Is the smartwatch fad over?

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Is the smartwatch fad over?

Never even happened for me.



I don’t really care about wearing “art” on my wrist. What I want is a smartwatch that’s useful. I think everyone rushed to turn their watch into the latest health monitoring device without realizing how few people are going to use it that way. (Some, yes. But not all.) I would rather have seen the push be about making smartwatches into personal assistants. Right now, the personal assistant feature on most smartwatches is sorely lacking. And yet, we’re seeing this blossom elsewhere (Alexa, Google Home, etc.) Basically, smartwatch makers bet on the wrong horse. Personal assistants are much more valuable to a wider variety of people that spending all day making sure you pulse is within acceptable parameters.



When looking at any graphs that include the Samsung Gear 2, take into account in those numbers that they are literally giving them away. Literally, literally.

I use my free one grudgingly when I run, but just as a stopwatch, and it’s the worst stopwatch ever. It’s heavy, clumsy, the touchscreen elements are tiny. Oh and the battery life suuuuucks; A 21:30 minute 5k - ladies :wink: - takes it from 100% to about 30% and the auto-screen on/off feature to save battery life is infuriatingly obtrusive and clunky. The watch is also loaded with fucking bloatware, has no internal memory, and for most uses, requires that you carry your phone anyway. I tried pairing with headphones to listen to the incredibly limited number of song I could fit on the watch, but between my Bluetooth curse, charging headphones and the additional battery drain, it really wasn’t worth it.

If the “watch” as a concept needed to be improved with some smarts, for my money, it’s needs to be a paperwhite display with optional lighting for night viewing, and have buttons. It needs to have all the common watch functions easily and dominantly available, with a simple way to receive and read sms messages without pairing to a phone. Period.




They’re just gearing up for Apple’s next great idea…smartrings. Sure you’ll need a magnifying glass to see the screen, but think how hip and cutting edge you’ll seem to all your friends and coworkers (at least those who are as equally moronic as you are). Now get in line iSlaves! /s

For wearing in the lab, my workshop and jogging, I have a G-Shock that works as reliably as it did when I bought it over a decade ago. For the office, I have a Citizen watch that’s elegant, durable and functional. When I get dressed to the nines, I put on my bea-utiful Oris automatic which will outlive me and get passed on to the next generation. All three are powered either by the sun or my arm movement. They’re smarter than any smartwatch that’ll be poisoning the water supply of some Chinese company town with heavy metals while my timepieces are all still ticking away.

ETA: Okay, I got a bit vitriolic there. Sorry. The culture of disposable electronics just ticks me off, and another thing that’s going to be obsolete within a couple of years of buying it seems like throwing more trash on the pile. Ugh.


I haven’t worn a watch in years, but I actually need one at the museum; I’m supposed to give talks and rotate galleries on a schedule, and we’re not supposed to have our phones. And I bought a fitness band to track my steps (since I can’t carry my phone, again) so I’d like to combine those two things.

I’ve liked the Pebble since it was on Kickstarter, I think I might ask for one for Christmas this year.


Good. I’m picking one up tomorrow, so I can be ahead of the curve for the smart watch retro craze.


It seems like the fad was at its peak before the Apple Watch was released for sale.

Excitement over the possible rather than the reality.


I still like mine. Had a Moto 360 which I gave away to a dev friend and picked up a Fossil Q. I certainly like having the buzzing on my wrist and notifications that I can check without being a total dick in a meeting. I think the main thing that it is really a niche product. Not for everyone, but those who use it get real functionality out of it. It is probably a 4-5 year device though. I won’t be doing any further upgrades until I absolutely need to.


Right on. The waste stream resulting from an “every two years” replacement philosophy is horrifying.


My wife wears an Apple watch and I like it so much, I’m contemplating jumping to iOS from Android.

Even if you don’t like smartwatches (or digital watches of any type), you should be like that they are in some way connected with increasing interest in mechanical watches. I was in Las Vegas a couple months ago and spent an hour or so in some of the watch stores in Ceasar’s Palace (I think I was one gin and tonic away from buying a Nomos). The stores I visited were doing a very brisk business.


And one wonders what happened to all the people who didn’t get to leave on the spaceship in Wall-E.


I mean, it’s a wrist communicator! What nerdy kid hasn’t wanted one of those since they were tiny?


It never really hit. The tech just isn’t there yet to make them attractive.


I’ll save you some time: yeah, the fad is over.


Oooh. Let’s play, “What would a smartwatch need to get you to buy it?”

For me:

  • The “smart” part needs to be able to die and yet the “watch” part still needs to work. I have watches that are hybrid analog/digital, which have separate batteries for each — I envision something similar. The “watch” battery should last months; the “smart” battery is less important, but should last a workday at least. Qi charging preferred
  • It needs to be comfortable. Note that I have sensitive skin, and find very, very few watches comfortable.
  • From a distance, it should be indistinguishable from a stylish, round, analog watch.
  • Finally, it has to have some utility beyond wearing a watch. Fitness tracker is a good one, but if that’s all, I might as well just get a FitBit and wear it with a watch. GPS might be useful. 2FA, Bluetooth/NFC trusted device, and password management would be very useful. “Locate my [other thing]” (like Tile) would be awesome for me, especially if it also worked in reverse.

The first one is probably a dealbreaker, so I don’t anticipate getting a smartwatch anytime soon.


I dread the thought that the fad is over because that means the manufacturers are going to start phasing out smartphones.

It’s not about what the customers need or even want. It’s about making sure we buy the new thing, and if the new thing isn’t appealing they’ll just take away the old thing.