Six Things We Want From an Android Smartwatch

Currently there are around five smartwatches on the market: the Galaxy Gear, the Martian, the Pebble, the Sony Smart Watch 2 and the Qualcomm Toq. Each have their own capabilities, but none are perfect. Google's now has the opportunity to make the perfect smartwatch with Android Wear. Ultimately, what do we want to see from a smartwatch? This is our wishlist:

We would like our smart watches to work on their own, please. That means installing apps directly on the device, making calls without having to pull the phone out of our pockets, and supporting a Wireless N (or AC) network. Tethering from a smartphone should only occur while outside a local network. Note that the Galaxy Gear and Martian are capable of making calls, but they still require a paired smartphone.

Local Storage
This goes along with the previous standalone concept: locally installed apps need local storage. But let's push that even further. What if the smartwatch had enough local storage to play host to movies, videos and music. Users could plug in earphones and listen to their favorite album without needing an MP3 player or phone. Of course, this would require a better, smartphone-class battery.

Video Playback
Eventually this is going to happen. Smart watches will provide support for the various types of video compression, allowing users to watch a purchased movie or one taken by the user's smartphone camera. Smart watches would also need a mini-HDMI output component, or perhaps a way to stream video to a smart TV or some other DLNA-certified device.

Internet Browser
Sure, the internet would be rather small on a smart watch face, but smartphones started with small screens and highly simple internet pages. This is also where the local storage comes into play: storing Internet cache so that the browser isn't burning up the battery charge by downloading pages over and over. This would seemingly need a screen capable of a decent resolution and ppi.

Remote Control
What if you could control a desktop or laptop simply by touching the screen of your smart watch? That would be an interesting feature, requiring users to install apps on both platforms. Roccat does something similar with its Power-Grid software, which requires both the smartphone/tablet and desktop/laptop to remain on the same wireless network. Using a smartwatch to turn a room's lights on and off would be a neat feature as well.

Activate the Teleporter
Ok maybe we're asking too much.

  • Onus
    You're asking way too much. This is a wristwatch; it tells the time. Maybe it can show other simple measures such as footsteps or the afore-mentioned heart rate. Aside from simple measurements like these, it is not a computer, a multimedia host, or a web browser; if you need those, get a smartphone or tablet (which can also tell you the time). A wristwatch needs to be small, and require minimal attention (daily or even weekly charging is OUT); this may preclude even simple chores like showing the weather.
  • CaptainTom
    Because few people will pay $200 for a heart rate monitor. They already exist bud. This is not for that.
  • mastrom101
    I agree with Onus. I like the idea of a smartwatch, but for basic purposes like time, weather, checking emails, steps, etc. When I need to watch videos and browse the web, I might as well pull out my phone.
  • Pherule
    "storing Internet cache so that the browser isn't burning up the battery charge by downloading pages over and over." - what the hell did I just read?
  • matthelm
    I looked at the 6 items, and said, nope, don't need any of them. If pebble would get off their rear and get BLE working on Android, it would be perfect for me. I just want my alerts without getting my phone out and turning it on.
  • Haravikk
    I dunno about going too far overboard for a smart watch; the main thing I want from one is long battery life. While installing apps directly on it would be nice, I'd like to see these be as lightweight as possible, offloading tasks to another Android device if paired. I'm also not too fussy about onboard storage being huge, just needs something modest, though a Micro-SD slot wouldn't go amiss if it can be done while keeping the smart-watch water resistant (I like being able to check the time even if it's raining).But yeah; a smart watch needs to be a watch first, it shouldn't require charging every day or be so bogged down with cruft that I can barely use it. While I don't want it to just be an accessory for my phone, the apps need to stay focused on lightweight, quick tasks like getting reminders. Quick answering of calls coming to my phone would be nice. I'm not so sure about requiring WiFi support though, personally I'd be fine with just sharing my phone's connection, and setting up a computer to share its network connection via Bluetooth, then just have a button on my watch that can tell it when to connect, or have it connect automatically to sync every so often. WiFi seems like too big a battery drain for a device that only really needs small amounts of data.
  • Kota Smith
    What the f is wrong with these ^ people. "Thats to many features for me." lmao
  • 10tacle
    Maybe I'm the only one out there not seeing the need for this and being perfectly happy with his smart phone in his pocket at all times. Am I getting old and outdated now?
  • thundervore
    So basically these people want their phone on their wrist.Why don't we all just invest in Leela's wristband from Futurama. That's what everyone wants right?
  • Onus
    I just want a clock on my wrist. If it counts my steps, or measures my heart rate, without significantly affecting battery life, I'll consider it a bonus. Otherwise, a battery-sucking "smartwatch" is an answer in search of a problem.