Smartwatches are relatively new compared to smartphones and similar gadgetry. That explains why one of the most popular questions asked is why use one? Why would anyone choose to use a wristwatch type device with a smaller screen that does virtually the same thing over a smartphone?
The short and simple answer is convenience.
When you think about it, that’s silly because convenience plays such a large role in all forms of technology. For example, most smartphones now utilize a voice dictation feature which allows you to perform actions, type out text or interact with your phone just by talking to it. If that isn’t convenient then I don’t know what is.
I’m sure you’re already wondering what all of this has to do with a smartwatch.
Why Use a Smartwatch?
In order to truly understand, you have to know what a smartwatch is capable of and what the limitations are. At least when it comes to most models on the market today, they are somewhat limited in nature. We’re going to explore the most popular questions about smartwatches:
- What’s the most practical thing a smartwatch can do?
- What else can they do?
- What are the requirements for using one?
- How are they different from smartphones?
- Are all smartwatches the same?
For now, let’s start off simple.
What Does a Smartwatch Do?
With most smartwatch models, in order to unlock the full potential of the device they must be paired with a smartphone. There are always exceptions to the rule and over time smartwatches will evolve. I’m sure it won’t be long before a standalone watch that is free of any inhibitions or physical limitations is put on store shelves. Still, smartwatches are designed to augment the modern smartphone experience so you’d do well to keep that in mind.
One of the most touted features of any smartwatch is that they can pair with a smartphone and display notifications, messages or even alerts right from the smaller screen. The reason for offering such a feature is, like I said above solely for convenience.
Imagine this, you’re sitting at dinner with friends and your phone goes off. You know you’re waiting for an important email from work, but since smartphones are always connected it’s likely you will get a few unwanted messages or alerts in the meantime. Your friends are talking, and you don’t want to be rude and pull out your smartphone. If you have a smartwatch, you can quickly glance down at your wrist without drawing extra attention. This action not only allows you to monitor incoming alerts giving you peace of mind, it also allows you to remain immersed in your social environment.
Of course, the scenario I just painted won’t be the same for everyone. If you own a smartwatch yourself I’m sure you’ll have your own experiences. The point here is that the watch adds an additional layer of convenience. It complements the standard smartphone experience, if you will.
Just think about how many times a day you spend glancing at your smartphone to check a notification or message alert. If you’re a geek like me, or you just flat out love your smartphone chances are high that you check it a lot. If all that is true, the simple notification feature of a smartwatch will save you quite a bit of time in the long run.
Is That All a Smartwatch Can Do?
Of course not! To be honest, the complete functionality depends on the make and model of the smartwatch. Some are designed to offer much simpler features, like a small LCD panel which is used to display icons while others include a capacitive touchscreen with mobile app support. It just depends on what model you’re looking at.
There are limitations, as most smartwatches do not include mobile data support (3G/4G). Furthermore, smartwatches that do support apps will need to have custom UI elements and tailored experiences specifically for the smaller screen. That means there’s a big potential to encounter poorly designed apps, or find a lack of useful apps on some platforms.
Why Do I Need to Use a Smartwatch?
Technically speaking, you need a smartphone with Bluetooth capabilities to unlock the full potential of a smartwatch. That is, if you want to receive notifications and alerts on your watch you’ll need to pair it directly with a compatible phone or device.
That being said, you don’t need any such device to get the wristwatch working. Some watches even come with Wi-Fi functionality built-in so you can download web apps or receive social media alerts. Keep in mind, even though wireless internet is fairly accessible these days it won’t always be available and certain functionality will be limited without a proper connection.
What Does a Smartwatch Do That My Smartphone Doesn’t?
If we’re being flat-out honest, then smartwatches have nothing different to offer. In fact, your smartphone probably has way more functionality than most smartwatches ever will have.
Now, some models like the MOTOACTV include unique functionality for a niche market. What do I mean by that? The MOTOACTV smartwatch as the name implies is for active people who love to track their progress. It includes built in functionality and sensors to track distance, pace, speed, elevation and more. It was designed from the ground up to offer such functionality though, which means most watches are devoid of similar features.
That brings us to our next point, no smartwatch is created equal.
Are All Smartwatches the Same?
No, absolutely not.
Just like there are hundreds of different smartphone types the same holds true for smartwatches. There are expensive and high-end models, cheap low-end models, fitness oriented models and much more. I’ll admit some of those descriptions I just gave were a bit poor, but you get the point.
There are different brands, models and even variations. Each of them offer separate features and functionality. Like I already outlined above some have been stripped of more advanced features like a touchscreen, while others include all kinds of cool tech and sensors. The total cost of a smartwatch also fluctuates depending on the brand and features included.
Obviously, some devices will offer more bang for your buck, just like any other product on the market. So, it would behoove you to read up and do plenty of research before you run out and nab a smartwatch for yourself.