Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 08, 2015

Lenovo Magic View Offers a New Way to Look at a Smartwatch

It would be easy to think that the smartwatch concept in general was getting a bit played out, that tech makers had gone just about as far as they could go with a wristband and an accompanying watch face that connects to a smartphone. But Lenovo may have just found a little something new in the form of the “Magic View” system.

The Magic View started offering some initial stirrings back in late May, and recent reports say the system gives us a whole new way to look at a smartwatch with a second display. The second display isn't built into the watchband, or slung on the underside of some surface. Rather, it's a kind of viewfinder built into the display that, reports suggest, yields an experience very similar to Google Glass. Based on a demonstration from Lenovo's Tech World presentation, the comparison is more than apt. Reports suggest the technology is similar as well, as light is sent through a prism, which in turn serves as the display surface. But while Google Glass' surface was see-through—sort of a necessity for anyone walking around wearing one—Lenovo's Magic View is built into the watch, so there's a black background. Better yet, the display is almost impossible to see unless looking right at it, which gives a little extra privacy to those putting it to use.

As exciting as it sounds, it comes with a notable slug of bad news: this isn't really a product. At least, not yet; the Magic View system is really just a concept product more than anything, and Lenovo has no plans, at last report, to offer the device for sale. Some believe that's just as well since it would not only add bulk but also look kind of silly, much in the way some believed Google Glass did.

What the Magic View does show for us, though, is that the concept of smartwatches—indeed, the concept of wearable tech itself—is far from cemented in developers' minds. Thus, we're still seeing quite a few experiments crop up, some strange, and some surprisingly rational. This is a market that has to accommodate both rapidly-changing technology and the equally rapidly-changing vagaries of fashion. That's a market that pretty much has “fluid” stamped all over it, and so we'll likely see more of these experiments to come. Some of these may never see the light of day, and that's kind of a shame, but as experiments fail, lessons are learned, and so too does the future get developed.

One great example of this is the Wena Wrist, currently going through a crowdfunding program with Sony, that puts most of the technology in the watchband rather than the watch itself.

Wearable tech will likely continue to bring out these strange new concepts as time goes on, and we as a market will never know when the next leap, so to speak, will be the big one that gets us a major new product line. There's a lot to watch in the wearable tech field to come, and it might well look like Lenovo's Magic View. Or, conversely, it could be something completely different, and that's half the attraction of this market.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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