You don’t need a smartwatch, but here’s why you should buy one anyway
However, not everyone agrees with the idea of smartwatches. I’ve heard a series of arguments against the idea, from the fact that we don’t need another device to charge every night, to the idea that a watch is a stylish accessory that is meant for a only set of functions centered on telling the time.
(See also: Smartwatches already need a design renaissance)
To some extent, I agree. Smartwatches just add another device to the list of things you need to remember to plug in before you go to bed every night. And of course, that’s an added expense for a product that will last as long as your smartphone, and we all know how long smartphones last. Are we trying to turn a potentially simple and permanent purchase into just one more disposable gadget?
Different smartwatches used different strategies to convince the potential buyer. Pebble initially raised funds via Kickstarter, playing on the public’s need for innovation and a tendency to root for the underdog. Samsung offered the Galaxy Gear as the perfect complement to the second screen of the Note 3 phablet at a time when people were still not convinced that large screens were acceptable and usable. Google partnered with a handful of established hardware makers to produce Android Wear smartwatches that combined easy push notification support for Android phones, with the highly intuitive Google Now service.
Apple placed its watch on the wrists of celebrities such as Beyonce, Pharell Williams and Katy Perry in a Beats-esque move aimed at making the device more desirable as a fashion accessory. All of the above are reasonable strategies that play to the strengths of brands and products.
But smartwatches don’t really need to exist right now. Checking my messages, answering calls, controlling my music and everything else can be done just by using my phone. But there’s a simple, old-fashioned geeky joy to eliminating these seemingly inefficient little steps. I love not having to reach for my phone to read a message, but just twist my wrist to read the latest grocery list my mom sent me.
I like to swipe my wrist to answer a pesky telemarketer call instead of reaching for my phone. I like to keep my hands on the wheel at all times while I’m driving, so I can shout instructions at my watch as to who to call and what response to send to the latest message from a friend who wants advice on the phone at to buy.
Ever since I’ve been wearing a smartwatch, I’ve often been asked what watch I’m wearing, simply because the idea of a glowing LED display on a wrist is new and uncommon. No matter how unattractive the smartwatch is compared to a well-designed traditional watch, it still commands attention simply because it is what it is. And while a traditional watch looks the same day after day, a smartwatch can have its face changed as you wish. App marketplaces already exist for Pebble and Android Wear that include dozens of aftermarket watch faces, while apps like Facer let you design your own watch face.
Above all, you can get a relatively cheap smartwatch. The LG G Watch can be bought online for less than Rs. 10,000 and even cheaper offline, while the Martian Notifier can be yours for the disposable price of Rs. 3,999. You get a fully-fledged electronic device for the same price you would pay for an entry-level watch.
Yes, I could easily do without my smartwatch. I’ve gone days without touching it and the only side effect is that I instinctively stare at my wrist (even if it’s bare) every time my phone rings. But when I have it, it just adds a little happiness to my life. The kind of happiness that only a completely useless gadget can give you.