I’ll admit it: I’m a technology geek. There’s a certain magic around technology, how it changes our lives and opens up vast new worlds of possibility. When I first heard about a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for something called the Pebble smartwatch I was immediately intrigued and wanted—nay, needed—to learn more.
I watched the launch video and soaked up every scrap of Pebble information on the internet, but my decision had already been made—I was hooked from the very first mention of “smartwatch.” I couldn’t give them my money fast enough.
Waiting for My Life to Change
The Pebble Kickstarter campaign ended in May 2012. I received my Pebble smartwatch in February 2013, around 9 months later. During that excruciatingly long period (we geeks tend to expect immediate gratification, don’t you know) I often stared at the empty spot on my wrist and ruminated about how the watch could be useful in my daily life.
One day I was walking with my two-year-old son as he tottered through a busy mall. I had to keep pulling out my phone to check if the important message I was expecting from my wife had finally arrived. The mall was too noisy to hear the ringer, and when I’m walking around (or running after my kid) I can’t always feel the phone vibrating in my pocket.
If only I had the Pebble, I thought, I could pay proper attention to my boy without worrying about missing a text or call.
Finally the Pebble arrived. There was an adjustment period, like there always is with any significant piece of technology that comes into your life, but eventually I personalized the smartwatch so it works the way I want it to. And my life is better for it.
One of the most common concerns I hear about smartwatches goes something like this: “I already get too many notifications on my phone. Won’t getting all those notifications on my wrist be even more distracting and annoying?” My response to this would be: Not necessarily. It can actually be better if you’re using a smartwatch.
It all has to do with how present you are in the moment, and how much any particular piece of technology might pull you out of that moment. Recently I was at a local ice rink, watching my son during his first skating lesson. I felt a subtle buzzing from the Pebble on my wrist and glanced at the watch to see a message from my wife, letting me know she’d arrived at the rink. I looked back up to see my son windmilling his arms and shrieking with laughter as he fell to the ice, a huge grin plastered over his face.
If I wasn’t wearing my smartwatch I probably would have missed my son’s antics in the time it would have taken to fish into my pocket, pull out my phone, and bring up the message on the screen. Sure, it’s only a difference of a few seconds, but a lot can happen in short span of time. And it’s easy to miss out on many of those special moments when your eyes are glued to your phone most of the time.
I’d love to say a proper goodbye, but let me check my Facebook feed first…
Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. There are times I still marvel at the power and versatility of the multi-function computer/camera/communicator I carry around in my pocket all day long. (And I’m totally addicted to one of those match-3 puzzle RPG games. Can’t get enough of that darned thing.) But I’m also growing more aware of how easy it is for my phone to pull me away from the important things in my life, like spending time with my family, writing stories, and even appreciating the simple beauty of a cotton ball cloud drifting by lazily overhead.
It Keeps Me Informed
One of the great things about my Pebble smartwatch is that it lets me leave my phone in my pocket unless I really need it. If my wife messages me to let me know she’s running late or I get a calendar reminder for an appointment that I’d completely forgotten about, the Pebble keeps me informed without completely pulling my attention away from the world around me.
Of course, smartwatches aren’t for everyone. Unlike the nearly universal popularity of smartphones, I suspect that smartwatches and similar wearable devices will occupy more of a niche space in the consumer landscape. But considering how useful wearables can be, I suspect that niche is going to get pretty darned big.
If you’re interested in wearable tech but feel the Pebble isn’t for you, check out Best Buy’s wide selection of wearable devices. The Pebble line of smartwatches is just one piece of a very large wearables pie, and this pie is growing at an incredible pace. When it comes to the future of wearable technology the possibilities are nearly endless, and I can’t wait to dive in.
(Pebble images from getpebble.com)