My feelings about the Michael Bastian MB Chronowing are positive, but my larger feelings about the smartwatch segment are still reserved. I will be the first person to announce that “we have made it” with a truly appealing smartwatch that will be a good buy for most consumers. Smartwatches right now are products that do work, have some downsides, and that show incredible promise for the future.
This smartwatch differs greatly from Android Wear devices or the Apple Watch – but it’s an interesting approach nonetheless. It looks a lot more like a traditional watch than the aforementioned two, which could certainly have its place. The Apple Watch looks far too techy and computer-y to me (it’s essentially Apple cramming an iPhone onto your wrist, warts and all – the Windows PocketPC of smartwatches), whereas most Android Wear devices still need a lot of work (the bugs!).
This intermediate approach bridges the gap between a proper, classic watch and the techy stuff we see from Apple. This device sits on the classic watch end of the spectrum, whereas the Moto 360 sits closer to the modern end of the spectrum. The Apple Watch goes far beyond that, leaving the classic watch behind, trying to sell us a miniature smartphone on our wrists, just as Samsung is doing with the Gear S – with all the miniature, finnicky and convoluted controls that come with it.
I bought a Moto 360 last Saturday, and while I certainly like it – it’s a fascinating feat of engineering and a lot of fun to play with – I still fail to see the need for a miniature smartphone on your wrist. Android Wear allows for proper, full applications, but the display is just too small for these to be of any practical use. The notification stuff, however – the very centerpiece of Android Wear – is amazing, and you won’t realise until you wear one of these for a while just how liberating it is not to fumble around for your smartphone while out and about. For someone like me, who runs his own translation business and is always available to my clients, this is just great.
I don’t believe, however, that a smartwatch should do much more than handle notifications, which makes the application-centric approach of the Apple Watch so incredibly puzzling to me. But then, I’m guessing Apple is a lot smarter than me, and apparently they believe there’s a market for a tiny iPhone with finnicky applications and controls on your wrist.
I can’t wait to find out how this one pans out – which one will come out on top? Google’s minimalist approach, or Apple’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach?