back to article The great wearables myth busted: Apps never, ever mattered

Whoever predicted that fitness bling-flingers would struggle to survive should take note of the latest numbers on the wearable market from Canalys. Garmin eased itself into the No.2 spot as a smartwatch vendor in Q1 worldwide, successfully making the move upmarket into higher margin products. This wasn't supposed to happen, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was always the case.....

    I had an MS Band (apart from build quality was one of the best in my opinion).

    Just did what I needed to do, GPS, heart rate, timings and basic messages and phone control

    That's it. And that's all I needed.

    Shame they gave up.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: This was always the case.....

      Sorry but I used to mock my mate continuously about his MS Band. Always rebooting it, tiny battery life using GPS, back to be repaired multiple times.... Maybe he was just unlucky but I wouldn't have touched one. It did have a nice screen though :)

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: This was always the case.....

        I still miss my Band 2. Never had a problem with the battery (that was the Band 1), but after the 5th one broke (yet another refund under warranty), I was no longer able to get another, so had to opt for a Samsung. Give mostly the same functionality. Only missing sensor is the UV and I'm glad to see the back of that.

        I tried a Garmin and a FitBit, but had problems with notifications on the Garmin and the FitBits heart rate monitor was nonsense.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: This was always the case.....

          "but after the 5th one broke (yet another refund under warranty), I was no longer able to get another, "

          So, within the warranty period it was EOLled? Excellent long term support!

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            Re: This was always the case.....

            Worked out pretty well, brand new replacement every 4-6 months. Each faulty band refunded in full. Didn't cost me a penny in the end.

  2. Craig 2

    Garmins are built for a purpose (fitness tracking) and generally perform it extremely well. That's what I want from a device - best suitability & performance for my particular need. I wonder what the user 'need' for the number 1 smartwatch brand is?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      I bought my Garmin for run tracking. I have unexpectedly also found occasionally useful its display of notifications from my phone, but often more so the fact that it buzzes when it displays one so that even if my phone is somewhere deep in a coat pocket I don't tend to miss texts or emails from the few people I'd already told my phone it was okay to generate notifications for. That, with its week-and-a-bit battery life is plenty smart enough for me.

      So, I think I'm arguing: not only was it bought it for a purpose, which it performs very well, but it's exceeded that usage. So I'm all for Garmins.

    2. Tikimon Silver badge
      Devil

      And THAT is the key

      "Garmins are built for a purpose (fitness tracking) and generally perform it extremely well. "

      BUILT FOR A PURPOSE and does it well, what a concept! People want fitness tracking, and Garmin made one that Just Works. Contrary to what tech weenies want to hype about all-singing all-dancing "platforms", people still prefer a purpose-built widget that does its job well. Not to mention, the "platforms" cost too damned much for little extra benefit and some disadvantages.

      Personal example: I wear a titanium field watch. Fifteen years and counting, waterproof, indestructible, date and alarm, battery life of two YEARS. Fit for purpose and has been through hell and back. An Apple watch in contrast is expensive, will be unsupported in a few years, battery might last the day, and has all the ruggedness of a newborn infant. Functionally it's a terrible watch, and the promised wonderful extra functions? The few I might use are already handled by my mobile phone.

      I'm sure some of you love your e-watch, but my example of "built to a useful purpose" vs "built to hopefully find a use for this someday" still stands.

    3. SuccessCase

      The need for the number 1 smartwatch brand also is fitness tracking, which it does exceptionally well. You can make and receive phone calls while out on a ride, which with AirPods is useful. The number of times this feature alone has helped me as i’ve approached my ride meeting point is to me plenty of proof of its’ usefulness. Also the Strava app (yes app) has become indispensable for me, with real time segment splits and live segment leader info. The heart rate monitor remains best in class with the most accurate reading of all smart watches and of course. The Zwift app (yes app), is also indispensable for me as I do my indoor smart trainer rides on Zwift and it has it has saved me the cost of a separate heart rate monitor. The watch also has every fitness instrument you require (GPS, altimeter, 4G useful for when there are route adjustments and another routmap wanted). Also, I find my other app (yes app) is useful, Overcast, my preferred podcast app, so it’s useful to be automatically in sync there. And with my iBooks app so I can switch to an Audiobook when I feel like it. Again the AirPods work well with it. So while it’s true apps are less useful on the watch than on the phone, it’s not at all true that they don’t come into the picture in a significant way. This gap which already exists between number one and number two, will only continue. Garmin have done well, but really their success is testament to the failure to initially focus on the right areas both Apple and Android wear made. Apple were quicker to address the real need and from the outset had the better hardware solutions though (which is testament to the value of Apple’s push into chip design - the have the smallest most efficient chips which is an obvious advantage for watches - having a slim wrist female friendly 38mm option has been a big marketing benefit). Well done to Garmin, but they are a distant second and I expect Android wear will overtake again at some point.

