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Friday, September 23, 2005

Watches Vs Mobiles

Of late several attempts have been made to boost the appeal of watches by adding exotic new functions, from telephones and televisions to personal organisers. Mobile phone success clearly demonstrate that people will adopt new features on a device that originally just did one thing, making the watch look like a poor cousin, an older one at that. While mobiles are extensively used to send text messages, take pictures and play games, watchmakers need to find new features that play to the strengths of watches. For digital music with watches - the inconvenience of wires from wrist to ears come in the way. The controls also tend to be rather fiddly, and because weight and volume are at a premium in watches, battery life is usually not competitive with larger, dedicated devices such as Apple's iPod. Similar drawbacks have scuppered attempts to integrate personal organisers, digital cameras and other devices into watches.
The economist article points out that many users have their favourite items, including the time, cycling continuously, which allows surreptitious scanning of the latest sports results while sitting in a meeting. The watches can also display alerts from Microsoft's instant-messaging service, and can synchronise calendars with a PC. Lucas Alexander Karl Scheybal of LAKS believes this sort of watch has huge potential in e-commerce. Its latest twist on the memory watch, called SmartTransaction, integrates both the USB connector and a secure smart-card chip, like those used in credit cards, with a contactless interface developed by Philips, a Dutch electronics giant. By plugging the watch into a PC, funds or travel tickets can be downloaded to the chip without the need for a special smart-card reader. Being wrist-mounted, a watch is always close at hand, which makes it particularly convenient when operating contactless readers on public-transport systems (such as those used by London's Oyster system). A contactless chip inside a watch might also be the logical place to store e-cash, credit cards and personal medical records. Production of the new watches starts this month. Swatch also sees great potential for watches as contactless digital wallets. In July, 64,000 Swatch Access watches functioned as tickets to the opening events of the new Swiss national football stadium in Bern. So perhaps there is a role for the high-tech watch after all.I also believe that RFID + Watch would be an explosive combination. As this article shows Passive RFID tagging can be used for myriad uses in our day -to-day operations. It is amusing that the watch industry - both big and small - once the most dynamic is leaving the age ofpervasive communication age unexploited - efforts are being made - results -only time will tell.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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