Designing a Smarter Smart Watch

Designing a Smarter Smart Watch
31 May 13

Who could ever forget the 80’s? It was the decade where innovations came about and gave us a glimpse of the 21st century. With the launch of the first desktop PC, the IBM 5150, it forever changed our lives. Since technological innovation was slowly on the rise, a Japanese watch company saw this opportunity and released a game-changer in their industry— the Seiko Data 2000. It features a 4” x 10” character display, an external keyboard, and wireless docking (via electromagnetic pulses). The device can store up to 2000 characters and it had a calculator. Other watch manufacturers followed suit: Casio with its Databank line and Nelsonic with their game watches. Since then, watches were not just used to check the time, rather, it was used to store data and to entertain us. With the news of upcoming smart watches from Sony, Apple, Samsung, and even Microsoft, what do we want from our smart watches? Do we really need one? Here are some things smart watches should at least have

During the 90's, Swatch and Seiko introduced to the world a new type of smart watch—the Seiko Receptor and Swatch Beep. These watches used sub-carriers of FM radio frequencies and paging protocols in Europe. Both the Receptor and Beep would make Dick Tracy proud, if he lived in our era. For us, connectivity is the king since most people are moving from one place to the other. It would be nice if a smart watch could easily detect network or LTE signals. GPS navigation will also benefit from this because it would help people navigate through unfamiliar environments. Based on a study conducted by O2 in the United Kingdom, smartphones are considered “Swiss knife of the 21st century” because you are able to do various tasks including connecting to various connections (3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi). In fact, browsing the internet is considered the top activity that most users spend time on (24.81 time/day). Thus if the smart watches would have that option, we are certain it will be a big hit.

Wearable and Functional Design

Would you want to wear a wall clock-sized watch on your wrist? Well, design should be comfortable, not something that will make you stick out like a sore thumb. Good design should be acceptable to anyone and it must make you feel good. The function should also follow wearable design to really make someone say “Is that a new watch? Unfortunately, traditional or conventional watches have more power compared to most smart devices. Imagine a smart watch packed with the best features and apps, but with only an hour’s worth of battery life. Older smart watches like the Seiko RC-4000 (known as “world’s smallest computer” in 1985), can easily out trump modern smart devices when it comes to battery life. Smart watch designers should look into alternative power sources for their products, or suffer a deluge of complaints and hate mails

Tougher, Stronger and 'World Proof'

Not all watches are made equal and some of them are just good old fashion accessories. But what if smart watches are made tougher, stronger, and world-proof? It would be nice if these next generation watches are designed to be waterproof, magnetic, and shock-resistant. Aside from making it tougher and world-proof, other materials like Kevlar, carbon fiber, or plastic composites can be used to make these smart watches stronger. These materials will encase the smart watch’s components and protect it from the rigors of the daily commute. A scratch-proof glass would hurt and it would be a nice design for a tough watch.

With all the new technology coming out this year, we still need to see a better smart watch. Something that will catch our fancy and is priced reasonably. Here’s to hoping that the next generation of watches will help us open, connect to the world, in a different and unique way



Nadia Hyeong loves writing about new technology and gadgets. She likes being up-to-date with companies like Sony, Google and O2. During her free time, she would play games like Call of Duty or read comic books. Catch her on Twitter or Google+



Ewen Rankin