      1. whatsyourShtoile

        wtf. exercise is already difficult and boring without going to all that extra effort.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          exercise is already difficult and boring without going to all that extra effort

          That's the whole point of "fitness tracking". For some people, the additional instrumentalization of the process provides a psychological reward that offsets the inherent dullness, opportunity cost, etc of typical repetitive exercise such as running.

          Personally it leaves me cold, but I try not to sneer too much at other people's fetishes.

          When I run for exercise, I do it on my treadmill, and play video games while I do so. I only play games while running, so that's my reward system. Works for me, but it wouldn't for everyone. Or, I suspect, for most.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Garmin have done well, but really their success is testament to the failure to initially focus on the right areas both Apple and Android wear made."

        Not really.

        Garmin is far superior, and has eveything I care about without the downsides of other competing products.

        I am still using an older Vivoactive, which cost, at the time, somewhere between 35 and 45 percent of what Apple wants for one of its watches.

        The Vivoactive operates just fine without a smartphone, and provides time, activity and GPS data, I disabled most of the activity specific fitness functions, and switched to a more useful watch face.

        Given that the GPS is only used occasionally, the battery goes up to a month on a charge. ... a good thing if you think of it as an emergency GPS when you are in the woods.... you don't want to be starting with a mostly depleted battery if you need it.

        In addition, the optional ballistics calculator provides useful support for long shots in cases of wind, differing elevation, etc.

        There isn't really anything else I would find useful on a watch, and tying any smartwatch to a phone would just create a whole new bunch of privacy and security risks.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a market for a non-invasive continuous blood glucose monitor. The Google contact lens tear fluid sensor doesn't seem to have become a product.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So it was a platform game, eh ?

    Looks like reality stepped in and gave a great big slap with a fish in a newspaper to a large set of very expensive suits.

    Good. I am sick of hearing how many useless new things a not-watch can barely do (for the few hours its battery lasts, that is).

  5. 45RPM Silver badge

    I think that the problem always comes back to battery life. Apps pork battery like Elvis porked burgers.

    In addition, at least for my use-case, the only really useful apps are those related to fitness. A pace alarm app, perhaps (built in on my Garmin, but apparently MIA without additional apps on the Apple Watch). A Tri app (tap at each change - swim, transition, ride, transition, run). I can’t think of anything non-fitness related that would be of use to me.

    Perhaps in the future, once smart assistants are genuinely smart, they’ll gain additional useful functions (set the VHS to record Dukes of Hazzard, and tell KITT to pick me up from The Dog and Whistle - I’m totally ubered). Until then, don’t underestimate the importance of fitness tracking - this is one computing game where real hardware, and densely packed sensors, is king.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Until then, don’t underestimate the importance of fitness tracking "

      Marketing. Maybe I don't mix with the "right" crowd, but why would anyone not in training for serious competitive sport need such a level of fitness tracking?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Maybe I don't mix with the "right" crowd, but why would anyone not in training for serious competitive sport need such a level of fitness tracking?

        You don't know many men? You know, the species that get a bit obsessive about having the "right tool" for any activity they undertake (not to mention clothing).

