The more you think about it, the more you have to blame science fiction for our current problem of technological social friction. Nowadays, people spend all their social time glued to their phones (I’m talking to you, person reading this on their iPhone or Android device). And it’s thanks to sweet ideas from films and books. Now that smartphones are easy, we can manufacture other futuristic looking things as well. The current attempt to make sci-fi a hip reality is the Galaxy Gear wristwatch by Samsung. That’s right, a damn wristwatch, molded by tech companies to be Leela’s wrist communicator (that can do anything).
Unfortunately, the new wristwatch thing, released in September (the first of its kind, to be followed no doubt by other brands), can’t do all that it’s promised. It sports a small screen, isn’t so convenient to use, and doesn’t support a lot of software, and only shares compatibility with the Galaxy Note 3. The device looks rad, true, but it’s not worth the US$300 you have to shell out. It must be pretty sweet to receive a telephone call and imagine yourself a secret agent with a wrist communicator, but ultimately it’s not as useful as almost any touchscreen device and is anything but classy. Also, it’s not water resistant?
I guess the appeal must be that it puts a shiny, new sheen on the wildly outdated wrist clock. I’ve seen so few watches in the past couple years, this has to be a way of selling a product to a now present void. People aren’t wearing watches because their phones can tell time? Well, why not sell a super watch to those same people! Weirdly, this could work, and probably will. After all, it’s sleek enough. People will replace their outdated, but retro, pocket and wristwatches for this kind of useless gizmo.
The question here is, why even bother with a wrist device? Digital clocks have already taken away modern culture’s ability to tell time on an analog, and phones have made that same digital device unfashionable. Is the industry already fed up with phones and tablets? Or is this a way of combating the other insane technological move, the one to science fiction eyewear?
Either way, the new smart wristwatch seems a waste of time, unless some company decides to make it absolutely different than the smartphone (like, make it worthwhile to have both, because no one will give up their pocket computers or even tablets for a tiny screen) or there are enough rich folks who need another device. The effort to make sleek science fiction technology a reality has to have a market. I’d say a pocket watch would be cooler than the wristwatch option, but it would just be a smaller smartphone on a chain. I know the sky’s the limit with technology, but the tech world should be trying to create something new, rather than force newer versions of items that should stay retro, or maybe even be given their day as they are. Older technology is still pretty sweet.