In 2015, Pebble had a watch that had:
- an app store, third party apps, third party watch faces, and a developer ecosystem
- always on screen that didn't require a button press or specific arm gesture, and worked in bright, normally lit conditions
- physical buttons instead of tiny buttons on a tiny screen barely larger than the finger pressing it
- week long battery life
Pebble was crushed by Fitbit, which didn't have any third party support, and by Apple, which had miserable battery life and relied on the connected phone to do most of its work.
Now Pebble is long gone, Fitbit bought the remnants of Pebble is being acquired by Google, Google itself doesn't seem to have any interest in WearOS, and Apple Watch almost has two-day battery life and app store has never lived up to expectations. We now have "smart watches" which basically combine basic phone notification API implementations, a package of often unreliable sensors, mostly-off touchscreens, and bundled "apps" which can only be used with the hugest social media sites.
* App store with 3rd party apps and faces.
* Always on screen
* Physical buttons (Vivoactive is mostly touchscreen oriented, but all their "athlete" watches use buttons)
* Week long battery life - Even running GPS tracking for 12 hours straight leaves enough battery for the next day.
The biggest downside to the Garmin is trying to figure out which watch to buy. They stupidly gate certain activities to specific watches. For example Garmin has a Hike activity on their Fenix line, but not their Vivoactive so I need to track my hikes as a Walk.
However, as you've noticed, each device feature set is determined by overzealous marketing. My Forerunner 245, despite having tons more memory than my ancient Fenix 3 and considerably faster, has less data screens for running. It doesn't have an altimeter, but the cheaper Vivoactive series has an altimeter because fitness users want to count floors climbed. It has Bluetooth but is not allowed to connect to bike power meters, because then it would overlap with Garmin's much more expensive triathlete watches.
This leads to app store problems, because each app and watch face has to be explicitly compiled for each watch - even when the watches have the same display size and feature set. Buying a new device often means that you'll have fewer options than someone with an older one.
I spend the refund money on a small but fun collection of old soviet mechanical watches. The kinda ubiquitous Vostok Amfibia, a "Big Zero", and a pretty poor fake of the Sturmanski Yuri Gagarin wore.
I get much "more joy" from these - even the fake Yuri watch - than I ever got from a "smart watch".
My usual story about smart watches was that I jumped on the very first Pebble Kickstarter, because I thought it'd be useful while riding a motorcycle to be able to see who's calling/texting my phone when it was vibrating in my pocket, so I could decide whether I wanted to stop and answer it. Turns out, the answer was _always_ "No!". Even if it _was_ someone I'd normally pick up for, I was either gonna arrive at my destination in 10 or 20 mins and would deal with it then, or I was on a trip and wasn't gonna be stopping until the tank was empty - possibly at a place with no reception - and I'd deal with it late that evening or in a few days when I got back to town.
I've disabled everything notifications and phone-control wise on my MiBand. I exclusively use it for a body telemetry device and I love it.
While I miss my proper watches, I just can't leave the MiBand at home.
I loved the first one (or the 2nd revision of the 1st) that just had vibration and 3 coloured led.
It meant I turned vibration off in my phone, and I set the band to vibrate and flash 3 times white for sms, green for WhatsApp and red for calls. But if any of those were from my wife (who was pregnant at the time) it would vibrate longer and flash for 20 seconds.
It was so simple to feel and glance and get the info I needed - no need to squint and try read. It annoys me in meetings when people think they are being subtle reading a full notification from the apple watch or similar. If it is important just get your phone out it will be quicker to read and reply.
If they could fix this one problem, I'd buy more of their sports-oriented watches, but this is the one thing that I find really hard to deal with.
Otoh, the watch is phenomenal and beautiful, and I love having a watch that lasts 5+ days on a single charge and looks like a normal watch, but tells me my calendar and such, and can be used to track running and hiking.
Ended up just using my phone for navigation, and even though I was recording GPS and heart rate the whole time, I'd only used 50% battery after 14 hours riding. Nice.
There was another guy at the campsite who was looking for someone who had downloaded the route. I AirDropped it to him, and he transferred it to his Wahoo bike computer with no trouble.
