With the sheer amount of technology in our lives sometimes even the thought of another gadget can be off-putting, but often they can have unexpected benefits.
I was a smartwatch hater.
I should preface this little rant by saying I hate being constantly attached to my phone, so the idea of strapping a smartwatch to myself, receiving notifications about incoming calls, emails and texts from my phone to my wrist was completely unappealing to me. Add to that the mostly uninspiring designs and poorly thought out user interfaces of the current crop of devices and it’s enough to make anyone wonder why this technology has had so much hype in the last few years.
Then I bought a Pebble smartwatch and a funny thing happened: I’m less stressed. Inside three days I stopped worrying where my phone was. I stopped dreading my inbox. I wasn’t missing calls, I wasn’t missing texts, I wasn’t constantly playing catch-up with my friends and colleagues. I used to worry about what horrors awaited me when I saw I had 25 new messages. Did I miss something important? Was I unavailable when someone was trying to contact me? Now I know what’s waiting for me when I choose to go answer emails. In short, it has taken all the surprise out of checking my channels.
So what drove me to take a chance on technology I wanted so badly to hate?
I never intended to buy a smartwatch, but that changed when I decided to track my fitness goals this spring. I have friends and family that use Fitbits and love them, so I went looking for one. Instead, I ended up buying a Pebble. Using a combination of free apps on the Pebble Store, like Misfit and RunKeeper, I have been able to track my daily step count (10,000 a day or bust!) and kilometres walked, just like I would be doing with the Fitbit, but now I can also create run schedules with RunKeeper, get email and call notifications, track the latest Blue Jays game, or even check BBC headlines.
So, although I feared wearing a smartwatch would leave me hopelessly fastened to my phone, quite the opposite happened. Now I don’t worry if I left my phone in another room or forgot to take it off the charger the night before. I just strap the watch on and forget.
Same Tech, Different Experience
As Apple gears up to launch its first smartwatch in April, there will no doubt be hundreds of articles just like this one, defending the devices and hating on them. New technology is often divisive like that, not to mention the Apple Watch must be one of the most hyped gadgets in recent memory. My initial repulsion to smartwatches has been calmed somewhat by my experience with this Pebble, so now I am looking forward to reading early reviews of this new Apple release with something like tempered enthusiasm. Even though I’m wearing a Pebble, I’m excited to see what Apple and the league of developers it boasts does with the smartwatch platform, and I’m also excited to see how users react. I’m curious to hear stories about how people will use it, and my guess is that it will be in unexpected ways.
Are you a smartwatch lover or hater? Let me know your reasons in the comments below.