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Would You Wear a Windows Watch?

Many people I know have stopped wearing watches, opting to check their smartphones for the time. I’m among those who feel naked without my Seiko (having experienced that a few weeks ago when the battery suddenly died). I couldn’t change that battery fast enough. At the same time, I found a report in The Wall Street Journal that said Microsoft may be developing a Windows-based watch. Intriguing.

While Microsoft hasn’t commented on the report, The Journal said executives with an Asian suppliers said the company has requested components for a potential watch-type computing device. Microsoft, however, is only in the consideration stage, according to the report.

Until now, I’ve rolled my eyes at the spate of reports that Apple and Google have plans to offer wearable devices.  Take Google Glass, the glasses that let people take pictures using voice commands or certain physical gestures, as well as request directions and request other information from their Android phones. Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff gave a demo yesterday on NBC’s The Today Show.

The thought of replacing my glasses with Google's eyewear has as much appeal to me as having a chip implanted in my brain. I just had an eye exam last week, and as it turns out, my prescriptions have changed both for reading and distance. The doctor suggested I consider progressive lenses rather than replacing lenses on two sets of frames. But he warned me it takes some getting used to. Now imagine having progressive lenses that also let you search for information or take pictures? And if you were concerned about privacy before... well that’s a whole separate discussion.

The prospective Microsoft watch would have a 1.5-inch display for the prototype. I’m not expecting to see a Microsoft watch anytime soon but I must admit, I could see a day when I replace my Seiko with a timepiece that could give me a quick glance of my schedule, messages and other quick tidbits of information including of course, the time.

A watch-based interface would be much less invasive, districting and dangerous than eyewear. True the temptation to glance at my watch would increase but it would mean less pulling out of the phone to quickly access information. But I suppose it would suddenly become illegal to look at your watch while driving (but that’s a small price to pay). Perhaps the biggest fear is we’d see pedestrians walking the streets glued to their watches. However, those same pedestrians are already glued to their phones.

So I’m open to a watch that could let me quickly check my messages and perhaps look up information as long as it doesn’t look too odd and is as comfortable as my current timepiece. Nevertheless, I expect I’ll be changing the battery on my Seiko at least a few more times.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/01/2013 at 1:15 PM


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