason, are wealthy enough to be in the "I'll take a punt on £200+" crowd.

        1. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: The thing I love about my watch...

          Eh? Why spend £200 on a toy watch of dubious value?

          Buy a proper watch that will last longer than six months and also still hold its value.

          Plastic straps... Well really.

          A toy.

          1. Timmay

            @ jason 7

            You're still missing the point.

            1. Firstly, people spend lots of money (more than £200) on things of dubious value all the time (toys). I, for instance, dropped £500 on a quadcopter just last year, and I can count on one hand the number of times it's been used. I'm not going to apologise for being a somewhat frivolous wealthy geek.

            2. You're still thinking that people want this to use just as a watch.

            3. There's nothing wrong with manufacturers trying new things - this may not be a perfected concept yet, but it could be a stepping stone to something which is. If human-kind sat back and didn't bother with that first (likely to fail) concept, we'd still be sitting in the dirt and bashing each other with animal bones. Every piece of technology you use has likely had many generations/iterations before it, some which may have failed, not sold well, and were criticised by idiots saying "I don't see the point in this, this is of dubious value", but without them, we wouldn't be where we are.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The thing I love about my watch...

      Well one of the few anyway.

      I have the same complaint about EVERY product these days, but especially when it comes to all things "digital."

  22. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Can I get a wrist strap for my phone?

    Its not much wider....

    1. ecofeco Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Can I get a wrist strap for my phone?

      Velcro cable ties.

      Done.

  23. Naughtyhorse

    It _DOES_ have a point

    makes it much easier to spot wankers when out and about.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re:conundrum...

      3 dv's

      Is that cos it's hard to spot?

      or in some way related to said dv-ers (and potential smartwatch owners) favourite solitary pastime?

  24. Chris G Silver badge

    Range

    I have a 5" screen on my phone mostly because I'm an old fart who needs glasses, sometimes it would be handy if I could leave my phone in the car and receive a notification of a call, I love in Spain , in the summer wearing shorts and a tee shirt I don't have much space to keep a large phone on my person. If a smart watch could link up to 200 metres from my phone I feel pile find that very useful.

    Still not too sure about doing the Dick Tracy thing in public though.

  25. DNTP

    I can't wear a huge hunking watch because it would interfere with either the wrist crossbow or the pneumatic grappling line launcher, depending on which wrist.

    Sorry, replace most of that sentence with "because I'd rather keep things in pockets so they are out of the way instead of clunking around strapped to my wrists bumping into keyboards and knocking over test tubes and catching on machine innards when I have to reach in there."

  26. Lallabalalla
    Pint

    I'm not sure there *is a killer app for the smartwatch.

    There might be - I'm not the person to dream it up, after all, back in the nineties I thought eBay was pants and would never catch on - channeling the guy who turned down the Beatles, there - so I'd love to be wrong. The best reason to own a smart watch so far is - as someone said - "to own a smart watch" :) Which means I may well get one, if I can resist the proper watch I've been thinking about (Seiko Sk009J, if you were wondering).

  27. Rol Silver badge

    Agent Lorrie I see a car parked on double yellows. Can you process?

    I am two miles away, can't you do them over yourself

    No I'm in Bangkok.

    What on earth are you doing monitoring parking while on holiday?

    I'm not on holiday I live here.

    WTF

    Well they pay me minimum wage, which allows me to survive admirably in Thailand., so long as I get 5000 parking tickets per week, and assists are just as good.

    How does that work?

    Well my pet dog has Google glass that streams live CCTV from all the known black spots. When he sees a car he instinctively tries to bite the wheels which activates a bleep on my smart watch and then I contact whoever is closest to the scene to attend and ticket the offending vehicle .

    Wow, that's amazing.

    Not really, I have to glance at my watch from time to time, which is really tedious.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Bravo!

  28. David Roberts

    Sacrificial screen?

    I am looking for a secure waterproof mount for my phone on my bike so I can use GPS functionality.

    For each mount there is at least one review where the mount has failed and the phone has gone under a car.

    So a remote display at say £50ukp would be much more practical and less financial risk than putting a £500ukp phone in harms way.

    I could even carry it around on my wrist when I am not on the bike.

    So far I can't see any must have function as a wrist mounted device, although a remote screen for GPS navigation might be nice but not essential.

    1. stucs201

      Re: Sacrificial screen? - possible alternative?

      If its just for GPS functionality then there are some really cheap (< £50) dedicated sat-nav units out there (I found at least 2 on Amazon). I don't know quite what your requirements for GPS on a bike are - if its just for on-road navigation then they're probably an alternative to paying the same for a remote screen for your phone. If you're after something to log off-road routes or something then I'm less sure they're an option.

