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Worst of the Week: Smart watches not such a dumb idea?

Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!

And without further ado:

Well, it’s official. By this time next week, we will all be wearing a smart watch, or at least wanting to rip the smart watch off of the wrist of the next person we see wearing one, which will be the next person we see.

Need proof of this ready-to-explode market? A recent report from Juniper Research forecasts that the “global smart wearable hardware” market will generate $19 billion in revenues by 2018, while Accenture predicts the market for “wearable technologies” could hit $50 billion within five years. I can only assume that smart watches will fall into these categories and also assume that these predictions are in no way far-fetched or over-the-top. $50 billion is a nice round number and sort of rolls of the tongue when included with that five year time frame. Plus, analyst firms and consulting groups are never wrong.

While I too find smart watches somewhat perplexing from a usability standpoint, I for some reason do not hold the same animosity towards them as I feel I probably should. I mean, what is more ridiculous than speaking into your wrist and then putting that wrist up to your ear to listen? Oh yeah, all Bluetooth headsets; every cell phone user that seems to feel the need to yell into their phone while wandering aimlessly around; and all those people taking pictures using their tablet devices.

Adding someone walking around talking into their wrist to this list will just add to the real-life sitcom that has become how humans interact with mobile devices.

My lack of disdain for smart watches could also be helped by Samsung’s advertisements for its Gear device:

It’s probably just me, but I do like those ads.

Also, I believe in the past I have jumped to conclusions a bit too hastily when it comes to new device segments, highlighted by my incessant ranting about tablets or anything else that makes me feel old. Plus, it’s obvious that I had no idea what I was talking about when I said there was no way the tablet market would become anything more than a niche offering. See comment above about people taking pictures with their tablets.

Now, I am not saying that I am already in possession of or about to be in possession of a smart watch purchased with my own money, as that would be something I don’t think I could ever admit to. But, I get the feeling that if I were in the market for a frivolous wireless accessory, I may pass over the latest in Hello Kitty wear and pick me up some smart watch action, preferably with a built-in calculator. And preferably something gold-plated or covered with Corinthian leather.

So let’s do this people. Let’s just get over our concerns that we will look foolish talking into our wrists and start talking into our wrists. Heck, maybe to get us used to the action we should all just start strapping our current devices to our wrists just so we can get used to the motion.

OK, enough of that.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Worst of the Week column. And now for some extras:

–Looks like the recently completed third quarter is shaping up to be an interesting one for domestic wireless carriers. Going into the reporting period, most questions were in regards to T-Mobile US’ ability to back up what was a blow-out second quarter for the carrier where it managed to out-net-add its larger rivals.

(The other questions pertained to just how many customers would Sprint again cough up during the quarter on its way to eventually turning around its operations.)

Verizon Wireless this week got the festivities off to a raucous start by posting nearly 1.1 million total customer additions for the quarter including 927,000 direct postpaid net additions, which while down sequentially and year-over-year was still a significant result considering the slowing growth from a mature market. However, Verizon Wireless’ results did include an uptick in customer churn that would seem to indicate a greater outflow of customers to its rivals, something I am sure AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US will jump on should they post respectable results.

(I am going to leave Sprint out of this segment of the conversation because … well … aren’t they really going through enough over there?)

–Good to see that now that we have moved passed this whole government shutdown mess, the need for permanent leadership at the Federal Communications Commission has been selected as the next battle ground for pointless political posturing. Well done.

It’s not like we have a trio of spectrum auctions that need to be planned for, with proceeds from those auctions tapped to fund the FirstNet public safety initiative. Who cares about that sort of stuff when there are political axes to grind and points to be rung up. Well played by all.

I welcome your comments. Please send me an e-mail at [email protected].

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