For shorter rides/runs, I use the WorkOutdoors app on the Apple Watch. It's only battery life that's an issue when the activity is longer than 6 hours. Just this morning I had the opportunity to go for a run a bit out of my normal zones, so within a minute I had sketched out a route on the phone and transferred it over to the watch. (That some of the paths I'd used didn't actually exist anymore was a separate issue, but I've already updated OpenStreetMap to fix that.)
It's the best thing if you're sporting an Android phone. 3rd party apps are mostly weather apps and apps mimicking features of more expensive Garmin watches to be used on cheaper models. And don't expect apps to talk to the apps on your phone - you mostly have to enter all details into the Garmin apps again (using the Connect software on your phone).
However, I recently switched to an iPhone and bought an Apple Watch and it's so much better if you are more into smart watches instead of a fitness tracker with smart features. Yes, the battery has to be recharged as often as I do. And yes, it's a touchscreen that's utterly useless in a downpour or when swimming. But apart from that, and I don't say this easily, I get more from the Apple Watch than from my Garmin then-top-of-the-line model.
That’s not specific to Garmin, though. It could happen to almost anyone.
I resisted the idea of a smartwatch for years and bought this mostly for outdoor stuff, but I've found myself wearing it all the time.
More importantly it looks like a G Shock and is similarly tough.
The battery was a bit degraded and I got tired of not being able to acknowledge Pagerduty notifications (even though I could receive them), as well as not having any fitness features whatsoever (other than the steps counter). So I bit the bullet and bough an Apple watch.
Within two days, I stop using the Pebble. Yes it's nice, but against what's essentially a supercomputer in my wrist, with a bunch of useful apps... I switched. Sure, having to charge daily is not _ideal_, but I can put it to charge while I'm having dinner or in the shower, and it will be full pretty quickly - specially if you are just topping off daily. It is not as convenient, but I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would.
The screen is always on too. I disabled the feature, didn't see much of a difference.
Just this weekend, I had a pretty spectacular fall from my bike. Fall detection kicked in - I did not need emergency services, but it was a reminder that some features can be life-saving.
My company's SSO supports IOS, which means it is now integrated with my watch. Pretty secure too, the watch will lock if it is removed from my wrist. It can unlock my machine (and my car). I can control other devices. I can take just the watch outside and still receive phone calls, or buy groceries. Many of those things, I couldn't do with the Pebble, or they would be more cumbersome. Yes, physical buttons are nice, but also limiting.
Pebble had the right idea. But they executed too slowly and too late. The fitness focus was missed by them for quite a while, I bet that they could have stayed relevant if they had implemented features like heart rate monitoring.
They were also _way_ too small to compete with the industrial design, manufacturing capability, and marketing clout of Apple. Or even Samsung. They were inevitably gonna get crushed.
And I say this as a four time Pebble Kickstarter backer who could see it even back then. A couple of kids with an amazing YC pitch deck and ambitions-untempered-by-experience-or-reality? They were never gonna "win" if Jony Ives and Foxconn ended up in their market segment. I don't regret a cent I spent with Pebble. I hope the founders made out like bandits when they sold out, and I hope it launched them onto spectacular career trajectories. But they never really stood a chance of being the top player in any sophisticated consumer electronics space...
If you mean sell as many units as Apple and never get bought? Sure.
But as someone who also owned an OG Pebble, if the "Pebble-way" was actually better, it would have won.
Winning might have meant getting acquired, or even just competitors making devices similar in spirit to theirs, but it'd still be a victory.
The "Apple Watch way" was the anti-thesis to the Pebble philosophy with it's needing daily charges and it's color screen, and trying to be a second phone on your wrist with beefy specs. While the Pebble was trying to be _literally_ a smarter watch.
And Apple's way won out. People just preferred that.
Well uh... The company went under, so I doubt they made out like bandits. The IP was sold off, but I suspect that much of that money was used to pay off outstanding liabilities. My impression was that the founders tried to do right by their employees as well. I find it unlikely that they came out of the process with a ton of money- more than likely they lost money.
I like my Pebble because it's a watch first and foremost—I've worn a watch since I was around ten years old—but it just so happens to also show me notifications, and glance at things like the weather and my calendar. And I can do all of that super quickly.
