My ideal smartwatch [Opinion and Poll]

I love watches. Yeah, you can see the time on your phone, which nowadays are in front of your eyes more often than not. However, I’ve gotten a long, long affinity for them ever since I was a kid.

I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve bought each and every watch during my entire life with my own money. Right from the time I bought a talking watch (a digital timepiece that read out the time when you pressed a button) when I was five years old, to my Timex Expedition (pictured below. The metal strap was something I got done the original leather wore out) which I got four years ago.

And I’ve wanted an awesome smartwatch ever since I got my first Android phone. The problem is, the category of devices is still in its infancy, and for that reason the options available have failed to live up to my own expectations from them.

The one I like the most, the i’m Watch, is not even in the same galaxy as my budget. I love the design, especially the fact that the watch itself doesn’t pop out (I’m pretty darn certain I’ll bang the Sony SmartWatch every other day of use) but I cannot ever justify spending $469 on it.

If nothing else compelling comes out, I’ll probably just go for the Motoactv sometime during the summer (if any of you have one, do put in your own reviews in the comments).

Anyway, I was recently discussing with a friend what my idea smartwatch would be, and I thought I might share it with others to see if my demands match those of the most.

4GB on board memory, and bluetooth phone music player control

I don’t have a large music library, so 4GB on board memory would be more than sufficient for me. Plus the only time I’m without my phone is if I’m working out (which I barely do), so simply controlling my phone’s music player would be more than sufficient for 99% of the time.

Receive and make calls

I hate forgetting my phone in my pocket while driving. Despite always wearing straight-fit jeans, I can never get my phone out. Receiving and making calls from the watch would be God-sent.

Google Navigation support

Remember the navigation display in Google’s Project Glass video? I’d love navigation options coming like that on my watch. I love the challenge Google have set themselves with Project Glass, but I feel nearly everything there in the video should be available really soon, in the same UX manner, on a watch. The watch should be what helps you avoid taking your phone out every time.

Taking the navigation feature a step forward, I’d like to have a feature where the watch vibrates to alert me if I miss a turn, or cross my destination.

Voice-to-text

If and when Majel comes out, I would really, really love something that connects to that. Again, it goes back to the Project Glass feature. Receive mail notification? Read it out to me please, and then let me speak my reply. Pretty basic, and yet awesome.

Apps

Have a really simple marketplace, with preferably a website from where a user can add capabilities. If it can’t do that, then it’s not a smartwatch.

Fitbit/Jawbone Up kind of capability

Track my data, and do whatever you want to do with it. Just do it reliably, and let me see it, too.

Customizable dials

It is, after all, a watch. And I’d love to keep designing my own dials (which can potentially be part of the marketplace alongside apps).

At the end of it all, I’d like to know which features do you want. I’ve added those that I’ve mentioned to the poll, but if you’ve got some other ideas that I’ve missed out on, go ahead and shout it out in the comments.

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  • LawrenceMcatee

    For the price i like the sony better imo but I really am drooling over the i’mwatch.

    phone in pocket while driving lol glad someone else has this disease ;p

  • http://www.facebook.com/ian.niblett Ian Niblett

    If there is main thing i want from a smart watch is it’s got to be always on so I can tell the time without having to push a button every time. therefore e-paper has got to be the best option so the screen doesn’t kill the battery. This kick starter project looks like the best option for me. 
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android

    • Quboid

      That’s pretty cool, I’m tempted to throw a hundred bucks their way. I’d like more convincing that they are going to deliver, the only other Kickstarter I’ve given to was just $15 for Wasteland 2 so if that never materialises, well, not a big loss, but a hundred bucks?

    • leaponover

      Yeah, this does everything I need!  My watch needs to show notifications, caller id, an control music and that’s it.  I don’t need it to make and receive calls, just let me know if it’s worth getting the phone from my pocket.  I think i’ll kickstart this one!

  • http://www.riela-racing.nl/ Pyronick

    I just wished that there would be something like a Suunto Ambit or Garmin Forerunner 610XT with a color e-paper screen (like the Pebble) with touch functionality, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Power and a real topographical (base)map.

    That would make me happy. The ability to run apps is also important – as that is the key feature which makes a watch “smart”.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BRNHTJFFCZXQBOBIXMRYWQHI5E DrewS

