My problem is, I like what I have

I really like the company Pebble. People do not give them enough credit for developing the world of wrist computing before it broke out under all the big name companies. If you visit their website, you will truly get the impression of a committed group of people who have created a very reasonably priced smart wristwatch.

I have heard complaints about the look of the Pebble smart watch. Especially now that many major players, including Apple, are focusing on both the technology and aesthetics of their smart watches, it may be very hard even for a trailblazer like Pebble to compete. To be fair, I have no idea where their sales stand, and it definitely is possible that overall increased interest in wrist computing will actually help Pebble increase sales, rather than hurt sales from the competition. I do truly wish this company success.

Still, I think all smart watch technologies are suffering from a lack of a “killer”  application that makes them a required accessory, at least for the same crowd that lives by their smart phones. I personally have a Samsung galaxy version 3 smart phone. I could’ve easily upgraded to version 4 and then version 5 and of course, the soon-to-be version 6. But the truth is, I like my phone. The first version of this Samsung series of smart phones did not answer my needs. But this third version has a big enough screen and a powerful enough CPU to allow me to enjoy it as an entertainment tool, as well as use it as a professional tool. In my previous employment, I used this phone for receiving medical consults, via software that I had written. It served me extremely well.

I have not yet even been tempted to purchase a smart watch. The truth is that I do not usually wear a watch, so perhaps that is part of the reason that smart watches still fail to have an appeal to me. Nevertheless, I think that I would wear a smart watch if it had additional built-in technologies, beyond all of the health oriented sensors that are presently being included in the various versions of the smart watches.

I would humbly  argue that a company like Pebble has the opportunity to break out from the crowd, if they can combine their tech with other tech that creates a unique package.There is a company called SCiO that has a fascinating technology that can do a molecular analysis of pretty much anything. Imagine if Pebble incorporated such a technology into its watch so that your watch could be a true assistant and safety device, warning a peanut allergic person of peanut sauce in the food they are about to eat (yes, SCiO can do this). Also, I have seen concepts for having a smartwatch project an image, so imagine giving a presentation or watching a video projected onto the back of your hand from such a device.

I personally believe that it will not be too long before portable phones are reduced to the size of a sliver and then implanted under the skin of the wrist. And these slivers will project an image through the skin OR perhaps send an image to Google Glasses or some other type of techified glasses or contact lenses. Goodbye cellphones let alone watches? I think the window of opportunity for smart watches is actually quite small. In general, the whole world of wearable computing is being fiercely developed by top companies, and one can expect major revolutionary updates in wearable technology with each new year.

All of these companies selling such wearable technology will compete on the basis of functionality, look and feel of the devices, and definitely price. Whereas it seems that the mobile phone/phablet/tablet market is desperately trying  to find the next modification or add-on or app that will distinguish one product from another, the world of wearable computing is totally open and actually begging for solutions.

Perhaps it is the limits of my own vision but I do not truly perceive the benefits of a retina display on an Apple device versus the screen I have on my present phone. On the other hand, I am very much interested in seeing that first wearable product that will make me say “I need that”.

Thanks for listening

About the Author
Dr. Nahum Kovalski received his bachelor's of science in computer science and his medical degree in Canada. He came to Israel in 1991 and married his wife of 22 years in 1992. He has 3 amazing children and has lived in Jerusalem since making Aliyah. Dr. Kovalski was with TEREM Emergency Medical Services for 21 years until June of 2014, and is now a private consultant on medicine and technology.
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