Wanted: Real convergence instead of 'accessories' like Samsung's Galaxy Gear

Wanted: Real convergence instead of 'accessories' like Samsung's Galaxy Gear

Summary: At some point, I need to lug around less stuff. Wearable computing will be a big category, but it has to be more than an accessory.

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To hear consumer electronics vendors tell it I'm supposed to have a laptop, tablet, smartphone, maybe e-reader and now wearable "accessories" like Samsung's Galaxy Gear that'll reportedly run me $299.

It's a bit much. Way too much.

Samsung's Galaxy Gear would look enticing at the right price. About $150 approaches the right price, but $99 is definitely the right price. After all, you're asking me to take along yet one more thing to distract me from the present moment.

Samsung_Galaxy_Gear-5663_610x458
Credit: CNET

 

But there's a bigger problem here: The concept of convergence has died. If you're a true uber techie you're wearing Google Glass and a smart watch as you carry around your smartphone (not to mention tablet and maybe laptop). Good luck with that. How many tweet receptacles does one person really need? How many ways to take a picture are really necessary? How many devices do people need simply to conduct happiness fraud on Facebook?

Also: Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch looks rushed, misses the mark | See CNET Hands On with Samsung Gear

I realize convertible laptops haven't caught on with the masses, but the idea is in the right place. At some point, I need to lug around less stuff. Wearable computing will be a big category, but it has to be more than an accessory. Don't give me a dumb device Bluetoothed to my smartphone. Give me something that'll replace the damn smartphone.

Samsung has urged us to design our lives. In Samsung's view, that design includes buying a lot of the company's gear. Other tech giants have the same view.

At some point, this "here's yet another computing device" strategy breaks down. People only have so much money and only so much brainpower and bandwidth for devices. There are already signs of computing saturation. Computing devices will just start cannibalizing each other in the future.

If you really want a better design for your life you may want to kick off this cannibalization process now. Here's your homework: Ruthlessly cut any device you have to think for 3 seconds about packing before a business trip. Maybe you'll miss that device you left home. My guess is you won't.

Topics: Mobility, Samsung, Bring Your Own Device

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113 comments
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  • Hey Bloviating Bloglodyte listen up

    Today's PC is a long way from where it started but under your arbitrary requirements it would have had to be what it is today before it could be at all.
    greywolf7
    • I just don't see wearable tech.

      Today, if you drop a phone from your ear, there's still a good likelyhood it will break.

      Also, the idea of needing to charge, on a daily basis, my pants or a coat in order to realize the additional expense just isn't there for me.

      I haven't had to plug in my pants before, (except occasionally, on Halloween) and I just haven't seen any functional need to wear light-up pants except on that day.

      My current wrist watch does exactly what it's designed to do. It tells me the time, and only requires a battery change every two or three YEARS.

      If your looking to sell a watch that has to be charged daily, look to the Asian Marketplace who can't afford a good watch that can run for several years without user intervention. I just don't think it will be a success when it simply doesn't function the way my current timepiece does.
      MalcolmTucker
      • Perhaps you shouldn't read about wearable tech

        Just sayin you might be a mainstream kinda guy and not suited to the frontier.
        greywolf7
        • Frontier? More like...

          ...maybe not a lemming?
          Screaming_Chicken
        • Frontier?

          Um, the frontier of bankruptsy perhaps? so much of what I hear is "the new tech" is all fluff and the meat and potatoes are just like that other model..
          I have a dumb phone, makes calls, gets calls, send sms, gets sms.. don't need it to do other. Samsung Galaxy Player so I don't have to move music if I get a new phone.. it is just for apps and entertainment.. all wifi.. then I own a couple laptops and desktops, even a server and a nice NAS..
          oh and like the Malcolm Tucker, my Timex Ironman Triathalon does what I bought it for, and even keeps going under water.
          Putertechn
      • I think

        a lot of people think of this as just a watch. It's not.
        lizardspock23@...
        • Not so

          It's not that people don't "get" it or just see this as a watch. That isn't the point. You are paying $300 for the privilege of YET ANOTHER device that you have to charge daily. Even with that charge, what does it give you? It only gives you ANOTHER screen to sort of read notifications on or maybe control your phone from, yet doesn't have a good enough speaker to actually make calls from, if you don't mind everyone around you hearing it when you do. It adds absolutely nothing to our lives but costs quite a lot. When was the last time you used or bought a bluetooth earpiece? This is pretty much the same thing, except you read the screen instead of use it for phone calls. Even if you use a bluetooth earpiece (which honestly is the closest thing to the smartwatch, albeit without the screen), when would you want to spend $300 on one?

