You may have read my recent review of three fitness trackers, one that clips on your belt or waistband, and the other two that you wear on your wrist. These are examples of wearable technology, which is the Next Big Thing, except that no one has done it right yet.
I was talking to my friend Doug Adams the other day, and he made an interesting comment. He said he wanted a wristband or bracelet that vibrates; nothing more than that. As we discussed the idea, I realized how useful this could be.
The smart watch idea is interesting, but it has to be tethered – wirelessly – to a smartphone. So it simply acts as a separate interface for the phone. I don’t really need to pay a few hundred dollars for something that shows me what’s on my phone, and I don’t care about seeing what time it is; I can get a $10 watch for that.
What would be useful, however, is a wristband that vibrates, giving you notifications when certain events occur. Say you have a calendar event, and you want a notification one hour before it happens: you can have this on your phone, but you may miss it. If your phone’s in your pocket, on silent – as mine is most of the time – it vibrates, but I often don’t feel it. If I had a wristband giving me a vibrating alarm, I wouldn’t miss that at all. The same is true for phone calls; I sometimes miss calls because I don’t feel my phone vibrate. If I had a wristband giving me alerts, I’d never miss it.
You would be able to set a variety of vibrations, for different notifications, just as you can now in iOS. You can set custom vibrations for alerts, so you can have all kinds of different vibrations to let you know when different notifications come in.
Smart watches may be the future, and we may just not know it, because no one’s done it right yet. But a vibrating wristband, for, say, $50, would be a boon for lots of us.