As Samsung beats back rumors of poor Galaxy Gear sales, it made me wonder what buyers really want to see in their ideal smartwatch? The world may be waiting to see what Apple unveils in the wearables category, but that hasn’t stopped companies like Sony, Qualcomm, and Pebble from trying to capture just a small sliver of this up and coming market.

As Qualcomm unveiled their Toq smartwatch with a $349 price tag, the world looked at the company with raised eyebrows and asked “How can you justify this price tag?” Qualcomm would say its due to the Mirasol screen technology, related battery life and outdoor viewing but the reality is even if the technology works as well as the company says, it’s still hard to justify paying $200 more than a Pebble or more than the already high-priced Galaxy Gear.

It begs the question of what we really need in a smartwatch. Do we need a camera? Do we need message notifications, and do we need to take a phone calling holding our wrist to our ears? I love Pocket, it’s one of my first installs with any new smartphone, but what am I going to do with it on a smartwatch? I generally bookmark more long-form writing to pick up later… does Samsung really expect me to even glance at the article on my smartwatch?


Image Credit via ABC

In my mind there’s no question that some of the Pebble and Android developers have created some intuitive and perhaps desirable applications, but are they necessary? It begs the question of what we really want in the wearables and specifically the smartwatch category. There’s no question in mind that this is a field that more players will enter including Apple, and that will drive growth and dare I say, innovation.

So I ask you, the 9to5 audience, what is your vision for a perfect smartwatch? What would it do, what would it look like and most important, how much would it cost?

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10 Responses to “As Samsung beats back rumors of poor Galaxy Gear sales, we ask what’s your dream smartwatch?”

  1. the most important:

    – bluetooth 4
    – connected to a phone (phone is still the most important)
    – an alarm when disconnected option
    – calling, sms (read), hangouts (at most front facing camera for hangouts)
    – great battery
    – of course notifications of everything from a phone
    – + obvious features of course :)

    I need it mostly as a phone guard when forgotten somewhere

  2. Jim Wiley says:

    Lets keep it simple here disregarding the other smart watches out there what would mine do? Lets start with the hardware
    Wireless: NFC, Wireless Charging, Bluetooth.
    Display: AMOLED 1.5″-1.6″ display w/ notification indicator light (as found on the nexus devices)
    Camera: Single front facing camera
    Audio: 2 mics for noise reduction and one minimal speaker for notifications (not for music or chatting)
    Sensors: Gyroscope, Thermometer, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Heartbeat monitor
    Battery: 500mha battery located in the wrist strap
    Other: Haptic Feedback

    Too many manufactures are trying to make smart watches appear as watches with the traditional enclosure with display and UI separate from the wrist strap, just like a traditional watch right? That is where they fail. We need to take a look at other wearables out there. Jawbone up and Fitbit flex are examples of wearable computers that contain hardware all the way around the wrist. In the same way the Galaxy gear didn’t go far enough in only including the camera in the wrist strap. What im imagining is a single, one piece band with a flexible portion that allows the band to magnetically detach from the main housing and form a “C” for you wrist to fit and then closes and locks magnetically again. The “strap” part of the device will have only camera, antenna, and wireless charging components. Because the hardware components will be distributed throughout the band, it will reduce the profile and maximum thickness of the device making it feel as natural as a regular watch in weight distribution (Avoid being top heavy). Ambient light sensor automatically detects indoor/outdoor lighting conditions and adjusts always on clock brightness to compensate. Other sensors will be used to create life tracking functionality. With good battery life, simple connectivity and wireless charging while on your wrist, we will see a generation of wearable technology attractive to the average consumer. That’s just what i think.

  3. Adam Fox says:

    I have no desire to own a watch, but if I did, it wouldn’t be a watch like the Gear….not saying the Gear is a bad IDEA…just saying its not very well rounded……the problems with the Gear and the whole smart watch thing is its dependency on other devices….the Gear requires you to have not just an Android device, but specific Android devices…meaning anyone that is interested in it, can’t be on iOS, Blackberry or Windows Phone…nor can they be using the other popular phones like the Motorola Droid series, the HTC One, etc….it HAS to be certain Samsung devices….plus, from what I have heard about the Gear, you have to charge it pretty much every day……in a world where we have to charge phones every day and people forget that….do we want to have to remember to charge our watch too? So, on those notes, here is my ideal smartwatch:

    #1 Price being under $200
    #2 battery that can get thru at least 3 days of use
    #3 no dependency on smartphone unless the app is available on BB, iOS, Android and Windows Phone

  4. They assume everyone’s pockets are loaded, the watch is pretty decent but it’s still a long way from perfection. The UI is also a rip off from their current phone, they should have customized it and make it much better for the end user.

    Oh, the call answering and stuff, is that really needed?

