Android Wear and smart watches won’t take off without design

Many manufacturers are now releasing ‘smart’ watches. Samsung, LG, Pebble, Motorola, Withings and even Apple are rumored to be releasing a wearable as well. It’s no surprise really, watches have been around for a long time and they’re the next step in the evolution of making our everyday objects smarter.

Unfortunately many of these manufacturers such as LG and Samsung don’t understand that for something like a ‘smart’ watch to take off it needs to be thought of as a fashion accessory first. Traditionally when you buy a watch, only 1 thing matters and that is “Does it look good on my wrist?” You might argue that now these new watches are ‘smart’ but I challenge that, if these watches are ‘smart’ then how does that correlate with a ‘smart’ phone. All these ‘smart’ watches are there for currently is a combination of  the time, notifications and in some cases tracking steps and heart rate.

If Android Wear and by virtue smart watches are going to take off then Google need to start inspiring device makers to think outside the box with their Android Wear SDK. Google needs to design it for any form factor, from squares to circles and everything in between.

Smart watches will never take off with unoriginal design like LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. If you look at these 2 watches you can just tell that no design thought was put into it. There is not a lot of difference between them, they are the definition of generic.

LG G WatchSamsung Gear

They’re uninspiring and certainly not something I’d like to put on my wrist. Watches these days are thought of as fashion accessories, not ‘smart devices’. Consumers will want a fashion accessory that is smart.

Fear not, manufacturers can take inspiration from Motorola and Withings when it comes to design. If I were you I’d hold off on purchasing a new smart watch until these 2 are released. These 2 at least look like watches but behave like smart watches. The Moto 360 is an Android Wear watch but with a more familiar circular face. The Withings Activité is a smart watch that tracks your activity then syncs to an app, it’s not powered by Android Wear so it’s a more focused watch.

Moto 360 Withings Activite