Friday, September 16, 2011

Return of the Wristwatch

Fast Company reports: [edited]

Chances are, you don't wear a watch and haven't for quite some time. Meanwhile, your smartphone is shoved in a pocket, briefcase, or purse, and all your SMSs, phone calls, Twitter updates, and Facebook statuses are sitting in the fabric-lined darkness. Wouldn't it be, erm... handy to have all that viewable on your wrist?

Apple's touchscreen iPod Nano was an unexpected hit as a watch, spawning a large industry in peripheral watch straps. But the existing Nano doesn't have any connectivity, and while it does run apps, they're all proprietary and can't be changed.

It's possible Apple is planning something novel with the device to turn it into a full-fledged wrist computer. The first clue is the incorporation of Bluetooth 4.0 in newer Apple gear. The standard lowers power consumption and offers simpler 'pairing' between devices.

The always-accessible nature of a smartwatch could appeal to a generation who're used to 'checking in' on Foursquare everywhere they go, as well as basic status reading and updating on Facebook. And all those rumours of NFC payments get even more interesting if you could pay by simply waving your wrist over a sensor pad, with all the NFC circuits in the watch and its wristband, and all the hardware handshaking - including store loyalty cards and in-store downloaded ads - happening on the phone, securely in your pocket.

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