02 Jul Google Wear: to buy, or not to buy?
Over the last week or so, I’ve been toying with the idea of pre-ordering one of the new Google Wear watches. On paper, it all makes sense. I own an Android phone (the HTC One), I use Google-based applications for much of my daily organisation, and use Google Hangouts to communicate via SMS and with work clients. I also recently removed the HTC BlinkFeed launcher, and replaced it with Google Now, so that I could make better use of the Google software. The watches are more reasonably priced than Google’s other piece of wearable tech, Google Glass. In theory, the Google Wear should be perfect for me.
Yet, I find myself hesitating. Maybe because several of my friends have pointed out that the watch, in practice, does nothing that my phone doesn’t already do (except the heartrate monitor) and so in essence, I’d be paying £170 to speak to my own hand. But that’s not it. I’ve always been a sucker for new technology. I get ridiculously excited by new ideas, and new ways of changing the way we live our lives through technology.
It’s not even the privacy concerns that are now pervading pretty much every tech giant in recent months. I’m aware that Google already knows far too much about me, I’m not sure what it would gain other than some pretty dull readings about how much exercise I do at the gym.
I think my willingness to take the plunge and buy the device hinges on one major factor: I can already see a better one coming up. Whilst these may technically be the second generation of Google Gear watches (the first being some very basic prototypes that are so far detached from what they’re trying to achieve with the second generation that the new arrivals are pretty much being branded as a totally new product), I can already picture the third generation.
For instance, the two devices that are about to launch have square screens. I’m personally a fan of a more rounded design, and Motorola are going to launch one in several months. Behind that, there’ll be more, with better screens, better batteries, a more refined UX and more possibilities. The truth is the project feels a little too prototype-y for my liking. There’ll be quirks and foibles within the UI that need ironed out. It’s already been highlighted that the battery chargers for the existing devices are clunky and frustrating. There’ll be far more refinement in the coming months and years to make Google Wear a far more enticing (and useful) device.
It wouldn’t surprise me if, in a moment of madness, I went ahead and got one after release. I think I’d find it rather entertaining. They do say that sometimes talking to yourself is the best way of finding intelligent conversation.
But I hope that I’ll hold off, and wait for a more refined and polished device. With each device launch, the prices will rise initially, then fall quickly, as they always do. Thanks to the integration with Android, I get the impression it’s a field where software will move forward rapidly, piggy-backing on the advancements made in mobile phone tech. The hardware is what’ll take a while to perfect and improve, but the possibilities for it are exciting and endless, and it’s far less pervasive and intrusive than Google Glass.
If you, like me, get far too excited by new technology and possibilities, then you may well find yourself in the same tussle as me. But keep an eye on that horizon. It’s not like iPhone 1, where we were all so amazed and gobsmacked by what had been launched in 2007 and couldn’t foresee the advancements made in the iPhone 3 in 2008. It was unchartered territory. This time around, we have a roadmap for development advancement. As amazing as it looks right now, by Christmas 2015 I think we’ll be looking at a vastly improved product.
Also, I tend to smash watches I wear off walls and the like, so waiting is probably for the best.