Watching the emergence of wearables

There has been a lively buzz around I’m Watch, the Italian manufacturer claiming to have launched the world’s first ‘smart watch’ here at MWC.

What does the photo make you think of? A watch? A smartphone on a strap? A 1990s era PDA?

The concept of small, connected and wearable digital touchpoints has potential and will lead to the creation of new user experiences. The ‘smart watch’, however, is unlikely to achieve this in its current form.

I spent some time playing with I’m Watch and, while the build quality and materials are attractive, the overall experience feels like it is missing the point. They have essentially recreated a miniature smartphone UI and put it on a wrist strap. It looks and feels like a standard icon- and list-driven interface.

This new form factor has a role to play in creating an overall multi-touchpoint UX, but it won’t be replicating smartphone functions on your wrist. The real potential here is for manufacturers who can understand where small, wearable devices can add new interaction possibilities to broader digital experiences.

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