The market of wearable gadgets became mainstream just a couple years ago, and many consumers, including me, still do not fully understand what’s the point in spending money on another electronic device which you’d have to charge regularly.
I purchased my first piece of wearable technology, the Apple Watch Series 1, about two months ago. After using it for several weeks, I still haven’t figured out what it’s really for.
One of the two major categories of wearables is simple fitness trackers. You pair one with your smartphone, put it on the wrist, and live your usual life.
After that, the tiny little thing gathers information about how active you are throughout the day, what distance and where you walk on a typical day, how many steps you take, etc.
It knows where you are and what you do. The question is what’s in it for you.
The question I always ask myself when a big (or not very big) company introduces some new, revolutionary, product is “What’s in it for me?” The same question I asked myself when the abundance of various fitness trackers rushed straight to the market. And I didn’t know exactly what the answer to that could be.
The thing is fitness trackers are not medical equipment. So, strictly speaking, the results they tell you are only estimates based on the things you told the tracker (like your gender, weight, and height), and previous usage data.
And I am pretty sure I can estimate how active I was today without a tracker.
There’s a watch for that
Another type of wearable electronics out there is smartwatches. Those are pretty similar in functions to your smartphone (which they often depend on for connectivity).
The selling point of smartwatches is even more questionable than the one of fitness trackers. Besides tracking activity (except sleep, since most of models are designed to be charged every night), these gadgets show numerous notifications you receive on your smartphone on your wrist, and give you the interface to quickly reply with an emoji, or using your voice.
Although quick reply suggestions, when appropriate, can really save time, the experience seems to be too much limited for me. For instance, if the watch misinterpreted one word of what you said, you wouldn’t have the option to correct this concrete word—instead, you’s have to dictate the whole message all over again.
Some smartwatch models also have support for handwriting. However, scribbling words on a one-inch screen isn’t something you’d be comfortable doing on a regular basis.
Both fitness trackers and smartwatches are nice things to have. They usually look stylish. They can also make your life more interesting—just like any gadget would. But are these things a must-have (like smartphone is today)? Absolutely not.