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Android Wear Gives Google Edge In Smartwatch Race
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Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 12:38:08 PM
smartwatch
I don't doubt Apple has the ability to turn out something comparable. I also don't doubt that the Apple fans would buy its watches no matter what the competition offers. 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 1:38:16 PM
Still waiting for Apple
I'm not really that impressed with any of the smartwatches we've seen so far, including those that run Android Wear. They just don't have any functionality that really impresses me.


I'm a big believer that a superlative fitness-oriented device could be a huge seller, however, so I'm curious to see what both Apple and Microsoft have in store. If the Apple rumors are even half true, the iWatch will be pitched as a breakthrough for this sort of device-- not just a step-counter or pulse rate monitor, but a real step toward the "quantifiable self." Microsoft, meanwhile, seems to be working in a similar vein. Amusingly, Apple's watch is rumored to have 10 sensors, whereas Microsoft's is supposed to have one more-- I can already see the marketing one-upsmanship that might be in store this fall. But if either company gives people an accurate snapshot of their day-to-day health as well as actionable ways to use that information, they'll sell more units than all the smartwatch-makers so far combined. At some point, the ability to capture health data will help people to live longer lives. We haven't seen a consumer product yet that really fits that—but with more and better sensors going into devices, someone is going to crack it eventually. Whether that's Apple or Microsoft remains to be seen; fitness devices could just as easily convince people that small aberrations are life-threatening problems, just like webMD convinces people that their sinus infections are actually the bubonic plague. But if the data's accurate, personalized and actionable—that's a different story. And that's just talking about fitness as a standalone function, without considering integration with other devices, which is an interesting conversation as well. Microsoft's watch is rumored to be cross-platform, and even if Apple makes the iWatch an iOS-exclusive device, the iPhone and iPad user base is already huge enough to support the tactic.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 3:14:56 PM
Re: smartwatch
It will be interesting to see what kind of data these devices collect. Apple and to a larger extent Google generally use this data for commercial purposes.

I expect to see terms of service that allow these companies to use this data for particular purposes - I cannot see these companies developing this type of product without the potential to rake in new types of datasets on users. 

Google is well known for this already - Apple not as much so that may be the differentiating factor between these two wearable ecosystems. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 3:30:57 PM
Re: Still waiting for Apple
> fitness devices could just as easily convince people that small aberrations are life-threatening problems

You've hit the nail on the head regarding the problem with self-health monitoring: Consumers are not the best interpreters of health data. Add to that the fact that data does not necessarily correlate with actual health -- obsessing over one's pulse won't prevent a cold or cancer -- and you have a recipe for a product that only occassionally will deliver actionalable data.

Health is much more than data.

You want a real smartwatch? Make one that shouts, "Don't eat that!" everytime you pick up a sugary cola or donut. That will save more lives than nifty pulse graphs and blood pressure readings. Of course people would hate the hectoring...
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 3:36:39 PM
Re: Still waiting for Apple
Yep, that's the key-- the data has to be actionable, rather than just a bunch of quantitative fluff. I'm hopeful that Apple or Microsoft will take a real step in this direction, at least for certain needs and lifestyles. But we'll see; the concept might not be as easy to integrate as some people hope. But if Apple doesn't deliver something that stands out, it'll be interesting to see how people react. The iWatch is becoming pretty mythologized in the media, and investors and customers are both eager for something new. Microsoft has less riding on its alleged smartwatch, though it'll have plenty to prove with Windows 9.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 5:41:45 PM
From to do lists to blood pressure
I agree with the article that Android Wear is a big step in untethering smartwatches from dependence on smartphones. They should be an extension of the phone but stand on their own. But while providing quick at-a-glance info and alerts are a big draw for me, smartwatches -- be it from Samsung, LG, Apple or whoever -- will need to have a strong health and fitness data element to really catch on and stay appealing.

At the very least, looking at your watch will no longer be considered rude because you'll be looking at something somewhat important, not just the time.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 6:21:43 PM
Re: Still waiting for Apple
That's true, with such easy access to health data, there will be lots of irrational over-worrying. But for a rational person who's sincerely trying to change his diet b/c of high blood pressure, smartwatch health data will be helpful. Unfortunately, most people are not rational. The hope is that smartwatches and other wearables will force us to better understand our health data and use it to take action.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 7:03:39 PM
Re: Still waiting for Apple
If the iWatch lands at the more extravagant end of rumors, it could help people with diabetes to more comfortably track glucose levels, and at-risk pre-diabetics to become aware before it's too late. That might not translate into mass market appeal, per se, but it's one hell of a niche appeal.  Just one example of a rational use case. There's been a bunch of rumors floating around that Apple's been taking meetings with the FDA. If there's truth to that rumor, I guess we'll see if Apple's full of ambition or hubris. There're also some supply chain reports that suggest Apple thinks it's going to sell an obscene amount of these things—something like 50 million in the device's first year, if I remember. Who knows if any of that's true, but if it is, it suggests incredible confidence.


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