Features: what your product does
Benefits: what these features mean to your audience
In case you missed it (like myself because of the World Cup), Google held their annual I/O event two weeks ago, announcing all things Google-related from Android to Chrome. One part of the event that stood out for me was Android Wear, Google’s custom platform for smartwatch development, with the release of their Software Development Kit (SDK), enabling developers to integrate their own devices with the platform.
When I was younger, the idea of having a watch that done everything on command was exciting. Imagine feeling like Michael Knight being able to call your car to come to you, instead of having to go all that effort to walk to your car and put all your shopping in the boot? Pretty cool right?
Nowadays, I’m not sure about smartwatches. For me, the basic feature of a watch is to tell the time. The benefit of being able to tell the time on my wrist enables me to keep track of time, make estimates of journey time so I don’t miss Game of Thrones when I get home, find out how much time I have before an appointment or a meeting. So in a nutshell, a watch enables me to plan my activities and schedule within the continuum of time. Having a smartphone is enough hassle, it’s pretty much carrying a micro computer in your pocket. Why would I need a watch to alert or notify me about events happening on my phone, which is inches away? Do I need to be connected all the time? Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, is dismissive of smartwatches, describing his experience of the Samsung Galaxy Gear as “disappointing”.
In general, I can’t see how a smartwatch can add much purpose or benefit to my day to day life. The thought of remembering to charge a watch would annoy me, especially when I have a Casio sitting on the shelf that can tell me the time and date, operate as a stopwatch, light up in the dark and is water resistant to a reasonable depth.
All is not lost on wearable tech though. Where the real benefit and value lies relates to health and fitness. The ability to track activity and take vitals, such as pulse rate serves some purpose in a smartwatch. Right now, a smartwatch seems nothing more than an extension of a smartphone which is not really necessary, nor beneficial.