Hopefully the folks working on Rebble will make a nice open-source OS that can be ported to other watches out there.
Everything else is perfect. Although I try to track my runs with it, so it is sadly a big hit against it.
I wore mine until last month when the battery gave out. If I could buy one with a new battery (not a replaced one as it compromises the waterproofing) I'd choose it over any other option available today.
The phone software is nowhere near as good, the watch UI is poorly designed, and the watch face/app selection is poor in comparison to Pebble. I haven't tried gadgetbridge yet but on newer Amazfit devices it requires some hacking to get it to work (extracting login tokens or encryption keys or something) and I expect that it will be fragile.
Disclosure: I help with Gadgetbridge :)
I did purchase an Amazfit watch, the GTR 42mm which is supposed to be 9.2mm thick but is >11 in reality. "A couple of dozen" faces is laughable compared to what Pebble offered. The community produced an incredibly diverse set of faces and apps for Pebble. I find the quality of the GTR faces to be mostly poor with them all pretty much looking the same with the same features. For example, you can't do this on an Amazfit watch face: https://store-beta.rebble.io/app/57cc2c33be5ad0d9500002cd let alone the apps which have no equivalent AFAIK: https://store-beta.rebble.io/apps/most-loved/1
We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Bumps protruding into my skin definitely reduce my comfort wearing a watch all day. Your measurement still doesn't match the official specs and even assuming it's correct and they're all that thin it's still not close to the Pebble Time Round. 30% thicker and 60% more volume.
Or maybe i measure again to be sure.
- always on screen that doesn't require a button press or specific arm gesture, and works in bright, normally lit conditions
Also has GPS, Music storage/playback, actionable notifications, and a ton of health and fitness stuff.
The feature set is expanding as people develop for it, and you have a choice in OSes (much like the Pinephone or a Thinkpad can run dozens of diverse OSes)
It's not perfect, but it's the closest thing to what the Pebble used to be.
See this thread from below here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25269500
You could create and compile your watch apps to your heart's delight without asking someone for permission.
I don't even have a Rebble account yet, but it's surprised me how much still works and how much use I can get out of it in my daily life.
It's great, and probably the closest thing to a successor to a Pebble watch.
But, the big downside is the software. It’s veeeery limited. The latest update made things a lot better and Fossil seems to be headed in the right direction, but it’s just not there yet. Customization is big for me, and the Fossil HR has limited amounts of it. No SDK for example, so no third party apps. You get what Fossil says you need.
That being said, I love my Fossil HR to bits. But man, I really wish I was wearing a Time Steel 2.
anecdotally, in my life I've seen maybe enough apple watches to count on one hand? and a few fitbits. That's it. A far cry from what I expected the future to be like, back when pebble was getting hype and when apple announced their offering. What is the problem with the market? is there really just no demand for smartwatches of any kind?
If they got down to $100 or so, you'd see wide adoption. Which is why the Wyze Watch at $20 is so fascinating to me. At this price, you can just buy one instead of a Casio.
I hadn't heard of them till this year when I saw their camera on sale, but now they have a full suite of hardware products with ~50 employees.
Are they essentially rebranding some Chinese manufacturer?
Otherwise there other very similar looking watches in the Chinese market as well.
(though to be honest their iOS app isn't great. But still)
As is, I see no reason to upload my health information to a random corporation.
Indeed, I can see plenty of business models where I could give away smartwatches and cameras for the wealth of data I'd collect. Selling still makes more sense; you want people to have a vested interest in them.
Why would I want my health data uploaded to an Apple server to be shared with governments?
My data should live on my own devices, encrypted, and unaccessible to anyone other than myself.
"Your HealthKit data, including your health records, remains under your complete control. You can choose to use iCloud to keep your data up to date across your devices, choose to share your data with a third-party app, choose to share your data with Apple under the Improve Health Records program, or choose to back up your data to an iTunes encrypted backup on your computer."
I interpret this to mean we maintain full control who and where your health information is stored. It's only stored on your device, unless you chose to share it with other apps, and/or use iCloud to sync across devices.
As an American, if I am being honest, I trust Apple far more than I would a Chinese company--given what I understanding about the CCP.
