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A year with Pebble: What I've learned from the smartwatch

Jason Snell | Feb. 10, 2014
As it turns out, 2013 probably wasn't the Year of the Smartwatch, given that none of the wearable tech released last year set the world on fire. But 2013 was the year I got my first smartwatch, as the Pebble shipped in January, and, as one of the device's Kickstarter backers, I received mine a month later.

I don't want to type things on my watch. Phones and tablets are great for that. I'm not sure I want to take pictures with my watch, either. But basic interaction that lets me very quickly move on with my life without unlocking my phone and opening an app? Yes, please.

Simplicity is everything
After a year, I've learned that there are really only two ways I interact with my Pebble on a regular basis. By far the most common is the glance: I look at my wrist to see what time it is, or to read an incoming notification. In second place is the single button press, to dismiss a notification.

This is good. What I want in a smartwatch is a smart watch, not a little phone that's strapped to my wrist. One of the things I love about the Pebble is that it's not a phone and doesn't try to be one. Wearable devices like this should be simple, and interacting with them should be effortless. If I need complexity, I've got that phone in my pocket, packed full of apps.

And that brings it back to my original point, my favorite feature of the Pebble: It tells the time. That's a simple task, one that saves me a few seconds every time I glance at it. It's easy to dismiss such a simple task as being trivial or unimportant, but if the Pebble failed at it, I wouldn't still be wearing one.

Wearable devices that add too much complexity are missing the point. If 2014 is to be the Year of the Smartwatch, simplicity needs to be the name of the game.

 

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