I don’t wear my smartwatch anymore, and that’s a huge problem

When I first got my original Moto 360, I remember being amazed at how cool it was to have a piece of tech like that fit so nicely on my wrist. Every morning, I was excited to put on my new smartwatch and show it off to the world. It became part of my wardrobe similarly to how my phone did. In fact, if there was ever a time that I did forget it, I could always feel that it was missing. Unfortunately, this attachment to my smartwatch did not last forever.

I am a fairly forgetful person to begin with, and my forgetfulness only multiplies when I am running late. When I had a schedule full of 8 AM classes, I was almost always coming in right when (or usually after) class began. I was rushing to get to class on time and continually left my Moto 360 just sitting there charging on my dresser. This was the beginning of the end of my love affair with smartwatches.

Moto_360_(2nd gen)_Combo_LifestyleAs I continually left my house without my smartwatch, it became more and more apparent to me just how little I actually needed it. Nothing in my daily routine was actually helped by having a smartwatch. In class, I could use it to glance at notifications and see if it was something I needed to respond to, but we all know that I was going to take out my phone anyway. Touchless control would have been super useful, but I already had a Nexus 6 that I could control with my voice, so I rarely used it on the Moto 360.

Even the few times I actually used my smartwatch for something other than distraction, it was never anything that I couldn’t have done in almost the same amount of time with my phone. Because I didn’t actually need my smartwatch, it was much easier to let go of than I expected. In fact, it would be almost a month before I picked it up and put it on again. I don’t fit the mold of someone who needs a smartwatch, and the big problem is I don’t believe many other people do either.

I am not an athletic person and do not exercise extremely often, so I do not have much of a use for the health features like a heart-rate monitor or exercise tracker. The only health app that I used regularly was the pedometer, and I could have just as easily used my phone. I am also not often in a place where I cannot have my phone out to check notifications (maybe some of my professors do not like it, but that does not stop us college kids). Sure, I used it to glance at my notifications when they arrived, but I always took out my phone to deal with them anyway.

fitbit_force1At first, I thought maybe it was just me so I started looking around to see if anyone else at my college was using a smartwatch, and it turns out I am not too different from everyone else in this regard. I can probably count the amount of smartwatches I have seen on campus on two hands, and I never saw anyone actually interacting with their smartwatches. Interestingly enough, the people I assumed would have the most smartwatches (runners, bikers, athletes, etc.) were actually wearing fitness trackers like a Fitbit, if they had any wearable at all.

Of course, this is a limited sample of people to look at with the majority being students aside from the few professors that walk the grounds. But it seems like my idea that smartwatches have failed to catch on with the public is being backed up by some substantial numbers. A recent report from IDC shows that smartwatch shipments in Q3 of this year dropped over 50% when compared to the same quarter last year.

smartwatch-sales

If numbers aren’t your thing, then maybe this article from CNET saying that Motorola, LG, and Huawei aren’t going to be releasing new smartwatches any time soon will show you something is up. Could you imagine a phone company not releasing a new version of its phone every year? That is exactly what is happening with smartwatches, and the main reason is the majority of people just don’t care.

No smartwatch manufacturer has made a smartwatch that convinced the public it could add another level of convenience to their lives, and because of that, the public is not buying. Surprisingly, Apple, who has a good history of introducing new products that stick, has also failed to usher in the era of smartwatches. Even athletes who seem to be the ideal match for smartwatches would often rather save some money and get a fitness tracker instead. So what can companies do to make smartwatches the hit so many (including myself) thought they would be?

They need to give us a reason to purchase one in the first place. Right now, most smartwatches only do what I can already do on my phone. I don’t need a timer on my wrist, the ability to view photos on that tiny screen, or an option to type back a response to a text. Companies need to give us features that do not exist on our phones. Only then will smartwatches begin to don the wrists of people everywhere.

android_wear_4

I still believe that smartwatches have the opportunity to become big, and I still think they are awesome pieces of technology. But that is not enough of a reason for people to go purchase one. I will continue to wear my Moto 360 from time to time when I remember it, but I doubt it will ever become part of my daily wardrobe again. I hope that this time next year, I am wearing a fully updated smartwatch that has features I can only dream of. What features do you want to see on future smartwatches?