        They don't need to be doing either serious or competitive sport to want all the paraphenalia. Think of all the Weekend Wigginses, with their shiney shorts, branded water bottles, £800 bikes, insect-like cycling goggles, top of the range Go pro, and all of this topped by some form of tracking system, so that they can drone on to similarly minded people. It's the same with the faux Farrahs, and outside of sport, we do it too. Amateur photographers with thousands of pounds of kit, when they never take a single interersting photo. DIY'ers with every tool known to man.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          "Think of all the Weekend Wigginses, with their shiney shorts, branded water bottles, £3000+ bikes,"

          TFTFY

          Personally, being a cycling coach, I don't see any benefit in having a training bike that costs more than circa £1500 and neither does British Cycling; but come to real competition £8000 is cheap...

          and outside of sport, we do it too.

          For example "IT people" having the fastest broadband available, just because you can...

        2. 45RPM Silver badge

          @ledswinger

          Quite. But an £800 bike is a bit on the Halfords side! £2k and we’ll talk. That said, there are those who go for a bit of a jog at the weekend, or potter out for a 50 mile bike ride, for whom this tech might be a little excessive (although it’s a start - so good on them. Getting fitter is always a good idea)

          Then again, there are those caught in the teeth of a raging mid-life crisis, who’ll cycle more than a hundred miles a day (and maybe the next day and the day after that), who take part in marathons and ultra running. For this group, this kind of tech is incredibly useful. Speaking for myself, a pace alarm is the difference between being able to run the entire distance and having to take a rest now and again. And the display reminding you that you haven’t hit your target for the day can be just the motivation I need to get out and running when it’s pissing it down outside.

          And then again there are the professionals.

          Personally, I’m being chewed up by the mid life crisis. I don’t want to end up unfit, fat, and unable even to wash myself when I’m in my eighties. Exercise is good for mind and body - and wearables can help.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It's all in what fits your interest. I would never pay $1,000 for a bike, but that amount for a quality handgun that suits my shooting style is eminently reasonable.

        3. eldakka Silver badge

          > They don't need to be doing either serious or competitive sport to want all the paraphenalia. Think of all the Weekend Wigginses, with their shiney shorts, branded water bottles, £800 bikes, insect-like cycling goggles, top of the range Go pro, and all of this topped by some form of tracking system, so that they can drone on to similarly minded people. It's the same with the faux Farrahs, and outside of sport, we do it too. Amateur photographers with thousands of pounds of kit, when they never take a single interersting photo. DIY'ers with every tool known to man.

          Most of what you've listed are pieces of equipment that, while the quality/cost/specifications may have exceeded the requirements of the activity, are in general needed for that activity.

          > shiney shorts

          If you are going to go running you probably want to do it in a pair of shorts, good running shorts provide support for the old fella to stop chafing. So a pair of good quality running shorts for any regular running is important. Sure, getting gee-whiz 'shiney' shorts might be excessive, but it is spening more money on something that is needed anyway.

          > branded water bottles

          Again, having sufficient water when during exercise is important to prevent stitches and dehydration. Sport bottles are designed for a purpose - being able to drink from while still on the move, easy to hold/attach and so on. So a water bottle is important if not a necessity, and again going for shiny/bling whatever is merely spending more on an item that you need.

          > £800 bikes

          If you are going to go bike riding you sorta need a bike. Like anything, if you can afford a 'better' one than the base model you need, what else are you going to spend your money on? There is only so much money you can spend an the absolute base models of everything, if you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket, why not go for the better spec'ed/quality/blingy/'cool' bike?

          The same for pretty much everything else you've mentioned. Pretty much all of it is necessary kit, bikes, cameras, whatever - for the activity chosen, however people go overboard (or like to believe they are skilled enough - or will get skilled enough - to need the extra features) and spend more on 'better' equipment than they need.

          And yes, there is an element of one-upping or specification/checklist comparison of items to make you feel cooler/superior to others, etc.

          But, none of that is true for fitness trackers.

          You don't need to count your steps.

          Or measure the distance precisely.

          Or calculate the calories burnt.

          Do exercise until you've felt you've done enough. If you are still gaining weight (for example), then you have to do more. You don't need anything more than a glance at the clock before you start your exercise, then glance at it when you've finished, or how you feel after the exercise, to know how much you've done or whether you ned to do more or less.

