The Watch Reborn

26 Apr, 2012 | TechTdp

You know how, the other day, I wrote about the humble alarm clock needing an update? Well recently I was looking for a new wristwatch and I though the same thing, but I couldn't really think of what else you could get it to do (I wrote about using them to record medical data afterwards), there already seemed to be watches that did a variety of things to varying degrees of usefulness, but I felt there was something more, I just couldn't think what. Some other people haven't had that problem though, because the Pebble, a Kickstarter project, has been garnering a lot of press, not least for it's desire to allow apps (and the fact that they've raise several million dollars in pledges).

I haven't found a watch as such (I have a temporary one) and the Pebble is due in September, I may wait and see.  I briefly thought of using an iPod Nano with one of the watch bands available.  The idea of having storage, music and whatever else on my wrist along with telling the time appealed.  But you have to charge them quite often (at least you can charge them, it was changing the battery that killed my last watch, hence the hunt) and I doubted I call on the music (requiring I carry headphones all the time) or other facilities all that often.

I looked up a watch with an OLED screen I remembered, but the screen was tiny and didn't really appeal. Having been reading about E-ink screens I thought they might be suitable alternative to traditional watch displays, providing more room and option, but while still having low power draw. Guess what the Pebble uses (as it is, the Pebble only lasts 7 days)? I couldn't decide whether I wanted digital or analogue for my new watch, but I figured a digital screen could switch between either, or something else, giving much more flexibility.

There are already watches that connect to your phone to show the caller ID, or incoming text messages, some that will help track your fitness regime or monitor your health. There's isn't one that allows you to decide what it can do and that's what's exciting about the Pebble. Demand was obviously there.

You could say I'm late to the party on this one, but the story is still told in my family of my watch designs. You see my grandad used to work for Toshiba and I drew some designs and sent them to him. The designs featured TVs, video players (which show how old they were), fire extinguishers (I'm working from memory here) and lots of other cool(er) features. Oh, and they told the time.

Toshiba never made them (I don't doubt my grandad passed them on to the product development team, obviously), but I bet they feel foolish now.