    I have the motoactv rooted.  I was not interested in the stock features at all, but rooted it still isn’t exactly what I expected.  All I use it for at this point is to show my clock/weather widget on the screen and it’s more or less a regular watch.  Yeah it can run spotify, netflix, youtube, angry birds, etc.  But it needs a wifi connection.  It also dosen’t sync with my smartphone correctly when running zeam (or any other 3rd party launcher) so the notifications from my phone show up.  Even if I used the stock moto launcher the main notifications I want are google talk messages since most of my friends use android phones and none of us text anymore, but these don’t get sent to the motoactv.  The watch also doesn’t have a vibrating motor, speaker, or  microphone, but the headphone jack does accept a mic input so you would have to make calls that way or with a bluetooth headset.  The screen also turns off frequently and its mildly annoying to have to hit the power button to wake it up.  This might sound like I’m nitpicking, but when you have to do this every time you want to check the time/weather it is almost as inconvenient as taking your phone out of your pocket.   It does also have a built in GPS so the navigation works well without the phone.  It’s a really cool device and definitely  a conversation piece, but it’s not an extension of my phone the way I want it to be.  It’s pretty much an autonomous weaker version of my smartphone after I rooted it which is cool, but not as useful as I expected it to be, and I find myself letting it die and not wearing it much anymore.  We have custom roms out which are modified versions of the stock firmware, and I think there is an AOSP rom in the works, but the devs said that getting a custom kernel to boot is posing some problems, and the Play store still doesn’t work on the device (the amazon app store is the primary method of loading ups on it).  It’ll be interesting to see what they can come up with as their work so far has been magnificent.  I already backed the pebble watch and I think that that will replace the motoactv as my primary smartwatch because it seems to address almost all of my problems with the device.  It has a vibrating motor so I’ll know when I have a notification, it’s e-paper so the screen will always be on with much longer battery life and be easier to read in direct sunlight, it has more customizable watch dials and will display notifications from my phone much better than a rooted motoactv does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1818366698 Mitchell Buchler

    I have a Motoactv. I tried to get am imwatch but the peoples website wouldn’t allow me to purchase. Its a very buggy site. I emailed them and they refused to help me. They lost a sale to motorola. I really like the Motoactv. I think it fits me better. Rooted its not as polished as an imwatch but it can do more. Its possible to use the Nook Color tether app to get internet access via bluetooth trough my thunderbolt but its kinda buggy. I think as smart watches gain traction the Motoactv dev community will increase. I also think once a stable AOSP rom is out the ability of this watch will double. Right now the motoblur rom on it really limits it. 

    I love the hardware. Its pretty awesome. But motorola really screwed this one up. What could have been an awesome piece of tech they turned into a glorified pedometer. 

    But as always… Root saves the day!

  • Curly Wyer
  • QuantumRand

    My ideal watch is one that has a fairly low profile/compact design, sets itself, charges itself, and is pretty much maintenance free. A titanium casing and band for that lightness is nice too. Casio’s ToughSolar Wavecepter hits pretty much all of those spots for me.

    I’m not interested in some monstrosity that sits on my wrist and needs to be recharged every night just so that I can see who’s calling me without taking my phone out of my pocket.

  • feztheforeigner

    Basically let me put all the awesome hardware into my phone and let the watch communicate via bluetooth or similar for computing. Just focus on aesthetics, battery, and screen with a fantastic communication to my phone

    This way, my watch will actually get more powerful over time without the need for upgrades.

  • Eli Yazdi

    Right now, I LOVE my WiMM.

  • SiloNova

    http://mobilephonewatches.co.uk/
    That’s the closest I have found. Okay, so they’re not exactly “smart phone” watches. To me, they are more comparable to mobile phones before the smart phone era.

    I got one of these from this site. A full stainless steel one. Still have it. Keeping it as a spare now since I got a Droid RAZR a few months ago (I started to miss Android, the apps, etc). Very good quality, user friendly, and was always the centre of conversation when I showed mine off, haha.

  • Pkmmte

    http://www.ibuygou.com/prod/Z1-Smart-Android-2-2-Watch-Phone-GPS-WiFi-Bluetooth.html

    What about this watch? Android 2.2 (with ICS update sometime), GPS, bluetooth, camera, mic, speaker, microSD slot, 2-in screen, Wifi, G-Sensor, 8GB memory, etc?

  • shonangreg

    I’d like a watch that has custom dials/skins intricately showing the insides of an analog watch — and I’d like to wear the watch on the inside of  my wrist with 12 o’clock pointing toward my hand. Raise your fist and there is the time. It seems to be the most ergonomic placement and orientation for a watch dial. Maybe an accelerometer could be used to “snap” the watch into one of several different orientations . . .

  • andrew__des_moines

    One of the best things about modern phones is a watch is no longer necessary, but to each his own.  I think a rugged smartwatch for kids would be a great product though — with the ability to call and receive texts from limited numbers, trackable; that is a product that would sell 10:1 over these gadgets.

  • siberslug

    I see a Law suit coming.
    I’ve owned Android Watches sense 1997.
    The founder Wing Liangs created the company in 1991 !!! 
    I have talked to him about it and it has been a growing issue for the last 8 months because people are confusing the two devices.

  • PKoenig44

    everything the I’M Watch does right now im content with

  • Nicholas Vanden Heuvel

    why hasn’t anyone mentioned the Song Smartwatch that just came out? Seems better and cheaper than all of the rest. 

  • http://www.mark717.com Mark Seven

    I want my watch to give me super strength and flight when I put it o… Wait… Is that an option??

  • http://plus.google.com/u/0/102467997776807454412 Malaeus

    someone needs to make a watch that uses the pixelQi stuff from the NotionInk Adam tablet. the screen that shifts from e-ink to full backlit LCD/OLED!  that would fix everything.