          Of course, if you feel the need to absolutely quantify the effort for some reason - bragging rights - then knock yourself out on getting a fitness tracker. But don't fool yourself into thinking it's in any way necessary, unlike most of the other items you listed.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            "So a water bottle is important if not a necessity,"

            Or a water bladder strapped to your back, with a bite nozzle.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re; Water bottle/camel

              For most people doing 'exercise' these are not that important, because they won't be out for long enough for water loss to be a performance inhibitor!

              Similar logic applies to energy drinks/gels, many people don't understand the difference between sub 1hr session and a 2+ hour event.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Amateur photographers with thousands of pounds of kit, when they never take a single interersting photo."

          And then there's the other ones, who really can use the extra capabilities.

          Either of my primary cameras, body alone, would qualify as 'thousands of dollars of kit', and when the lenses get added in, that up a fair bit.

          Sometimes you want to be able to take pictures handheld, at night, and get as much detail or more as can be seen with the naked eye... or capture detail that requires the equivalent of a fast 20x telescope... or grab 30 seconds of images at ten frames a second when interesting things are happening quickly, and there are no re-shoots and no way of predicting exactly when the key event will happen.

          Much of the time I carry a compact camera with DSLR-like controls and capabilities, costing under $1,000 (if you get a good price), but some times the circumstances do call for the 'big guns'.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Music, perhaps?"

    Not really. You'll need some headphones, so the music player might as well be integrated into those instead.

  7. Chris Gray 1
    Go

    non-fitness user

    I'm an old fart, so using my 3-year old smartwatch for fitness stuff was never something I wanted to do. It counts my steps on my regular walks, but my phone could do that. What I mostly use the watch for is telling time. Second behind that is glancing at it to see incoming texts (and often reply using the canned replies (changeable with the phone App)), see the first part of incoming emails on my rarely used gmail and ISP accounts, and see and acknowledge notifications of scheduled events. All of this is governed from my phone, so I have no use for a smartwatch with its own data connection. I also have never had any use for GPS - location services are always off on my 5 year old phone.

    And yes, I never bother with the Apps I do have on the watch. When they were new I used the games a bit, but not beyond that.

    So, similar in that I don't use or care about non-builtin Apps, but different in that I don't care about the fitness aspect or GPS.

    I expect other life-style things will affect the value of a smartwatch to you. I don't carry my phone in my hand, and getting it out of a pocket can be a nuisance, depending on the season - taking off my gloves and opening up my parka in winter is not instantaneous!

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    The main reason for wearing a watch

    Telling time is still the main reason people wear a watch. All the other functionality is a bonus to that. If they want to do anything more complicated than health monitoring they can use their smartphone, which is better suited for it anyway.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

      I disagree, almost no one wears a watch because they want to tell time. Everyone carries a device that tells the time quite well on a large 4" to 6" screen already, and you can look around you in your home and every other environment you are in and see the time all over the place.

      Watching TV - your cable box might tell the time but certainly the program guide does. Your computer has it in a corner of the screen all the time. Your microwave tells the time (unless you've had a power outage recently) as well as your range, and possibly even your fridge if you spent too much money on it. Even if you now use your phone as an alarm clock you probably still have a clock in your bedroom. On your drive to work you probably pass several signs telling the current time, and of course your car tells the time as well. At work you are bombarded with clocks on the wall, computers and various devices telling you the time, etc. About the only place you might need a watch to tell time is the toilet, if you are one of the minority who doesn't bring their phone in there, and aren't Japanese (I suspect those fancy toilets tell you the time, but I can't prove it)

      For the past 20 years or so the main reason people wear watches is fashion. Now fitness/health data is the secondary reason many people wear watches. Whether telling time or running apps is #3 is open to question, I guess.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Almost no one

        When I wear a watch (rarely, but not never) it is to tell time. More importantly, it is to be able to tell time with a glance not likely to be noted by the folks I am attempting to guide on a schedule. Pulling out a phone is bound to be more noticeable than managing to gesture as part of conversation and just _happen_ to place the watch face in my field of view.

        It's not a smart watch, BTW. It's a windup soviet 24-hour watch. Never needs charging, other than being wound for under a minute for a day's "charge". Never buzzes to tell me that some marketeer has a VERY IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY for me. Just tells time.