Call me a cynic, but I read this as "We might upload your data to Apple if you miss something walking through configuration screens, or if you an app somehow gets your data before you've toggled a setting. Our next default update might include a default-insecure setting for new types of data you'll never find out about without navigating our screens." Google does this all the time; they start collecting new information, and provide an opt-out, but by the time I opt-out, they've scarfed a ton of my data. I assume it's in a backup somewhere.
Apple says they do end-to-end encryption, but key exchange is an honor system. As I understand, Apple could set up a new iPhone in-house connected to my account, and have it sync up my data (with end-to-end encryption), scarfing up all of my data. Apple could be compelled to do this with a court order, or might change privacy policies in 5 years.
The nice thing about open source is that I don't need to trust. I trust Apple today, but it's not an ecosystem I'd buy into right now. The upsides of monitoring my health are far outweighed by the downsides of privacy and security risks that brings. That goes for Chinese companies too. Hardware can be compromised, but open source + CCP is more trustworthy than Apple.
I'm actually surprised there aren't more CCP companies doing open source. I'd gladly pay double for an open source mouse, keyboard, or other device.
You are right. This is a meaningful distinction.
Doing quality control + localization and delivering a product that just ridiculously undercuts the competition.
I have a lot of admiration that they can make these prices work at all.
They had a home sensor platform that seemed cheap ($5!) and reliable, but Reddit forums are full of complaints that a low battery bricks the sensors.
Wyze will send you a replacement, but can’t engineer a fix on the fly, apparently.
Sad to say, it's terrible. Mostly what it did was remind me how much I appreciate stuff that actually works well (e.g., wrist position sensing, so that it turns on when it's supposed to, a reliable touch interface, etc). I ended up buying a Fitbit Sense when they came out a month or so later. I don't regret it, even at >10x the price. I have my gripes with the sense but most of the time it is vastly more usable.
They are a really awesome company, not trying to sell you some shit and making money, but honestly wanting to develop good products to improve your life! Very useful features for health monitoring and they don't cost as much. Plus the watches looks super cool!
I love it- Like you said, it's a smart-enough watch. I get text notifications on the small screen, which is surprisingly useful, and it does things like step tracking, heart rate, sleep tracking, etc. But it also has a multi-week battery life, and looks like, and is sized like, a normal watch. Highly recommended.
Liked having a real watch, loved only charging it every two weeks, but finishing a squat set and having it tell me my heart rate was 60BPM when it was closer to 180 just bugged me.
This was before they put in sapphire glass, during the time when it was sold as a Nokia, so it wouldn't surprise me if they improved this in newer models.
The Apple Watch does so much more that it isn't even funny, but it's also not a watch, it's a rounded rectangle that sits on my wrist where a watch goes. I wish the perfect fusion between these products actually existed...
I’ve recently gotten the ScanWatch and it feels quite premium. Probably the sapphire glass adding to the heft.
My only gripe is that they do not offer any sort of repair service! If you break the glass, they will instead off you 25% off a new purchase.
They're usually 2-10 times cheaper than their competitors, while providing better features, better design, and better support.
I love all of my Wyze devices and purchased another $100 worth of them just yesterday (3 bulbs, 2 sockets, 3 sensors, 1 camera, 1 SD card).
I like how they go out of their way to add features to their devices. For example, they provide a firmware for the Wyze Cam that turns it into a webcam, which I've been using for online education for the past few months.
For the past few days, I've done extensive research on smart watches and fitness bands. I looked into everything, from Apple Watch, Tizen, Pebble, WearOS, Fitbit, PineTime, etc. I haven't found anything with such a good value as the Wyze Watch. Some of the hackable nRF52832 based devices (PineTime, Colmi P8) have similar prices, but they have a smaller display, no SPo2 sensor, and you basically have to write your own OS (InfiniTime, WASP-OS, Zephyr, RIOT).
I'm really impressed. I wonder if there's a catch.
The best we can hope for by paying for a product is getting additional features and not being inconvenienced (ie, avoiding ads).
And now that company won't be getting my $80. I'll use the open source alternatives, even if they aren't as nice to use.
Use open source, write your own open source or just do without. You can't just accept the inevitable and bow into it - inevitability doesn't change morality.
