Planned obsolescence

I don’t have anything against the concept of a Smartwatch. As a matter of fact I’m one of the earliest adopters of wearable technology, and I still own a C2 TicWatch, which is the last in a series that spanned more than a decade, starting with my 2012 Pebble.

I just think that the way that wearable technology was implemented sucks.

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As a concept the Smartwatch has a lot of potential and good things going for it. I can use my C2 to make payments, which is nice, but using my phone is easier and less awkward since I don’t have to contort my wrist. I can use it to check if I left my front door locked and open it remotely. I can even check my activity and health levels to make sure that I’m not lying unconscious in a ditch, which is something that we can all agree is extremely important, especially if I’m really sprawled unconscious in a ditch.

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And I can even check my mail and other notifications, or do a quick check of the time, or at least I’m supposed to be able to do it because even a modern OLED display can easily become useless in direct sunlight. But that’s not the only problem with wearable technology.

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My C2 TicWatch is about four years old and it’s slowly dying. I just played a bit with it and the power reserve dropped by 15%, meaning that there is no chance in hell that it will last for more than a few hours. The only kind of service available is a direct replacement of the whole watch and just the idea of the expenditure and the time wasted re-configuring the device to match my preferences is making the whole idea unpalatable. Battery technology is still playing catch-up and even when it was new I still had to rely on an external charger daily trips to power outlets.

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I can extend its autonomy by switching off services, but then what’s the point of owning a Smartwatch if you leave the smart out? In any case, this is something that Google is already doing for me since one by one the services which are needed to make it smart are no longer supported on my watch. It will probably only be able to tell me the time in a few more years.

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Which reminds me that time reading on my C2 also sucks. It’s partly due to the screen that is blanked for saving power, and because even when it’s not blanked the legibility is worse than a good digital LED display. The notifications also sucks because they became an endless stream of buzzing which distracted me from doing actual work, or you know – living my life.

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So here I am sitting outside with what used to be only recently the best that 21st century technology could offer, and next to it something that even in the second half of the previous century wasn’t exactly able to amaze its users with its awesomeness. I think it’s pretty clear and obvious which of the two I’m going to strap on, even if the unforgiving sun makes me realize that it’s time to get the polywatch and elbow grease.

Reply
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It's not a total loss. You might be able to salvage the band.

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Skilly

It's not a total loss. You might be able to salvage the band.

And if I'm really lucky I'll find that there is a waiting list for this strap and that it's price on the second hand market will make me a fortune.

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I have settled to wearing awatch on my left wrist and a cheap simple fitness band in my right. This gives me the best of both worlds.

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I feel similarly. I have a couple of hybrid 'smart' watches and one of the key factors was around battery life.

I've not charged the Tissot for 13 months apart from solar and it gets a regular outing so it's not always in a battery save mode, it doesn't do heart monitoring or anything like that then I have a couple of Withings devices that both do heart monitoring etc and their battery life is still a couple of weeks.

Way, way, better than anything I've seen from Apple or the other big players, don't want to have to charge something daily, until that's sorted then they are not for me.

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I do agree, I was an early adaptor with the Gen 1 Apple watch.

But......

How many countless watches are sat in the back of a drawer never to see the light of day. We only see a handful of watches in this group (small use case I know) that are more than a few years old and these are usually from brands that have kept similar design language through the years.

What has happened to all the Breitling Bentleys etc... and the plethora of other watches that have fallen out of vogue ? or the 10 year old G-shocks. I know back in the day when the battery died on my G-Shock/digitals it was usually time for a new one as it was more than likely completely beat up anyway.

Or cheaper mechs that are not worth servicing or repairing due to cost etc...

I know this is different from planned obsolesce but the end result is kinda the same in my eyes. Add to the fact that a lot here have a lot of watches that brings in doubt the whole , it's bad for the world debate.

Take the average Joe that buys a smart watch today , they wear it every day for 3ish years. They get a new one and the old one is recycled against the new purchase (which is common with the bigger brands).

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The watch collector that is buying a new micro every month or so and has a box full of watches , most of which will be hardly worn and some in a few years will never be worn due to contemporary design.

It begs the question who is the worst sort of consumer ?? While I get their will be people that upgrade the smart watches yearly when the latest and greatest are released, how is this is that much different from collectors that a week after buying a watch are on the hunt for the next thing ??

