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See Inside Scientific American Volume 310, Issue 6

What Would Make You Buy a Smartwatch?

Brilliant crowdsourced ideas that just might make these new tech accessories worth it
smartwatch
smartwatch


What functions SHOULD a smartwatch offer?
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As I wrote in my Scientific American column this month, the early smartwatches aren't exactly flying off store shelves. Clearly, something's wrong—with the design, the price, the features or the concept itself. Or all of the above.

Maybe, therefore, someone should poll the public. Someone should ask them what features a smartwatch should have.

That's exactly what I did. I asked my Twitter followers (I'm @pogue) a simple question: "The first smartwatches don't seem to offer features people want. Crowdsourcing moment: What functions SHOULD a smartwatch offer?"

Herewith, some of the most intriguing responses:‏

Payments, of course!—@TheDigitalJen

Should yell at you when you're going to be late, based on calendar and GPS info.—‏@russbengtson

A mirror screen to check my teeth for spinach.—@TheGirlPie

A smartwatch should offer the ability to act as a second-factor authentication to log you into your phone, tablet or PC.—‏@rbrock

The only real benefit of a watch is it touches your skin all day long. So the Q is: What can you do with that? Health monitoring.—‏@BoschsPoodle

Number one, it shouldn't make my wrist sweat like crazy. Number two, it shouldn't shatter if I bump it into a wall.—@GaryMWatson

Time, date, slim, analog dial, seamless sync w/all apps, video chat, Bluetooth voice commands, GPS, camera, 5-year battery.—‏@wmecke

It's easier to ask Q from wrist rather than pulling out your phone. So, it could be a Siri portal for your phone.—‏@mamatastic

Well, watch designers seem to like square forms, but I think round is best. Think of a clickable dial on the edge, like the first iPods.—‏@rtietz

I'm going to go out on a limb and say no one really wants a smart watch.... It's technology overkill.—‏@petechod

GPS. Air thermometer. Health monitoring. Phone. Ability to drive KITT from Knight Rider.—‏@javaonline

Solar-power charging.—@yorkiebar16

A pulse detector that notifies relatives if it stops. I don't want to be found days later if I pass alone. Fear of mine.—‏@pulrich

Let's start with not requiring a recharge every day. I thought we solved that with kinetic-powered watches already….—@VirtualTal

Apps. The ability to morph the watch depending on the use. ‏@emiliocarlock

An FM radio chip, please.—@WayneCabot

Maybe a Pez dispenser.—‏@joeuelk

Tell time...and maybe the date.—‏@Cfountain72

People will know what they want as soon as Apple tells them—when it releases the iWatch.—@MendzappJames

This article was originally published with the title "The Case Against Smartwatches."

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