Handheld Technology

Rant: Dumb Smartwatches Say A Lot

By their wrists shall ye know them.

In the 1990s the glimpse of a Rolex wristwatch beneath the French cuff of a shirt told you most of what you needed to know about a man. It said: “I am successful, confident, a man of the world and a person of means. But I feel the need to wear this slab of expensive metal because you, on the other hand, might not be getting that vibe but might be impressed by this thing.”

The following decade saw the arrival of the charity wristband. That said: “I am a citizen of the world but I recognise that I am fortunate and wear this to demonstrate empathy with my brothers and sisters who may not be as fortunate as I. Hence the paying a quid for this thing. And anyway, Lance Armstrong’s my hero and everyone admires him, right? And even if you don’t like it I’m also wearing several friendship bands and festival ID tags because, although I’m a junior product marketing manager from Rutland, I’m actually pretty wild.”

Today, everybody — as in everybody you should not on any account spend any time with — has a smartwatch. It says: “When I’m not selling laser printers and consumables to companies inside the M25, I’m an athlete and techno-enthusiast. This device is a watch, yes, but it will also give me a very rough and unreliable guide to my heartbeat, how many steps I’ve walked, my sleep patterns and, if I dedicate a substantial amount of free time to the task, how my fitness regime is progressing.”

It’s got a big screen, a plastic strap, lurid colours and it has bits sticking out of it. It really doesn’t go with your suit. When you’re wearing it, proudly displaying it peeping out of your bulging cuff, or even taking it off to tell your colleagues all about it, you think it says a lot about you.

It does.


Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect

(He doesn't own a smartwatch.)


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Editorial Consultant for IDG Connect

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