      1. David Roberts

        Re: Sacrificial screen? - possible alternative?

        In nearly all cases you can buy a separate piece of kit to replace each of the functions on a modern smart phone.

        However after a while you end up having an awful lot of separate bits of kit.

        Smartphones are replacing hand held and car mounted GPS units, timepieces, PDAs, mp3 players, dictation machines, cameras, portable games consoles...........

        So I would view a "smartphone" as a portable sophisticated little computer which happeba to also do phone calls.

        An extended choice of peripherals would be nice.

        For cycling I would like a GPS display for navigation, plus track recording and upload to MapMyRun or similar.

        I would also like to be able to chane or upgrade the navigation software supplier without replacing the hardware.

        I would also like to be able to add new peripherals when they become available again from competing hardware and software vendors.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Sacrificial screen?

      You don't need gps on a bike!

      let me help...

      where are you? - in my bloody way

      what's your speed? - too bloody slow

      fixed

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Feril
    Go

    Early adopters only please

    As a very very happy user of a Pebble smart watch for the past six months, I can report that:-

    Much time is saved because I can see at a glance who is calling, texting, emailing, whatsapping, whatever or what notification du jour is clamouring for my attention.

    Battery life on my phone is increased ( and potential for damage when pulling it of my pocket) as the phone is not accessed so much.

    I don't miss the important text/email/call as the Pebble vibrates unmistakably to alert me - a boon in noisy environments.

    My Pebble vibrates when it loses contact with the phone, saved me on a few occasions.

    I can get my Pebble to make the phone play music loudly making it easy to find when we are playing hide and seek down the back of the sofa.

    XBMC, VLC, and Music remote controls are good.

    The Pebble lasts 5-6 days on a charge.

    It only cost £80

    When cycling, Runkeeper, the caller ID display ( and the ability to reject calls) are killer apps for me.

    It also tells the time in a variety of different formats....

    All in all, it is a wonderful convenient bit of tech which makes my life easier and better.

    It is simply a refinement on mobile communications/information handling devices we carry now. For those that don't get it - semaphore flags and filofaxs are available from specialist retailers.....

    1. Bsquared

      Re: Early adopters only please

      Agree with this post pretty much 100%. I've had my Pebble Steel for a couple of months, and it is a useful and handsome smartwatch. Being able to tell when my phone's ringing in a stupidly noisy pub is brilliant. Maybe I have insensitive thighs (fnarr), but I never seem to feel the damn phone vibrating in my pocket.

      I have a niche use not mentioned yet - I work in a research lab where you are required to wear gloves at all times. If my phone rings, I need to leave the lab area, deglove and take my phone out of my pocket. Being able to shoot the cuff of my lab coat and check the watch is a godsend. Is it a double-glazing salesman? Ignore. Is it the school office? Bugger, best leave the lab and answer that.

      I have absolutely no doubt that Pebbles will go the way of my beloved Handspring - rendered utterly obsolete in 5yrs time by Apple, Samsung et al. But right now it's a sweet piece of kit. The new smartwatches will come on leaps and bounds I am sure. But.... 1 day battery life? Seriously??

  31. Zack Mollusc

    Pfft

    Phone case, £5

    Epoxy resin £4

    Glue case to sleeve/arm

    Job done.

  32. ecofeco Silver badge

    You show a picture of Facebook

    FAIL right there.

    Screen too small - 2nd FAIL.

    Must be tethered to phone. - 3rd FAIL and out.

    Lack of battery life is just nails in the coffin.

    So, uhm, what purpose does it serve?

    My last watch was a Timex Ironman that could download from my PC and carry my contact info, schedule, calender, multitude stopwatch, and 2 different time zone, all at once. Now any phone, let alone a smart phone can do all that and more.

    Maybe I'm just not "accessory needy" enough?

  33. Truth4u

    wearable cumputing

    i want a 12-inch e-peen to wear over my peen.

  34. Dieter Haussmann

    The smartphone usurped the wristwatch in people under 30.

    I remain to be convinced that the smartwatch will adjunct the smartphone any time soon.

    If someone can make the WOW device that is affordable, thin, stylish and is fueled by a spec of thorium then that will be the day. The masses don't want some clunkly little mini phone strapped on their wrist.