        I will readily confess to not being most people, but long ago stopped believing I was unique or (equally improbable) universally representative of all people.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Almost no one

          >More importantly, it is to be able to tell time with a glance not likely to be noted

          This is the reason why an analogue watch display out-performs a digital (pure-numeric) display - you can glance at it (have it in the corner of the eye) and the muscle memory translates the image into a good-enough time! something I've not been able to do with the pure-numeric display many cars have on their dashboards...

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Almost no one

            While I can read a digital display in similar conditions.

            As long as the hands are sufficiently wide or the font sufficiently thick, either watch can be read with equal alacrity.

            Large public timepieces are perhaps better analogue, but ones intended to be read from within a few feet are equally readable either way.

            Except the digital one is more precise, of course.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Almost no one

              "Except the digital one is more precise, of course"

              Is it? A quartz analogue sweep "ticks" the second hand at one second intervals.

              As to long term accuracy that is determined by the xtal stability in both cases. In either case it can then be synchronised to a standard radio source. I have MSF "radio controlled" clocks in the house. Some are digital displays - some are analogue sweeps. A neighbour has a wristwatch with that capability - very tempting.

              They are all remarkably good time keepers.

              The only time they are likely to be wrong is during the Daylight Saving changes. The critical update is not necessarily going to be caught on the first transmission with the DST bit changed. In the middle of the night it doesn't bother me - and by the time I wake they have usually all synchronised.

              One MSF digital display clock was once several hours and minutes adrift all day. MSF frames do not have much in the way of error detection - and battery operation means they only check MSF once a day.

              My home-brewed Arduino timer only re-synchronises when three successive (not necessarily contiguous) "minute" transmissions verify the new time. It does that by always calculating the difference between each MSF time point and its own internal TCXO clock. Three consecutive non-zero differences of the same value trigger re-synchronisation of the TCXO.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Almost no one

            "This is the reason why an analogue watch display out-performs a digital (pure-numeric) display - you can glance at it (have it in the corner of the eye) and the muscle memory translates the image into a good-enough time!"

            Agreed. Two different parts of the brain to get the time from analogue and digital, especially when estimating time remaining or time since. Spatial awareness bit of the brain can deal with analogue pointers while the brain needs to register the numbers on a digital display and do a numeric calculation to sort out time to or since an event. It's similar with car speedos. Pointers are almost instinctive while digital numbers force you to calculate speed differences.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

        "Everyone carries a device that tells the time quite well on a large 4" to 6" screen already, and you can look around you in your home and every other environment you are in and see the time all over the place.

        It was thirty years before I noticed that our Waitrose supermarket had a clock - high up above the shelves where most other people hadn't seen it either. I know that because they have asked me the time - when standing underneath it.

        On my two mile daily walk round a large UK town there is one public clock - if I go as far as the central flower stall.

        Apparently many millennials can't read such analogue clock faces anyway.

        Even in the depths of winter I only have to use a gloved thumb to expose my quartz analogue sweep wristwatch between my anorak sleeve and my mitten glove. In summer it is a mere flick of the wrist.

        My small SMS mobile is in my belt pouch - where I never hear it ring outdoors anyway. I only carry it in case I feel like stopping to take a picture of yet another pothole or flytip. Anything like a 4" screen would need to be carried in my rucksack.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

        "[...] almost no one wears a watch because they want to tell time. "

        A wristwatch plays a very important role for a true gentleman. As he lifts the watch in front of his face to apparently check the time - he can also surreptitiously use his other hand to make sure his fly zip is closed.

      4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: you can ... see the time all over the place

        Until someone presses the "Request" button and it then displays "Bus Stopping" until the doors open at the next stop.

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: you can ... see the time all over the place

          "someone presses the "Request" button and it then displays "Bus Stopping" until the doors open at the next stop."

          ... and on the M2 buses in Sydney, this usually happens as soon as we hit the Harbour Bridge - with another 40-50 minutes before the next stop.

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: with another 40-50 minutes before the next stop.

            That's more like an alarm call request "wake me up when we get to the next stop".

            Do you?

            Or do you let them travel on to Perth? (When a calendar would be more appropriate).