I might be mistaken, but it appears to me that they might have ways of monetizing user data.
From the privacy statement:
In my opinion the hardware prices are cheaper because it's sourced out of China and the product is at the lower end but worth every penny. I use to source widgets out of China that were amazing quality. I would have them delivered to my factory in Canada. The price of the finished product delivered to my factory door step was cheaper than the cost of raw materials in Canada. There were no duties involved since the HS Code of the item was duty free and China had Most Favored Nation Status.
So that's probably how they do it. The Camera costs them a few of $$ delivered and they sell it for $20 +. The only draw back is that the Chinese copied the design and would be selling in their internal market or markets where Wyze wasn't in yet.
FYI - for some camera models (Xiaomi or Wyze), you can flash them with this custom firmware, allowing for a lot more customization.
Their products are cheap enough that if it misses a motion event you'll say "oh well, it's doing well for a $20 camera."
I would like to believe there is good in the world, but other than Linux nothing has held it up.
You could probably include the EFF, GNU Project, BSD's, and a couple others as well.
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EDIT: After a firmware update, it's now recognizing the SD card, but just as parent said, there is no video of me walking up, standing in front of the camera, and unplugging it. It's not missing 4 minutes, but definitely at least 20 seconds.
This means a thief could just walk up to any Wyze cam, yank the power cord, and be certain that he wouldn't be caught on camera. Maybe there's a way for Wyze to grab the data from their cloud if the police asked for it, but it seems impossible for an end-user. Really disappointing.
Similar prices to xiaomi etc but their apps look good. (though the xiaomi apps are pretty good too)
That being said, what I'd really like (if someone out there is listening) is a smart watch which is not only cheap (<$20), but it would also have microHDMI and microUSB ports, and basically you could take it off your wrist and hook it up to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, and use it like a very underpowered Raspberry Pi...
Yes, it would be slow compared to other computers...
Yes, it would be limited in many respects compared to other computers...
But dagnabbit if it wouldn't be cool to have, if you couldn't just take it off and use it like a general-purpose stand-alone computer!
To me, that's the killer feature that any smart watch must have...
Oh yeah, and Open Source everything, too...
And yes, I realize that I ask for a lot! <g>
T-Watch-2020 - $26 - http://www.lilygo.cn/prod_view.aspx?TypeId=50053&Id=1290&FId...
T-Wristband - $18 - http://www.lilygo.cn/claprod_view.aspx?TypeId=21&Id=1282&FId...
Pebbles were very hackable, but you can't buy new ones as other threads have pointed out.
They pretty much have the same hardware as the PineTime. The most popular one is the Colmi P8, which you can buy for $20-25.
It's just not well formatted. If you look into the source code it's supposed to look like
> © 2020 Wyze Labs, Inc
> Amazon, Alexa, Echo Spot and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
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The battery life is worse but the color screen is really nice and the watch can do more (most notably have multiple alarms set from the watch). Vibration motor is better on the Fitbit.
Sleep tracking is slightly better on the fitbit (re. graphs and data). Accuracy seems better but I'm no expert (I've gotten false positives where the Garmin thinks I'm sleeping if I'm sitting at my computer not moving much, Fitbit has tracked naps which is impressive).
I kind of liked the Garmin app more than the Fitbit one. The fitbit app can be confusing to navigate and it's irritating that they try to upsell you on a subscription. The garmin app is more spartan but it's easier to see your data. I think it might be easier to extract your data from garmin as well.
Syncing both watches to your phone is equally painful.
I don't know of anything new that has a long battery life like the Vivosmart HR. Garmin claims equally long battery life on their newer devices but I'm skeptical.
I've never used a reshipper but I looked up reship.com and they charge at least $30 (!) to get a 200g parcel (150mm x 150mm x 150mm) shipped here.
Even so, battery life is measured in weeks, not days.
Oh, and the battery lasts forever and because of the low pricetag I won't cry if I break it or scratch it during sports or household chores.
I feel like the Bip is the unofficial successor to the beloved Pebble.
But I was most fascinated to see the hardware inside. It's crazy how miniature it is when the actual body/face of the watch is detached.
I actually stopped wearing it simply because I found even the basic notifications I had set were affecting my brain -- an issue with any smartwatch, not just the BIP.