  • wingzero0

    First, forgetting your smartwatch is the same as forgetting a regular watch. If your not a person who wears a regular watch often or at all, you’d tend to forget it as well. I personally always wear a watch, so I don’t forget my smartwatch.

    Second, smartwatches are compliments to your phone; not a replacement. Of course you could take care of anything straight from your phone, but a smartwatch allows you to keep that in your pocket and then determine if the notification can wait or if you need to act on it.

    Not everyone wants or needs a smartwatch. Again, it serves as a compliment. Every tech writer who thinks some ‘killer app’ or hardware function is going to suddenly appear and make smartwatches more mainstream is sadly mistaken.

    Just as a good cabernet compliments a choice cut of steak, so does the smartwatch pair with your phone. You don’t need either compliment, and your meal (or phone in this case) will still be great without it.

    • For about 10 years I stopped wearing a watch and the tan lines subsided. Upon the release of smartwatches I just had to have one and now I feel naked without a watch again. I don’t forget my watch because it is just a part of my routine to pull it off the charger at the same time as a take my phone off the charger. No way to forget in that case.

      Smartwatches will be around forever, they aren’t going anywhere.

      • Low IQ

        I’m ambidextrous in might be the reason?
        But I switch off in wearing my watches Left or Right wrist?

    • Henry

      I’m not attempting to state that a smartwatch is anything more than a compliment to your phone. And me forgetting my smartwatch is not a problem with the smartwatch but rather something that led to my discovery of how little I actually used or need it.

      I fully understand that smartwatches are merely compliments to our phones, and my main point was that I believe that fact is what will continue to keep smartwatches a wildly niche product. There is nothing I can do faster or easier on my smartwatch versus my phone, and the public knows that.

      Of course, there are those who will continue to wear and use their smartwatches daily (and many are in the comment section of this article), but they represent a minuscule amount of the population. When it comes to the majority of people, they would (from my observations) rather by a fitness tracker than any other wearable because of both functionality and price.

      Thank you for an extremely well written opposing viewpoint, and enjoy your smartwatch!

  • djghettoredneck

    I love my smartwatches. Use them all day everyday.

  • Low IQ

    So the problem is remembering?
    Doesn’t the Smartwatch have a feature for remembering
    like timers & alarms?
    The ability to have discipline has always been a difficult thing to attain.
    This is no different.
    I’ve worn Watches all my life!
    So for me putting on a smartwatch is not a difficult thing to remember
    For many decades of all types of smartwatches from the first one I owned in 1978 manufactured by Seiko called the Pulsar.
    To the next series of different types for decades to come…
    OnHand PC by Matsucom, to the Fossil, released the Wrist PDA, a watch which ran the Palm OS and contained 8 MB of RAM and 4 MB of flash memory in WoWed my friends and family at the time.
    Next came the Microsoft releases the SPOT smartwatch in which used FM signals from radio to update News and calendar information.
    In 2010 purchased the Sony Ericsson LiveView a wearable watch device which is basically an external Bluetooth display for an Android Smartphone.
    To finally with my Android Wear & Samsung Gear series of watches in my 29 watch total.
    In all those years… I cant remember one day in which I didn’t wear at watch?

    • nikira

      I think most people don’t find the benefit of remembering the watch that important. It’s definitely a discipline thing, but it doesn’t sound like the value they get out of it is worth their time to remember. Also, those of us who stopped wearing watches because they started carrying phones around to get the time, the idea of going back to a watch for time and notifications may not be worth the effort of another item to carry and charge all the time. Although, lots of folks go out of their way to put on a tie every day, and that has even less value then the smartwatch. 🙂

  • hzd

    The Problems with smart watches :

    1. Battery life sucks and you have to keep taking it off and charge it
    2. Once you get a notification 90% you pull your out anyway
    3. pissing about with ambient display and or low brightness to make it last all day
    4. Messing about on a small display on your wrist looks weird in public

    after owning a Moto 360 2nd Gen and LG G watch, no matter what charging system they both sit in my drawer collecting dust ( the G watch wont charge anymore because LGS charging dock is a shit design )

    Smart watches will die and sports wearable will carry on with a small market share

    • Low IQ

      I charge my Samsung Gear S2 every couple of days or so…
      Usually at night when I’m sleeping as who wears a watch to bed?
      To if I want not to take my smartphone with me can still make calls with Gear S2.
      There is a multitude of options out in the Marketplace..
      You just need to make the right choice by needs.