          If this was an actual PHONE with some basic android features, it would be awesome and charging it every day wouldn't be a big deal. As it stands, it ADDS nothing, really. Larry and Malcolm are right and have made a valid point. I don't see people buying this. If it was $100, then MAYBE. I would rather pull the phone out of my pocket when it vibrates rather than spend $350 on yet another device I have to charge every day, in addition to my work phone, personal phone, work computer, personal laptop and tablet. Each one of those has a purpose and I'm sick of even hauling them around/charging them every day (though it's necessary). Yet another device that simply duplicates some features isn't good enough.
          Stormborn
      • Wearable tech is very important, Malcolm

        Our ideation of tech via the sci-fi movies (like the v-shaped badge thingy Patrick Stewart used to communicate) shows us many uses, which in real life would be quite beneficial. In particular, military and medical. Specialization is a must, so these are not multi-function devices. Hence the multiplicity. Right tool in the right place.

        But who wouldn't want Dr Who's sonic screwdrivers, Dick Tracy watches? What the article argues is more multifunctional devices, and that's what MS is trying to create, spurred on by (imo) Ubuntu's now flailing plan set up four years ago.

        I grew up when black and white TV was born. First the tiny screen, then the big hulking credenza-like furniture with a turntable alongside, pride of the family or living room, see-how-rich-we-are. We tried to bundle as many functions as we could in the thing: we added reel tapes, remotes, speakers of varying quality. The more complex it became, the more it broke down or confused the customer. Same, for cars. So you had to become something of an electronics geek, to even run the thing. I remember my dad pouring over manuals for hours.

        Computing has gone the same route. So it becomes more complex. So we want simpler devices which somehow just do what we want. So that leads back to multiplicity. And hence to the desire for the simple.

        Today, I'm happy with my netbook and dumb cellphone. Don't want no tablet, phablet, smartphone. Younguns instead want their handhelds to do what a PC does, because right now it's 'cool'. The ache of complexity and multiplicity hasn't yet hit them fully. It will. Age has a habit of changing one's values from what's cool to what's easy. So the handhelds are the darling of the young, but oldsters like me would rather have a FEW devices, limitations and all.

        That dichotomy will always remain. So wearable tech will always have a niche; tablets etc., always a niche; the old-fashioned stuff, always a niche. So it will remain complex.

        The big concern is data access from long prior. As tech becomes obsolete, how do you preserve what you had which your older tech could read/process, but the newer stuff can't? How much important data are we losing? Major problem, that. The designers of the new stuff, just abandon compatibility with the older stuff. So the older stuff will always remain needful. That dichotomy also, will remain.
        brainout
      • Get the right phone

        "Today, if you drop a phone from your ear, there's still a good likelyhood it will break"

        Get a decent phone. Get Nokia Lumia. It is built like a tank.
        paul2011
    • The PC was what it is today before it could be at all.

      Thee PC has only changed significantly in the performance capacity of its hardware and some specifics in the various operating systems. Of course the graphical UI being the big change, but lets face it, its not like PC's can now fly or deep sea dive or do head spins and spit out nickels where before they only sat on your desk and performed various computations according to whatever program was running at the time.

      The problem with a smart watch as technology sits today is that a smart watch seems to be a solution looking for a problem. Sure, people have mentioned that they kind of like the idea of having a watch that might advise them a call is coming in and what the number is, maybe something that gives Facebook notifications or something, perhaps even calendar updates or such things.

      Others have pointed out some painfully obvious issues that are almost intrinsically attached to any smart phone that may come out in the near future, and most certainly appear to be with this Samsung effort.

      1. If the screen is big enough to be useful for much at all, its likely to be a clunky watch.

      2. Even when the screen is big enough to make for a clunky watch it may still be too small to easily interface with on screen controls for many.

      3. While some may be happy with a smart watch with very limited capabilities, most people will want it to do more than just advise us a particular number is calling. Its quite evident that even with a big time company like Samsung producing this watch, by time you pack several different functions into the watch its processor is still too slow and clunky and even with a slow and clunky processor the battery like is relatively weak.

