Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 07, 2013

Would Carrie Bradshaw Wear a Smartwatch?

The future is in wearable technology, and many people believe that – despite Google’s efforts with its Google Glass project – it will be smartwatches that we’re all wearing in the near future. These are wireless, networked devices with screens and interfaces that we’ll wear on our wrists, turning us all into Dick Tracy or Maxwell Smart.

The problem, however, is that we live in a fashionable world, and neither Dick Tracy nor Maxwell Smart were particularly fashion-conscious.

“Will women wear smartwatches?” This is a question every smartwatch company should be asking itself. There are also many men who may not like the look of a clunky interface on the arm, as it would certainly spoil the look of an Armani suit.

Sony’s Xperia S Smartwatch was designed to look as much like an ordinary watch as possible, but one could never accuse it of being fashionable. Samsung seems to be at least aware of the problem. The South Korean electronics giant recently partnered with designer Dana Lorenz to create a line of jewelry meant to accompany its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and includes spiky metal charms that can attach to the watch's strap. CNet notes that, while the line doesn't include custom bands for the device yet, this could change in the future as demand rises.

“In the world of wearables, it's not enough for a device to simply include whiz-bang features,” writes CNet’s Shara Tibkin. “It also has to be stylish, a truth of the fashion world that technology companies haven't always realized. The Google Glass eyewear, for instance, has faced criticism over the somewhat dorky appearance it gives users, and Samsung's initial watches from the '90s looked more like something from ‘Star Trek’ than ‘Sex and the City.’”

A smartwatch that Carrie Bradshaw might wear is a long way off, if it’s on anyone’s radar at all.

There is the Bia GPS smartwatch, a fitness watch created by women for women. The watch’s creators, Cheryl Kellond and Sylvia Marino, say they designed the Bia in response to complaints from women that most fitness watches were too large and clunky and bruised or pinched their wrists. While the device isn’t exactly dainty, its diagonal fit across the top of the wrist is decidedly more streamlined, and the neoprene band comes in a variety of colors. The watch’s creators said they added other features designed to appeal to women: a panic button and an SOS safety alert that can be programmed to inform loved ones or emergency services of the wearer’s location thanks to the device’s GPS capabilities.

But a fitness watch, while very useful, isn’t a full-scale smartwatch, so the stylish of the world may have to wait a while longer until they can put something on their wrist that goes with the designer duds…or at least doesn’t make them look like they belong on the Starship Enterprise.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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