Note: Do we need watches to tell us more than the time?

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My watch is not a smart watch, but looks pretty cool with its built-in calculator.

BBC News Technology journalist and Click presenter Alex Hudson has been somewhat prolific of late. I know this because I have him in my Circles in Google+ – a space which I am still experimenting with.

In Alex’s article, Do we need watches to tell us more than the time?, asks why smartwatches i.e. connected devices have not made it to the mainstream marketplace.

He cites Knight Rider as the main cultural reference for children of the 1970s / 80s like me, in which tech-forward car Kit is controlled by David Hasselhoff speaking into a futuristic watch.

This is not the case for me, as it was a commercial featuring one-time Doctor Who star Peter Davison and his showbiz wife Angie Dickinson trying to flog some saucepans with a ‘lifetime guarantee’.

To date I have been unable to find a high quality clip of this advertisement, but here’s a slightly ropey one so you get the general idea.

The upshot of Alex’s article is that tech is just not quite there for smartwatches. While the big players like Casio, Samsung and (possibly) Apple continue to tinker, smaller start-ups like Pebble are getting in the act by crowd-sourcing their projects.

Why am I interested in this?

In imagining wearable ‘care labels’ I have focused on highly visible designs which could be worn, for example, as badges in the ‘Star Trek communicator’ style – read my first thoughts here and additional thoughts about a possible role in my project for mobile devices here.

A wristwatch could be another location where care labels could be displayed. Possibly in a more discreet way, giving the wearer a greater amount of choice about who sees the labels and who doesn’t.

In addition to this, one of the main advantages of smartwatches is considered to be near-field communication. It’s interesting to contemplate a world where not only could we communicate our daily care labels but pick up those of other people within range.

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