  35. Huckleberry Muckelroy

    Samsung Watch

    I have worn the Samsung watch with camera for a month-and-a-half. I like it and wear it almost every day. It is wed to my Galaxy Note II. It is very comfortable, but I live in subtropical Texas, so the plastic band can get a little humid. The main gripe that users and I have is that the accelerometer that turns the face on is not reliable. This is not a biggy. The little camera in the band is quite handy for its size, like 1.6Mp or something. I have kept text notification - read text msgs on the watch. I had to kill email notification because my wrist was spamming me.It has a lot of apps and is very configurable. I like it.

  36. Anonymous Blowhard

    As usual, porn will be the killer app

    They'll be able to correlate hand movements with URLs for marketing blue pills, and maybe even synchronise the "action" with the (self ab)user...

  37. Champ

    Time for a proper review of a Pebble?

    I've noted several posts here from Pebble owners, whose views echo mine (good battery life, looks good, saves fishing for your phone). As a similarly impressed Pebble wearer, isn't it time that El Reg got itself a Pebble and did a proper review of it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time for a proper review of a Pebble?

      Good idea, the Pebble has been out for 6 months + and has a mature eco-system of applications available.

      I've been a Pebble user for the last 6 weeks, and my findings so far are :

      The good things :

      (a) It manages 5-6 days on a charge with a decent number of alarms/notifications - perfectly acceptable, especially so if you turn off the 'smart' aspects of the watch when it gets to 10% battery. This means that you still tell the time until you get it charged.

      (b) Notifications on your wrist are useful, I can quickly decide if a phone call/email/SMS is urgent or can wait. More importantly, there are calls/texts that I would have missed because my phone was in my pocket/on the desk in silent mode.

      (c) A vibrating alarm wakes me up without disturbing anyone else in the house.

      (d) I can control my iphone music player from my wrist, so when I'm doing the washing up/gardening/driving/showering I can quickly skip tracks, change album/volume etc.

      (e) If I really need to, I can write a watch app myself that does what I want.

      The bad things :

      (a) The watch and iphone helper app crash far too often. Android users might have a different experience!

      (b) The iphone/watch seems to be forever losing connection. Don't know if this is a Blutooth issue, or crappy software.

      (c) Bluetooth seems to eat my iphone battery. Although this could also be the notification apps I've got running in the background getting news headlines etc.

      (d) There are lots of interesting apps which I find are not *actually* that useful.

      (e) Once you've found a watch face that meets your requirements you probably aren't going to change very often.

      (f) No distributor in the UK. Either import from Pebble direct (and gamble on the import duty) or buy from Tax-shy Amazon. I wanted to look at and touch the thing before buying and had to take a punt on whether I'd like it in the flesh or not.

      (g) The watch case design is a bit crap (Pebble plastic), but on the positive there are replacement straps which massively improves the look.

      In summary, the Pebble smartwatch is a very useful piece of kit, that I feel is worth the price for the remote notifications alone. If you need more than this then you might be disapointed.

  38. Fab De Marco

    Voice search...

    Is there a way to turn off the "OK Google" function on it.... I can just imagine my friends shouting "OK Google, Show my pictures of blue waffle" into my wrist just for fun....

    Maybe I just need new friends....

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re:blue waffle

      eyuuuuuuuuw

      yer bathplug!

  39. Joe 48

    One device fits all?

    With more and more diverse applications for watches, one device does have a place in the market imo.

    Take for example I've got friends who play golf with a GPS tracking watch, they then switch to a regular watch when the leave the course. On the weekend they go out cycling and guess what, they have a watch that tracks there routes and times them that they wear and take their 'normal' watch off. They then hit the Gym one or two days a week and put on a heat rate thing and take off the 'normal' watch. I'm sure to them this is the norm but I wonder how they'd like a one device fits all?

    These all sync with phones or update off the internet by plugging them into a laptop. Now I'm sure one device doing all these things could have a place. Plus all the extras that could be possible. The tech isn't perfect at the moment but just remember how limiting the first iPhone was before apps came along.

    This leads onto the big issue for me at the moment, which is the lack of apps. Those that exist are poor and most tend to cost, with very few free ones. Get a good app base and increase the usefulness of these devices and I think they have a place.

    For info I've got a Gear Neo 2. Its handy, not perfect, it runs Tizen OS, which will limit its life span (Hoping for an android wear port soon as the hardware is similar). Now wear is here I suspect Tizen won't be long for this world. I'm getting 4 days between fill ups though! Handy to see my notifications at a glance. Using it for bluetooth phone calls is very good. Don't have to hold the watch to my mouth for people to be able to hear me (Not brave enough to do this anywhere except in the house or car though). So far I think they have a place but its too early it the development to decide how/where they will really fit.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019