    • nikira

      So, I have no side on this really, though I do own a Huawei watch and previously owned a moto 360 v1. The moto 360 charging was vastly superior to the charger on the huawei, but the huawei watch definitely lasts all day. Though, that said, your arguments against smart watches could be applied to phones.. #1 is the same for phones. #2 is the same in that a vibration in your pocket would make you take the phone out, although there are times i just look at my watch and see that the notification is nothing i need to deal with if I’m in the middle of something, #3 is also an issue with phone batteries. #4, while not weird, fiddling with your phone in public can sometimes be considered rude.

      Again, don’t think your wrong about smart watches not taking off, they definitely need some better uses then they have now.. I just don’t think the items you listed are the issues with the platform or we would not have smartphones either.

      • Henry

        I definitely see you point with this; however, there is a crucial difference when comparing smartwatch battery life to smartphone battery life. With a smartphone, you have several options for charging throughout the day. You can charge it in your car to and from work, at your desk at work, and at your desk at home.

        However, it is not nearly as easy to charge your smartwatch that way. If you are lucky enough to have a smartwatch that does not have a dock to charge, you could charge it at your desk. However, this completely ruins the functionality of the device. You have to take it off your wrist and set it on your desk while it charges, and while I cannot speak for all smartwatches, the few that I have experience with did not let you interact with them while they are charging.

        When you are charging your phone, you are free to use it pretty much however you please. That being said, I do think you are right that there are other reasons for smartwatches not catching on that are not mentioned in hzd’s comment.

        • nikira

          Yup, good points about charging. The only final thing to add that I think I mentioned is that the huawei watch i have does last all day and that is with the ambient display on but wifi turned off. The only time I’ve had it die on me was when it wasn’t charging from the previous days use (because of the lousy charger on the huawei watch which has been an issue multiple times).

  • Ron Jackson (ITYoda)

    Same as others. If I do happen to leave house without my original moto 360 I feel awful and naked. Constantly glancing at my empty wrist. I still have people today ask me about how nice my watch looks. Of course I added a standard silver with gold stripe band to it for 6 bucks after adding the steelconnect adapter. I do have to agree though that nothing has come along to make me desire another smartwatch although i keep looking. Once they come out with a round Android wear classy build that takes standard watch bands and supports a speakerphone for answering calls I’ll stick with what others still compliment.

  • Jeff Penver

    I’ve always worn watches and always wear my smart watch now. I think your issue is not sorting out your time keeping or routines and having to rush! When I wake, putting on my watch is as easy as putting on my glasses and picking up my phone.

    • Henry

      I suggest you take another look at what I wrote and notice that the problem was not forgetting to put on the watch. Me forgetting it only let to my realization of how little I used it or needed it, which was the main point of the post. Smartwatches do not provide (for many people) any advantages that are not fixed by either our phones or a much less expensive activity tracker.

  • Your problem is that you can’t remember a simple thing like putting on your watch in the morning. I suggest getting more sleep. As for usefulness, I have an active law practice, and see clients all day long. I am out an about to the Post Office, court, the bank and clients’ offices, and I couldn’t get along without my Gear S3. It takes calls, vibrates when I have a text, phone call or email, and generally lets me work efficiently all the time. Your problem doesn’t lie in your SmartWatch, it is in your head.

    • Henry

      The problem was not forgetting to put on the watch; that was only the thing that led to me realizing how little I actually used it. I am so surprised at the amount of people in the comments thinking that I am complaining about forgetting to put on my watch. That is not even a small point of my article.

      I am glad you are finding use in your smartwatch. In fact, I said in my article that I know there are those who actually use their smartwatch, and it sounds like you are one of them. But the amount of people who are actually using them and finding them useful is small and getting smaller.

      The main point of my article was not that I am forgetting to put my watch on now, but rather choosing not to because it is not useful enough to me.