Again I do agree that a watch not working anymore due to software is different from a working watch not being worn anymore , but when I see on enthusiasts groups that smart watches are bad due to this I often sit there and roll my eyes just a little as I feel the collecting side is really just excessive consumerism to an extent.

Have fun with the poly watch 😊

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Agree

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I feel the same about smartwatches as I do about electric cars. In some ways they’re both better than what they are meant to replace, but they fall short for me. They’re both limited as far as how long they go before charging, as well as how long their lifespan is. ICE cars and traditional watches last longer today, and can usually be maintained for decades.

But the most important point to me is that electric cars and smartwatches have no soul. They do a job, but there’s no sense that a person designed/made them. There’s a sense that if an AI designed a car or watch, this is what it would come up with. They somehow lack a “human” element. In both cases that’s fine for a lot of people. I don’t happen to be one of them.

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OxandBuck

I do agree, I was an early adaptor with the Gen 1 Apple watch.

But......

How many countless watches are sat in the back of a drawer never to see the light of day. We only see a handful of watches in this group (small use case I know) that are more than a few years old and these are usually from brands that have kept similar design language through the years.

What has happened to all the Breitling Bentleys etc... and the plethora of other watches that have fallen out of vogue ? or the 10 year old G-shocks. I know back in the day when the battery died on my G-Shock/digitals it was usually time for a new one as it was more than likely completely beat up anyway.

Or cheaper mechs that are not worth servicing or repairing due to cost etc...

I know this is different from planned obsolesce but the end result is kinda the same in my eyes. Add to the fact that a lot here have a lot of watches that brings in doubt the whole , it's bad for the world debate.

Take the average Joe that buys a smart watch today , they wear it every day for 3ish years. They get a new one and the old one is recycled against the new purchase (which is common with the bigger brands).

Vs

The watch collector that is buying a new micro every month or so and has a box full of watches , most of which will be hardly worn and some in a few years will never be worn due to contemporary design.

It begs the question who is the worst sort of consumer ?? While I get their will be people that upgrade the smart watches yearly when the latest and greatest are released, how is this is that much different from collectors that a week after buying a watch are on the hunt for the next thing ??

Again I do agree that a watch not working anymore due to software is different from a working watch not being worn anymore , but when I see on enthusiasts groups that smart watches are bad due to this I often sit there and roll my eyes just a little as I feel the collecting side is really just excessive consumerism to an extent.

Have fun with the poly watch 😊

You are not wrong but while the end result might be the same, let me point a major difference: In the case of the hoarder/watch collector, not using a watch is a personal decision. The Smartwatch owner on the other hand doesn't get a choice or the privilege of an opinion.

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thekris

I feel the same about smartwatches as I do about electric cars. In some ways they’re both better than what they are meant to replace, but they fall short for me. They’re both limited as far as how long they go before charging, as well as how long their lifespan is. ICE cars and traditional watches last longer today, and can usually be maintained for decades.

But the most important point to me is that electric cars and smartwatches have no soul. They do a job, but there’s no sense that a person designed/made them. There’s a sense that if an AI designed a car or watch, this is what it would come up with. They somehow lack a “human” element. In both cases that’s fine for a lot of people. I don’t happen to be one of them.

I can understand your POV but I don't fully share it because I don't believe that technology itself is bad or that too much of it lacks a "soul" or whatever it is which makes us human.

For me the case of the Smartwatch isn't a blanket vilification of technology. It's just that I think that we were so much in love with the concept that we rushed and turned it into a reality without giving a thought whether we really needed it or if it was really able to bring any benefits.

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Catskinner

I can understand your POV but I don't fully share it because I don't believe that technology itself is bad or that too much of it lacks a "soul" or whatever it is which makes us human.

For me the case of the Smartwatch isn't a blanket vilification of technology. It's just that I think that we were so much in love with the concept that we rushed and turned it into a reality without giving a thought whether we really needed it or if it was really able to bring any benefits.

Watches and cars are both things I’ve loved and romanticized for many years. This leads me to place great value in the idea of these things having a “soul”. I just think that soul is lacking in modern technology.

Now when it comes to a laptop, phone, or tablet, I don’t need or want soul. I want it to do its job in the most efficient and easiest to understand way. I totally get why people who don’t romanticize cars and watches apply this logic to them, it’s just not my point of view.

Now having said that, I’ll admit to owning a Garmin. When I go for a run, romance is the last thing on my mind, I want features and ease of use. I’d never run with a mechanical chrono if I could help it.

So yeah, it’s all subjective. Or something.