I’ve had my Pebble watch for around a week or two now, and I am very excited by it. I’m excited by not only what it can do now at it’s price but by what it represents the future can do with compact connected devices.
I see the Pebble as the introduction to idea of small & compact networked screens that complement our existing devices. The Pebble’s main advantage is that it has access to a phone providing it with with an always on network connection and a very fast processor.
I see the phone as the Pebble’s gateway to the connected world, not just a forwarder of notifications.
A smart watch will be addressable directly
Right now we are hacking notifications to our phones (via services like Pushover) but a watch like the Pebble will need to exist on its own and events should be publishable directly to it. There are things that are relevant to me that change between the context of my phone and my watch.
A smart watch shouldn’t receive all phone notifications
The idea that you will see all your email on the watch is going to kill the smart watch. No one wants email tied directly to their wrist, we should be taking the idea of Gmail’s Important or Apple’s VIP email and applying it to email notifications on the device.
Vibration should respect event severity
A phone vibrating is annoying, I’ve switched it off in Silent mode just so I can have a way to kill my phone’s annoyances.
A smart watch should receive more context about the notification to understand whether or not a vibration is required. Phone call - yes Email - maybe SMS from VIP - yes SMS from a group - No.
It should be thought of as a passive device
We can become addicted to a Dick Tracy phone that has all the bells and whistles such as talking to it or using it as a calculator — or we can build something that complements our networked world.
The watch can be something that receives contextual information based on our phone’s location such as routing information, important alerts and it can be something that prepares us for the future with upcoming & important information.
If I’m walking to a meeting, it could provide me route guidance if I veer off course on the streets.
If I have events coming up it can prepare me and guide me so I’m there are ready on time.
It’s not like what we tried before
Microsoft/MSN tried to build a watch that provided the weather, sports & news. It didn’t sell because society at the time wasn’t into the idea of connected devices — we had not been shown the power of the iPhone with notifications.
The old watches were set in the things they could do, they could be relevant to people other than a select group of people who wanted News + Weather + Sport. People now want information tailored to what they care about, not a generic template for everyone.