Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Don't tell Apple, the next Big Thing are Watches

It is all a matter of having the right product at the right time.  IBM with the PCjr Personal Computer, Apple with the Newton iPad.

Innovations in watch making have been consistent throughout the decades.  It can be argued that some of the most precise, artistic mechanical work has come from watchmaking.

In todays Maker era, the watch form factor has been mostly overlooked - the iPod Nano never made it onto many wrists and Apple has changed that form factor again so it isn't small enough.  Fortunately there have been others who are innovating in the watch area, and all come from small Maker companies.

First is the wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble watch.  An eInk-based programmable watch, it exceeded it's funding goal by a factor of 100.  It should prove wildly popular when the are released from manufacturing in coming weeks.  And, yes, I'm a supporter (qty 1, Jet Black).  $115 and up


Second is the upcoming Adafruit Watch.  This is an LED pixel watch powered by Arduino.  Again it should be programmable in selection of display, allowing the wearer to personalize their experience. About $30

Finally there are do-it-yourself soldering kit watches from the likes of SparkFun, Adafruit, and others (About $30).  While personalization is not as easy, the I-made-it-myself cred is always fun.

So the future begins again.  It's good to see the small companies up front on this and one hopes that Apple doesn't take notice, buy up what they want, and ruin it all.  It seems there are many folks have already used the iWatch moniker but then again, all it takes is money :(