One cool hack I worked out was combining MacroDroid + BIP to trigger any phone action (Intent). So, you can use the BIP as a remote trigger for your camera, to start/stop music, send an SMS, etc. I added a tutorial to Reddit a while back but can find it if you're interested.
That's exactly my story.
Edit: and it can be operated in a real un"cloud"ed mode if you use the 3rd party gadgetbridge app (born of pebble user needs and extended to support more watches since). That was the dealmaker for me.
I do recommend it. Another differentiating factor is the display. The Wyze product doesn't indicate the display tech, but the Amazfit using e-Ink, so it's always on and has good visibility even in bright light, something that competitors like Apple (with its minuscule battery life and disappearing display) can't claim.
The transreflective LCD type of the Gameboy would absolutely nuke your battery life as it needs to be actively refreshed even on stationary images.
I'm deeply saddened this type of display is not more popular among wearables vs OLED. Who doesn't want 30 day+ battery life and always-on sunlight visibility?
After using it for a year, I kind of understand why pilots often use Garmin watches:
New routes can be uploaded as .gpx files the same way.
Not super convenient but it works.
Now have multiple cams, bulbs, and so on. Getting the watch is a low dough no brainer.
Solid stuff for not a lot of money.
i also like the heart rate monitor, great for runners.
If anything, it’s not that good because my Forerunner 735XT does more stuff and achieves that while doing GPS tracking on workouts.
Like the sibling, I've found Apple Watch to be totally reliable, but my Nokia Steel HR was not.
The visible difference is, when you flip the Steel over you see rapidly flashing green lights, when you flip the Watch over it looks like solid green, presumably flashing too fast to notice.
One gets two weeks between charges, the other one day. Guess which is which...
I miss the simplicity of the original Mi Band and with the Mi Band 4 was more open, but they're both fantastic and do most everything I need a smartwatch to do.
In what way would you consider this superior to Apple's corresponding record?
To my eyes, Apple actually has (or at least claims to have) better auditing of their supply chain. In particular, for Cobalt, one particularly concerning conflict mineral, Apple has over the last couple of years established complete auditing, while Fairphone is not even reporting numbers for that mineral yet.
To be sure, they did not do that out of the kindness of their hearts (particularly not in the Steve Jobs era). Pressure from NGOs and maybe also competitors like Fairphone helped.
[Disclaimer: I work for Apple, but don't speak for them, nor do I have firsthand knowledge of their supply chain]
I do highly rate Apple for what they are doing - albeit under pressure from others. I chose FF more specifically because of the part maintainability / ability to replace as well as what seemed to me an ethical approach.
Back to the main point though: surely companies producing goods this cheap are going to de facto be cutting corners all the way up the chain, including ethical ones
I'd rather avoid the supplements situation where manufacturers can essentially claim almost anything and most of the population isn't aware that it's a free-for-all. Manufacturers can still claim some function but at least there's currently a disclaimer that makes average people question some claims.
I don't really love the mix of deregulation and healthcare (even adjecent, see supplements).
FDA approvals of medical devices essentially breaks the software update system.
So one of my possibilities was tweaking how thats done on devices. People seemed to decide to disagree on my post based on whichever possibility they didn't like, and ignored the possibility they wanted to discuss.
Sure, it leaves an opening for egg on your face, but if you're serious about passing the test (and you shouldn't be selling medical devices if you're not) then you're going to pass eventually so show the confidence.
Median income in the USA is $68,703.
Why would someone spend 1/25 of 1 percent of their income on something that they wear 100% of the time? That makes no sense.
I shell out $200-$300 each year for the latest FitBit (Apple Watch is promising, but that battery life :(. The sleep tracking is gold).
Now that it is aimed at the high end, Apple needs to include lots of features, a nice display etc. Lots fancy features means they need to use a powerful processor, which along with the nice display leads to a lot of power draw. This is why they have a small battery life, as you mention, and didn't even have an always on display until S5. Neither of these are technological constraints, since the Pebble had 7 day battery life with an always on display from the first version.
Now, the Apple Watch has sold well, so maybe it's a fine tradeoff to make. But I think this "high-end" constraint has definitely shaped the product (and in a way I think is worse when viewed as a watch first).