      5. esque

        Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

        I cannot talk for everyone, but I use my watch to tell the time. I never, ever look at my phone to get the time.

        Thus I made sure to get a smartwatch that has actual hands to tell the time, and that runs for days on one charge.

        Getting notifications from my phone mirrored on the smartwatch was the next thing that was important to me. Everything else like fitness tracking is nice to have, but not important.

      6. onefang Silver badge

        Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

        I'll put my hand up as a non watch wearer, as you can clearly see if you look at my bare* wrist as I wave it in the air. Last time I wore a watch was late last century. I stopped when it broke and I figured I can use my mobile phone instead.

        * OK, it's not entirely bare, I wear some medibling, a very shiny titanium medical ID, but that's only a recent addition. I guess I could weld a watch to it.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

        "I disagree, almost no one wears a watch because they want to tell time. Everyone carries a device that tells the time quite well on a large 4" to 6" screen already, and you can look around you in your home and every other environment you are in and see the time all over the place."

        Wrong.

        I wear a watch to tell time, and use it a fair bit.

        I can't be bothered trying to get out a phone and wake it up or open it to see the time, and if I do it in the car and get caught, it's a lot of demerit points and a $1,000 fine - the offence occurs the instant I touch the phone while seated in the driver's seat, unless legally parked, or unless it's firmly fastened to the car... having to put it in and out of a mount is just too annoying for words.

        I often leave the smartphone (the not phone) at home, as I don't actually use it as a phone but rather as a PDA, while my actual phone doesn't have 'apps'.

        My smartwatch - a Garmin - usually hangs on a hook in the house, and I charge it every couple of months to keep it going. Sometimes for variety I switch watches, and the smartwatch subs for the more rugged water-proof watch... still just telling time and sounding the occasional reminder alarm.

        Unless I am seated at a logged in computer, the only obvious sources of time in my house are the watch on my wrist, and the watch on the hook.

        I don't understand why some people think a big, clumsy, fragile, inconvenient, expensive, endurance-challenged, hard to read, easy to lose, privacy destroying, insecure smartphone is an adequate substitute for a real watch.

        Oh... the non-smart-watch also acts as a backup to my dive computer... something I would never trust a smartphone for, even if I found one that claimed to be water resistant to 200m. Admittedly a less common use case.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Franco Silver badge

      Re: The main reason for wearing a watch

      I'd disagree to an extent, based on my own experience.

      When I first started running I used my phone, as I had it, and didn't want to splash out on expensive kit for a hobby I might not keep up. However, to carry it you need either an armband (I sweat a lot when running, so uncomfortable for me) or a suitable pocket. That lead me to start buying Ronhill shorts, which although great, aren't cheap, purely for the large pockets at the rear waistband. Even at that, the phone is still heavy and moves around a bit.

      I have 2 watches, a normal one for everyday use, and a TomTom runner 2 cardio + music that was a gift for exercise use. I like to listen to music when I run, and it's lighter and more convenient than my phone, and you can disable all the trackers so as not to turn in to one of those irritating toolbags who feel the need to tell everyone how many steps they've done that day.

      Shame TomTom have exited the wearables market though.

  9. Not Enough Coffee

    I got back to wearing a watch last year. It's a digital Timex showing time, day, date. That's all I need. It's actually handier than digging out the smartphone when out and about, and the battery should last more than a year

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      I also began wearing wristwatches again after many years as a result of the smartphone. In the last few years I replaced a very old Nokia with a 5" smartphone and found that digging it out of my trouser pocket just to know the time was often a major PITA.

      Since then I've spent many times the value of the phone on watches, but that's a different problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually, I opted for a watch with a face that's a solar cell, which can charge the battery sufficiently under casual exposure to normal room light. Never had the battery run down, in about ten years.

      Given that it cost about 5% of what some people pay for smartphones, I'm reasonably pleased.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IoT-Hell: A slurpy Smartwatch is just a self-imposed...

