Nick Hammond

Software Developer, Cyclist, & Traveler.

Digital Watches

How did we get from a typical digital Casio watch to the Pebble and now to the Apple Watch?? That’s a very drastic transition. Here’s what I mean:

Low-tech(Casio)

  • Functionality - Time 1&2, chrono, stopwatch, timer
  • Battery - Forever
  • Durability - Incredible
  • Usability - 1-3 buttons, awkward at first but simple

Mid-tech(Pebble)

  • Functionality - Simple apps and notifications from developers. Uber, Evernote, RunKeeper, etc.
  • Battery - 7 days
  • Durability - Looks good, not sure
  • Usability - Multiple buttons and interactions

High-tech(Apple Watch, Android Wear)

  • Functionality - Infinite, distracting, notifications everywhere
  • Battery - 1.5 days, better charge it every night
  • Durability - Pretty good actually
  • Usability - It’s a tiny iPhone, wonderful

We went from a dumb watch that lasts forever to an annoying notification based watch that barely lasts a day. What happened to the in between? Here’s what Withings is doing in the analog world and it’s beautiful.

  • Automatic activity tracking - sleep, steps, and fitness
  • Automatic time zone adjustment
  • Vibration based alarm
  • Ideal wake/alarm times based on sleep cycle
  • iOS & Android app to automatically sync activity and settings
  • No notification integration
  • Battery - 6-7 months
  • Durability - Great
  • Usability - Amazing. Most interactions are controlled via the app with a few tap gestures on the watch face

Withings: I hope you’re looking at making a just as beautiful digital watch

Can we revisit digital watches and get back to something simple, functional, and that gets out of our way? Here’s a few ideas:

  • The majority if not all of what Withings is doing
  • Better usability - Easier to press buttons, tap based interactions
  • User programmable increment counters - Water, Coffee, Stayed on budget, Read a book, etc.
  • Multiple counters, multiple alarms
  • Motion activated face to save battery
  • Simple seconds and milliseconds animations
  • At least a month of battery, preferably longer
  • The only notification being an alarm or counter

P.S. We should keep in touch, subscribe below.