Smartwatches has been around ever since Pebble watch became on the of the most successful Kickstarter story. The watch practically made smartwatch category popular when it first delivered the 1st generation watch back in 2013. We thought that in the next few years everyone will be wearing smartwatches and traditional mechanical watches are in trouble.
That seemed even more true when the Apple Watch was released in 2015. It’s build quality (steel version) and price point was obviously aimed to be the contender for swiss mechanical watches.
Fast forward to 2018 though, nothing really changed. The question that most people ask is still “Is it useful to wear a smartwatch?”.
I recently switch from the iPhone to the KeyOne which is android based. Sure enough the questions from my friends remains whether I’m going to buy another smartwatch and whether it’s going to be useful.
After getting used to the new phone (and convinced myself that I won’t be back to iOS for a while) I decided to buy another smartwatch, because it is actually useful for me. How useful it is, I’ll explain that later.
The watch that I bought was the TicWatch. Since WearOS smartwatches will still improve further I didn’t want to spend too much money just yet, hence the TicWatch as the most affordable smartwatch fits one of my requirements.
I won’t talk about the TicWatch so much as that is for another time, aside from saying that the watch has been great and very useful so far.
Personas of Smartwatch Users
I think to answer the question whether it’s useful to use a smartwatch or not we need to think of the different personas of the people that may use smartwatches.
The Fitness Enthusiast
Most smartwatches these days have good fitness tracker options including heart rate monitors. Most people who are looking for smartwatches for this reason might be better off with fitness oriented watches instead. Good examples will be the Garmin Fenix or the Fitbit Versa.
These watches are basically fitness first then smarts. Meaning their fitness function would be great but the customizability might be limited. As an example, the watches may be great at receiving notifications and popping up calendar reminder, but may not be able to reply or open things like Outlook.
The Appointment Person
To be honest with my role as a technical iteration manager, I actually fall under this category.
During work hours, the only watchface that I will use is the outlook face as it shows every appointments I have in a day as the ring on the border.
In the picture above I blurred out the actual appointment name. You can see that it’s very useful to quickly look at which free time slot I have and of course to see what’s next. Of course I can also look at this info on my phone, but it’s far too annoying taking my phone in and out of the pockets all the time.
So this is one of the use cases, to manage your day efficiently.
Let’s face it, we software engineers like to try something new and develop for different things. So there will definitely be the developers out there who develops for smartwatches. Just look at the plethora of apps ready to be used for Android Wear (Wear OS) and Apple Watch.
The cool thing about Android Wear lately is that there are a number of fashion brands that started to sell Wear OS based watches. To name a few big brands: Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer and Fossil.
You can see from the brands above that Wear OS covers the spectrum from everyday fashion to high end luxury products. On top of that, of course we have Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermes.
It’s safe to assume that there will be consumers who bought smartwatches for fashion.
With all the ideas above, the next time someone as “is it useful to wear a smartwatch” the correct answer will always be “it depends” . Every type of personas will have different requirements.