      4. This particular watch has one HUGE problem. Its only capable of interfacing with 2 different devices, both Samsung. It cuts out massive parts of the market entirely and that in itself is a killer. It begs the question as to what happens when you make such a device just like this that can interface with any mobile device? More battery drain? More watch clunkyness? More OS clunkyness? Who knows.

      5. A drift away from convergence. I suppose there will be those who will say "But who needs/wants convergence?" Most people at the very least do. So far there appears to be no possible way imaginable, understandably, how a smartwatch could replace a smartphone, never mind any other significant mobile device.

      6. Price. Price. Price. Price. Price. Cant say it enough. Im not going to suggest in ay way at all that Samsung hasn't price this "Gear" as reasonably as they can. If they could have done much better, how could I ever know. I couldn't, so as far as Im concerned, its priced about where one might as well expect it to be. $299.00. And that's too bad/scary. Im betting, so its just my opinion, that this is way over what most people would pay for this kind of thing. Dignan says $99 is just right, Im saying if you make some pretty good money and love gear, perhaps, but if this kind of thing could hook up with most devices, I would say much of the public wouldn't look at it for much more than about $75. Either way, its too much money for what it can do.

      Every time a manufacturer looks into making something like a smartwatch they have got to be thinking about all the above. Once you create the thing, whats it going to cost, because that's what your going to charge and what it costs is only going to be supported by what problems it solves. That's why the iPhone sold; it solved the problem of smartphone screen size vs. input controls. it made the internet and computing on a cell phone a workable reality.

      What nagging problem does the Samsung gear solve? Nothing significant really. And with that in mind, the answer to, "what should such a thing cost then?" , the only reasonable answer so far has got to be "nothing significant really". And that translates into a whole lot less than $299.
      Cayble
  • Now we know Samsung cannot design

    It is clearly that Samsung rushed this to market to beat Apple. That is the thing about Samsung and the rest of the Android companies. They release half baked products and always concentrate on the "What(s)" instead of the "HOW" like that fruit company.

    It is all about the "HOW"stupid. You would think by now, Samsung should know this. Looking at this awful looking watch and how it does things, it is clearly that Samsung needs to copy Apple again once the iWatch or whatever they'll call it.

    Love love Apple.
    Plogpower
    • Apple I

      You would have a visceral reaction to Apple I. At what point should Apple have released their first product. Lisa? MAC IIgs? iPad?

      Can you define what a wearable device should do? Now do that one or two years ago.
      greywolf7
      • Would there have been a MAC without Xerox Park

        Think carefully...
        greywolf7
        • Shrug

          Would there have been a Xerox PARC without Douglas Engelbart? Few ideas originate from whole cloth. That was as true of Xerox as it was of Apple.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • The Apple I was highly polished for the day.

        I love it when noobs with no idea of what the computer industry was like 35+ years ago say silly things.
        Bruizer
        • That's laughable and totally misinformed

          Nt
          greywolf7
          • And 100% correct.

            That is the funny part. As I said, noobs trying to make historical references are funny.
            Bruizer
          • Actually nothing could be further from the truth

            You are just making false claims.
            greywolf7
          • So offer a real rebuttal, Greywolf, instead of...

            just panning another's comment. Remember, the Apple I was effectively the FIRST desktop computer and if you ignore the hand-made wooden case was an extremely polished device. The only difference between the I and the II was the molded plastic case.
            Vulpinemac
          • Nothing truly revolutionary from Apple

            The Apple I was NOT a significant milestone in the development of the personal computer. All the hardware components were designed by others: the processor, the RAM, video chips, etc. Steve WOZNIAK "merely" integrated everything into a nice package.

            The Apple I's selling point was that you could connect it to a home TV - no longer were you stuck with a panel of LEDs. But the "glass teletype" (computer monitor) was NOT Steve WOZNIAK'S invention either. His innovation was in using a TV as a poor man's substitute for a video display.

            So, the Apple I was probably the first affordable "desktop" computer because the Xerox Alto was clearly a proper desktop machine, and much more advanced than the Apple I.

            What kicked off the personal computer revolution was not the Apple I, but Intel's 4004 and Texas Instruments' TMS 1000 CPUs, the first true computer-on-a-chip microprocessors. But even this milestone was inevitable - the technology was there, so some company - group of engineers! - had to be first.

            -

            Did I forget to mention Steve Jobs? That's because he couldn't program or do engineering. He merely held on to Steve Wozniak's coattails and got rich through another person's work.
            Mike00000