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
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