The computer watch
The first computer on a wrist was actually a calculator watch. A hot gizmo years ago, but still just a toy. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been the center of heated rumors that it is set to launch the iWatch. Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) has recently been rumored to be striving toward the same goal. While I question the value proposition of a watch computer, that two major players may be working on one suggests that we are likely to see such a device soon.
However, what exactly will an iWatch do? The screen size will be small, so there are notable limitations. After telling the time, an unnamed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) employee told Reuters that the functionality might include making phone calls, caller ID, GPS, and a pedometer. I doubt any of these are compelling enough to kill LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watch business.
The limitations are a big part of the problem. How much of a computer can be put into a watch and how much functionality can a small screen provide? If the answer is not much on either account, then Samsung and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are only making expensive add on gadgets. Sure, they might sell a lot of them, but they won’t be the revolutionary product either company desperately needs.
While one rumor is that Samsung has a better shot at breaking into the market with a viable product because it has full control of the manufacturing process, so what? Will a person really put down their $1,000 Tag Heuer watch, an LVMH nameplate, to wear a stripped down commodity computer watch? Watches are a fashion item that denote status and wealth, and unless the iWatch concept gets co-opted by the fashion industry, such devices will be little more than interchangeable toys.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has a habit of working on far out ideas. For example, the company’s self driving car is the stuff of science fiction brought to life. So, too, are founder Sergey Brin’s glasses. This futuristic device, nicknamed Glass, projects information into a user’s field of vision.
In February, Brin extolled the virtues of not having to constantly check a phone. An act he describes as socially isolating. Still, the push is interesting because it morphed the concept of a computer into a functional object that serves two useful purposes without compromise.