  5. Byron Swift says:

    I love my Galaxy Gear (now), this is due to the custom rom I’m running called “Null”. My watch can do anything my phones does and I don’t have the need to continue pulling my phone out. I can get any updates on my watch now that Samsung has included all notifications can be seen on the watch. The price is stupid!!!! Theses watches should never exceed $150. I only got that watch because it was $100 on a hookup deal :)

  6. Just a note that I’m already using Sony Smartwatch SW2.
    First – what to do. Obviously (for me at least) notifications on incoming calls, emails, SMSs, meetings (or just a glimpse at the meetings calendar for the next hour or two), to-dos, straight to my wrist. I can also think about some small apps, that could probably run on a smartphone, but having them on the wrist, all the time, is so much more convenient, so I can glance at them without being called rude or not paying attention, also when doing other things. I was thinking about some small casual/adventure games (go left/go right/select action type of interaction), about some learning assisting tools, shopping lists, etc.
    Of course fitness related apps, to be able to check yourself on a running route, whether you are better than the last time, to be able to change the music tracks, etc.
    Some GPS related stuff (to be clear – relying on smartphone in my pocket). When I’m walking in the city I don’t know I’m not neccesarily that interested to stare into my smartphone all the time. It would be enough if i have some simple ‘go-that-way’ view on my wrist, and make a quick glance at it from time to time, as I go.
    Be able to control my smartphone from my wrist. Eg. enable WiFI in the area where I expect it to be available, just to sync the latest emails, that again land on my wrist. So I can decide whether i need to pull out my phone at all :).
    I don’t need being able to make calls from the watch, i don’t need microphone/speakers, I don’t need web browser. In general I don’t need yet another smartphone on my wrist. IMHO it does not make sense to replicate it, assuming you are going to carry the smartphone anyway.

    On the physical and form factors – IP57 at least, battery of 1 week+ with regular use, touch screen (ohhh, now when i have SW2, I cannot imagine i’m fiddling on side buttons – like in Pebble, to navigate through menus, etc.), color is nice, but e-paper would do as well. MicroUSB charging port – I have plenty of cables around – lets reuse that. It must look like a watch (and not a toy). I like the look of SW2, it could be a tad slimmer, but in general i can wear it to a suit.

    On software – it better be stable. Over the last couple of days i had enough headaches with SW2. First to make it work at all (with my phone), then not too reinstall apps every day, etc. It gets stabilized, and i hope subsequent updates will fix most of the issues, but if my next smartwatch would be like that – it would be returned on the very same day i bought it. I would prefer it to do less, but super stable.
    On the software – with SDK available, so we can (as devs) add any new functionality later on.

    On price – i got my SW2 at $150 (some discounts in Poland). Once it gets stable – i can say thats the top value for me I can pay. $100 would be optimal, but $150 is acceptable (if it works as advertised).

  7. i dont want a smart watch.

    Maybe a normal watch with music controls and a notification led, thats it!

  8. I would have to try other smartwatches to see what I might be missing. However, I am very satisfied with my Galaxy Gear. It helped that I got a discount on it, but I do think that it is worth the price for my usage patterns.

  9. My ideal smartwatch would focus on biometrics. There’s a thing called a Scanadu (at least I think that’s how it’s spelled) that’s a hockey puck that you put up to your forehead that take a lot of readings. A smartwatch has the advantage that it is always in contact with your body. It can continuously measure heart rate, blood pressure, O2, glucose, temperature, etc. Imagine you get an alert that says “You seem to be overheating. Time to take a break and get some water.” Or “You’re blood pressure is starting to increase. Perhaps you should try to relax or get her number. Either way bros.” This would also be great for athletes because they could measure themselves continuously while exercising.

    Imagine someone would with a medical condition. If the watch senses that something is wrong, it could alert the person, who could acknowledge it, if it is in error. If they don’t acknowledge within a certain amount of time, it sounds a loud alarm to alert people near by who may be able to provide assistance, and calls 911 with their GPS coordinates and their stats, so the paramedics have an idea of what their vitals are before they arrive. Imagine if someone had a medical emergency while asleep. The watch would call 911 and save their life, when they otherwise would have died in bed.

    Imagine a shorter hospital stay because doctors could still monitor a patient remotely when they went home. Or how better informed someone’s general doctor would be when looking at their vitals during a normal day instead of only when they come into the office, which not be a representative sample.

    Now that would be an awesome watch, and well worth $500 to an athlete or anyone with a medical condition.

    The reason I don’t have a tablet is because it can’t do anything my smartphone doesn’t already do. It does less, only with a bigger screen. A smartwatch has to do something that I can’t get any other way. Alerts on my wrist doesn’t justify anything above about $30. And with the M7 motion co-processor on my 5S enabling Run Keeper Pocket Tracking, the NIke Fuelband would be redundant, if I had one. The swartwatch has to do something that only it can do, and taking advantage of constant contact with a person’s skin certainly opens that up.

  10. Sony Smartwatch price with slightly better Galaxy Gear specs and pure Android with a lot of Google Now thrown in.