Wearables – are we going back to basics?

Earlier this week, an article on Venturebeat highlighted the release of the Ditto, a new, no-gimmicks wearable device by Simple Matters. Weighing only 8 grams, this little device easily slips into your pocket and via a Bluetooth connection alerts you to messages and calls via a powerful vibrator motor inside.

For less than £20, this pod serves as a remote vibrating notification device for your phone and determines via a companion app (iOS or Android) what you consider important to be important alert type.

Powered by a standard watch battery, Ditto lasts four to six months with primary users likely to be women who keep their phones in their purses and would probably not wear any of the smart watches due to the way they are designed to date.

Talking of watches, one of the reasons why wristwatches are still being used since the 1880’s is because they do one job very well: they tell the time.

Another key to the wristwatch’s longevity is something we take for granted: we can tell the time with a simple flick up of the wrist, then a sharp downward glance, and it’s all over in a flash. And yes, we can do this while driving.

The new breed of wrist-borne wearables does both of these jobs very badly.

In the first place, they do more than tell the time, and in fact are touted as handling a multitude of tasks. But as the number of tasks increases, by definition the complexity of the device increases, which surely means their usefulness declines.

Why? Because the major attribute to getting the information from a wrist-bound device – the wrist flick and quick glance – has disappeared. To get information from a smart wearable device other than that already on display, not only does the user have to look at a screen for an extended period of time, but to get any other information from the deceive means that the other hand has to be used to activate whatever motion is needed to scroll, click or wind one’s way through the menu and options.

Maybe there is a bigger marketplace for no display, no lights, no gimmick wearables like the Ditto?

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