    ...Open-prison ankle-bracelet for the 'Dumb Fucks' generation...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/29/strava_heatmap_military_base_locations/

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42853072

  11. Sporkinum

    Garmin Vivoactive

    I have been wearing a Vivoactive for a bit over a year now and love it. Easy to read screen, 2 week battery life, water proof, and a tiny bit of phone integration. Only issue I had was when I crashed on my electric skateboard, I shattered the glass. Watch still worked fine though. Got it replaced by Garmin for $50.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't want to connect to the Internet through my watch

    And I don't want to constantly charge and recharge my watch's battery.

    I do appreciate a watch having a heart rate monitor, GPS, compass, thermometer etc, and a trusty Casio G-Shock meets all those needs.

    Other than specialized fitness bands (which you won't be wearing all the time), 'smart wearables' will never take off. In fact, I've seen many joggers wearing their phone on their arm.

    1. Ron Swanson

      Rd: I don't want to connect to the Internet through my watch

      I have an Amazfit Bip, 45 days battery life, heart rate monitor, gps, notifications, etc, all for about £60. Best smartwatch I've ever owned, and I had all of the Pebbles.

  13. andyp-random-number

    It's like every thing else...

    ...it's just another market, there is always a certain amount of people that want these things just not everyone and when everyone doesn't buy them PR people seem to be surprised. Why doesn't everything have to be a kill app. What's wrong with just a product that suits just a certain amount of people?

    If you want a step counter, that's it you want a step counter, not an MP3 player that trebles up as a sewing machine. Just a good step counter.

    Gone are the days when companies made 50 different products, one to suit everyone, now they want one product that suits everyone and fail 9 times out of ten because they are only interested in money. They'd get their money if they made smaller runs of many more decent products.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You don't need Apps or any other encumbrances on Penal Tracking Bracelets.

    you just need GPS and a back channel up to the local Stasi.

  15. IT specialist

    Laughable comment

    Quote of the year: "It's hard to think what else a successful watch now needs."

    Ha! Laughable! Smartwatch usage is going overtake smartphone usage. They will be used for general computing. Give it a couple of years and then we'll see who's right.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Laughable comment

      "Give it a couple of years and then we'll see who's right."

      You mean about when the eyesight of the early adopter smartwatch generation is becoming less than perfect and they suddenly realise the display is just too small?

  16. handleoclast
  17. skershaw54

    Captain Hook's bad hand

    'Captain Hook's bad hand'

    Stuff like this is why I keep coming back here.

    1. handleoclast
      Coat

      Re: Captain Hook's bad hand

      Stuff like this is why I keep coming back here.

      His bad hand is his mouse hand. Things wouldn't work out well if he used his good hand for the mouse. Not when he's looking at pornhub.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Captain Hook's bad hand

      Thanks :-)

      TBCH I did steal it from somewhere - can't remember where exactly.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: I did steal it from somewhere - can't remember where exactly.

        Some high-street clothes shops leave their surplus hangers in boxes on the pavement.

  18. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    real world considerations

    Some industrial / mine sites have "no mobile phones" policies (actually "management mobile phones only"), due to truck drivers running into each other and similar incidents.

    a robust dumb watch is necessary while at work, - and left on the dresser when I am not.

    '

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: real world considerations

      "Some industrial / mine sites have "no mobile phones" policies"

      So do secure business meetings.

  19. phr0g

    Agree with many comments. I run about 3 times a week, only between 4 and 7 km at a time, so have Garmin forerunner 235. Battery is a week and it gives me notifications. for sms, alarms and calls.... That's all the smart I (personally) need All for very little money.

    "Smart watch" === "3D TV"

    .

  20. PassingStrange

    On the contrary...

    ...it goes to show that apps DO matter. Very much. And that, basically, there are precious few that work better on your wrist than on a bigger device - which is what I've been saying since day one of the "smart watch" hype. The world of apps was already pretty mature when that train hit the tracks, and no-one was able to point at anything obviously massively and generally useful that would justify a rather small screen permanently strapped to each of our wrists (except for the rather large number of hours each day when it was recharging, of course). And without that non-niche, killer app that we all "need", all you'll ever have, basically, is a rather expensive, high-tech, high-function timepiece.

