One of the predicted breakthroughs for 2016 is for Smartwatches to become mainstream. I decided to buy one and try it out, just for fun and the possible learning opportunities. So, ten weeks into the experiment, here’s a random grasp of my insights and findings. And yes, I know I’m not a techie, though I do understand how user experiences are on the move, and yes, this is exactly why I was so curious.

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Which flavour?

I chose based upon looks only: I learned that there are basically two flavours, Android and Apple based systems. As I’ve been using both, my decision-making process was based on something else entirely – the beauty of the watch. I didn’t want to have something technically fancy, more just a nice piece on my wrist. Funnily enough, as this is a new market that’s only beginning to shape up, my expectation was that the Apple Watch would be my preferred choice. But after making a choice on looks only, I ended up buying the Huawei Watch.

Too shallow?

What I noticed during my online orientation and reading reviews, was that most reviews pointed to this watch because of its design. As there were no other main differentiation points, this became the most important driver. But I found myself wondering, as Huawei is not a brand I would usually choose, was it acceptable to buy it for just its looks?

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Strange concepts

Smartwatches are immature in terms of user experience. Basically it’s all new territory, as we’re not used to a phone interacting with something on our wrist. Hence, the users are immature too, not being used to such a device and connection. However, two months experience did teach me how strange the concept of a phone actually is! Stemming from being held at the ear, it’s tucked away into pockets, bags etc. before being taken out again. Surely this is happening at least 100 times a day?

Differentiating factor

Professionally, the rise of Smartwatches means another extension of brand touch points. Where most companies are focusing on responsive design and apps for mobile use, grasping and developing smartwatch UX and UI are going to be the next new thing. In terms of differentiating your brand, Smartwatches can be an interesting area to look at as it’s still in the early minority stage. When done properly and quickly it can hugely contribute to how innovative your brand is perceived.

Shift in phone usage

How about functionality today? Well, basically it’s limited. You can see the time, a great variety of watch face designs and there’s a series of apps available, which is growing rapidly of course. Next, follows the more mature functionalities like Satnav and health-monitoring functions, which are already working nicely. For me the main thing is that it has, in just a short amount of time, made me realise just how annoying it is to have to pick up your phone (or retrieve from your pocket) each and every time. Whilst Smartwatch development has a way to go, this is its main achievement today. I believe it will lead to a massive shift in phone usage and provide new life to wearable glasses or lenses, which – as we all know – failed a few years ago at the first attempt with Google Glass.

Anyway, like I put in the title of this article, this is only a one man’s experiment and opinion. Funnily enough, buying a Smartwatch opened my eyes. I would love to hear your views on this subject, so feel free to share your thoughts and comments too.