Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Is it a watch, is it a phone?

TicWris has a new take on what a smartwatch should be and the results are somewhat different from the mainstream. Essentially, what the company has done with the Mx smartwatch is to take a smartphone, shrink it a little and slapped a watchstrap on it. Yes, this is not for people in need of a subtle device: it’s an Android device with a 2.86 inch screen, 32 GB of onboard storage and an 8 MP front-facing camera. Oh, and it supports a 4G connection too.

The NPD Take:

  • Is it really a watch, or simply a small phone? Does that matter? It’s not going to have mass-market appeal with its rather large size but there’s always a segment of the population that need the power and functionality of a device like this. Think of that audience that many years ago bought the Casio Calculator watch.
  • At $160 this is a cheap smartwatch, which may drive a slightly wider level of interest: buy it, use it occasionally and then maybe stop using it. But wear it knowing that you will certainly stand out from the mass smartwatch-waring market.

The Crown no more

According to a new patent spotted by Patently Apple, Apple may be considering dropping the rotating crown controller from the Apple Watch and replacing it with a slide gesture control. The new subtle control would allow users to slide up and down along the side of the watch and this would, presumably, replace that actions of the crown controller. Of course, just because the patent has been filed does not mean that we’ll see the change anytime soon, and certainly not on the next generation device that is expected later this year. But still, it shows that Apple is still thinking of ways to improve the watch.

The NPD Take:

  • This is a tough one. While losing the crown controller would certainly slim down the device a little there are disadvantages. Not least is the fact that a crown controller screams “watch” – it’s a key component of a traditional watch. And yet, of course, a smartwatch is hardly a traditional timepiece. But without the crown, does the device start to look even more just like a tiny smartphone?

Sneeze me another

While we are on the subject of patents (always fun to see how companies are thinking into the future) Dyson may be developing an interesting portable air purifier. According to a patent spotted by Engadget the device appears to be a set of headphones with an air purifier built into it. The two headphone speakers both have a filter, impeller and motor that will drive the clean air through a nozzle and to a front strip that will push the cleaned air towards your mouth and nose. Yes please!

The NPD Take:

  • It’s not the first take on a personal air purifier, but it’s certainly the first to think of combining the components needed for that process with a set of headphones, making the whole thing a little subtler. If (and it’s still an if) Dyson were to launch this soon we could expect it to be a pretty big commercial success thanks to current events such as the coronavirus outbreak. -
  • We’re hoping that the product will also have some “smarts” in it. Getting the feedback on just how poor the air quality was, and where, could be interesting feedback both for the wearer, and also as feedback for cities trying to improve overall air quality.


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