    Technology is a wonderful thing - but I'm old enough to remember the start of the digital age, and I've lost track of the number of "clever" devices (digital and otherwise) I've seen hyped on the market that died without trace - because no-one actually bought them. Just because you can make something, that doesn't mean anyone needs it.

  21. Arrows Bray

    Correction

    The Garmin 935 *does* have an Uber app. Admittedly, it’s only for notifying you of the impending arrival of your cab, but it’s a start.

    I would get out more, but I don’t own a fitness tracker...

  22. Daniel Bower

    Fenix 5 owner having tried a Gear S3 and its miles better. Sure the S3 looked all pretty and could 'dp stuff' but the Fenix 5 does everything I want (eg I can check whether the text message I just received is worth reading etc) has all the fitness metrics you could possibly want AND has a battery life of 2-3 weeks.

    And that is with the watch face constantly on! Closest thing to a Pebble Steel out there...

  23. MooseMonkey

    Health Benefits of Smart Watch

    I'm a long sufferer of illness, but also try to exercise as much as I can. My Garmin smartwatch reads an approximation of my heart rate all day. I can tell two things from my stats..

    1) The day before my recurring illness flares up, resting HR increases, which notifies me to ease off abit

    2) Recovery heart rate decreases before a flare up too, so if I'm exercising, I know to knock it on the head.

    It also tells time, which is slightly useful too.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got 3 Rolexes!

    How cool is that, readers?

    1. sandman

      Re: I've got 3 Rolexes!

      Been shopping in Thailand, eh?

  25. M_W

    It's not surprising

    I had a Garmin Fenix 2 before the Apple Watch came out - it worked well for a while but you couldn't connect it to bluetooth without it killing both your phone and watch battery. Then after a while it died and I had it replaced by Garmin. In the meantime I bought an Apple Watch, which, in my opinion, was flawed from the outset. The device itself was flaky, the raise to turn on didn't work 50% of the time, it ran out of batteries within a few hours, but for me the massive flaw was that the fitness tracking was (and still is) very limited. It didn't do swimming properly, didn't do triathlon multi-sport, didn't do open water swimming, cycling wasn't reliable, GPS wasn't reliable and tracking for runs was way off.

    Ultimately when I got to my 3rd Garmin Fenix 2 replacement, the Fenix 3 had been released and Garmin gave me the option of either a replacement 2 or a brand new 3 and I pay a small amount to upgrade.

    My daughter now has my Apple watch after my wife having it for a while and hating it, having moved back to a normal swatch. I have been a happy Fenix 3 user for nearly 3 years. It's pretty reliable when it comes to all the activities I want to track. Granted - it does have it's flaws - but you get to learn them and it's much more customizable, and the notifications are good too, and it goes for ages on one charge. Says something that lots of Fenix 3 people have stuck with it even when they released the 5 as there's no reason to upgrade yet. I might do in a couple of years when this one dies.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smartwatch costs driver $400 (plus likely insurance hike) and demerit points

    A woman was convicted of distracted driving after using a smartphone connected smartwatch at a red light, and getting distracted thereby.

    $400, 3 demerit points, and an unhappy insurance company. At 9 demerits you must convince them to not suspend your licence, and at 15 your licence is suspended.

    She's lucky she was caught before the new law kicked in - at that point there are also automatic suspensions for the offence, regardless of demerit total, at 3, 7, and 30 days as well as a fine of $1K, $2K, and $3K for first, second, and third offence. With the third offence, it also goes to 6 demerits per offence.

    If suspended for three or more years, there are a whole lot of tests (eye, G1 and G2 road tests) and paperwork things to reinstate the licence.

    If suspended for ten or more years, you start as a new driver, with conditions like zero blood alcohol, no driving between midnight and 5 am, no driving on controlled access highways, must have a licensed driver in the passenger seat while driving, and likely you can't get automobile insurance or rent a car, so you will have to borrow one from a parent, spouse, etc - their insurance will probably go up for having a new driver at the wheel. All mandatory waiting periods between tests and licence level upgrades will be imposed.

    Best not wear a smartwatch while driving, even if you don't use it, as the presumption is that if an officer said you used it other than for time, you are likely the one not being truthful. I suppose you could keep one in the glove compartment, for when you are walking around.

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