I would love to say that I was thrilled by the latest series of The Voice but I wasn’t. Not even when Will.i.am’s smartwatch rang in the middle of the final and the caller was apparently Cheryl Cole. Ordinarily someone’s phone ringing on live TV would be quite amusing but this incident was surely nothing more than a publicity stunt evolved to draw attention to the pop star’s latest business venture.
The man has been dropping hints about a new smartwatch for weeks and so it must have been extremely galling when the equipment clearly malfunctioned and the call was cut off mid-sentence. It didn’t help his cause that the voice on the other end was barely comprehensible and could have been anyone. Even if the gadget had functioned perfectly one wonders why the innovative Will.i.am is bothering. Smartwatches are not the next big thing and it is clear that few people want one.
Things are really looking bad for the smartwatch. Pebble don’t seem to be able to manufacture and deliver their product in timely fashion and if the reports I have heard are to be believed they have issues with answering complaints from their customers. Samsung have been reduced to giving away their Galaxy Gear watches with their phones and yet despite the freebies I have never actually seen anyone wearing one of the things.
This is almost certainly because smartwatches lack anything approximating style and are largely pointless. The tech giants are desperate to spark another feeding frenzy but the smartwatch revolution never got started and now the things look like the modern day Betamax video recorder. Whatever it is that we will all want next it isn’t going to be a watch that you can talk to.
What we really Want
Meanwhile quality watch sales go from strength to strength. Technology has been rejected by the discerning consumer in favour of traditional timepieces. Sure there have been developments in materials and functionality but essentially it is the mechanical movements of the high end manufacturers that are most treasured.
A Question of Style
Technology has marched on and it seems that we can no longer function without a smartphone or a tablet but when it comes to what we wear then style and the kudos of the brand still rule the roost. The public have spoken and it is clear that for the vast majority a watch is not a gadget it is a fashion statement, a status symbol or an investment.
Backing the Wrong Horse
If Will.i.am wants to branch out into timepieces he would do well to avoid smartwatches like the plague and turn his attention to more traditional models. His entrepreneurial spirit combined with his flair for fashion could be a winning combination in the watch market, a place in where his love of new technology will undoubtedly fail.
Of course I could be wrong. This could be a case of a man being way ahead of a market which could eventually catch up with his innovations but I think not. He would have done better to ally himself with Rolex, Tissot, Citizen or another leading brand and worn one of those on the show because all the evidence is that smartwatches don’t sell but celebrity and style do.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Sally Stacey is a keen writer who feels that smartwatches are rather a waste of time!