Be that as it may, there's absolutely a non-trivial amount of revenue available at the low end of the market. Apple historically never participates in that market, but that's an opportunity for other hardware providers.
I buy lots of cheap things even though there are "better" versions available for more money.
Let's not forget that once upon a time, pocket-watches were only for the rich. It wasn't until the advent of quartz watches that you could find a solid watch (digital or analog) for under $100. Today, $20ish digital watches are fairly common on the market. One of my favorite watches is a cheap Timex Weekender (a favorite of /r/malefashionadvice IIRC).
Just like one might decide to go for a stylish (but cheap) quartz watch instead of that expensive automatic, one could decide to go for a stylish (but cheap) Wyze watch instead of that $300 Apple Watch. We'll have to see if Wyze (or someone similar) can actually execute and pull that off.
There are a lot of people that can’t spend $200 on a watch, but can spend $20.
U.S. per capita healthcare spending is $11,172. If the U.S. gave everyone a $200 a year tax credit to spend on a smart health watch, we'd probably save $2,000 a year per capita and get a 10x ROI.
The ROI for better health is very odd to measure.
If you use dollars (for an economy) then the best ROI is to spend nothing once someone is of no economic benefit (i.e. the vast majority of healthcare spending is on the elderly and provides no dollar benefit to society, so economically most healthcare spending should be drastically cut).
You could also look at an integral of quality of life over time. However “past me” is really bad at caring about “future me”, and “current me” doesn’t care at all about optimising for “past me”.
Most people seem happy to argue that the amount that society should spend on them (or their loved ones) for health services is infinite (you can’t put a price on life), and the amount they should spend on the health services for others should be zero (those scabs should have made better life choices!)
Good luck trying to make sense out of spending $20 to save $2000!
It's a good point about how the cost of healthcare is unevenly distributed toward the end of life. I really like the newish term "Healthy Life Expectancy".
That sounds a lot like taking $2000 from an elderly cohort (where savings today would mostly come from), and spending $200 on a younger cohort (who would eventually get the $2000 health gains!).
Your statement needs far more qualification on who would pay the costs, and who would get the accrued benefits. And even if you make it fair, people would still complain because I think we are mostly hopeless at understanding past costs versus future savings/benefits (both individually and as a society.)
If everyone gets a $200 smart watch, and 1/10th of those people avoid obesity, we can avoid $20,000 a year in diabetic care and heart surgery and hip replacement for them when they get to be 60.
Completely made up numbers of course, but speaking as one smartwatch wearer, the nudges built into the system play a significant role in keeping me heading to the gym.
It doesn't follow that we'd get the same effect if everyone wore one! But there's something to the case they're making.
Oh, I completely agree that that is a realistic and worthwhile scenario.
I just think that lifetime health costs in dollars do not decrease.
Let’s say we get 1/10th less diabetes due to subsidised watches. The total number of people with chronic diseases remains constant because we just get a different chronic disease on average (because we all die of something!). So the $2000 saved is just spent elsewhere. Ignoring potential savings we could make by increasing the number of sudden deaths and decreasing chronic conditions.
Or from another angle, at an individual level many spend all they have on their final healthcare costs so our individual spending remains the same, and at a government level total healthcare spending mostly remains constant regardless of health improvements or lack thereof (e.g. we spend close to 0% on polio these days – however healthcare costs didn’t decline and instead other health costs substituted instead).
Now, quality and length of life may improve, but total spending has not changed. I suspect I lack the economic language for talking about situations where we need to optimise for cost substitutions and quality of life. I do believe that optimisation of healthcare for an economy just using dollars as inputs to the objective function would fail us miserably.
I find it really hard to think about healthcare costs, because it just doesn’t work like my intuitions might expect about saving money.
Edit: the original post “U.S. per capita healthcare spending is $11,172. If the U.S. gave everyone a $200 a year tax credit to spend on a smart health watch, we'd probably save $2,000 a year per capita and get a 10x ROI.”. I believe U.S. per capita p.a. healthcare spending would now be $11,372 (the extra $200 couldn’t be found in the budget, and the amount spent on diabetes did not decrease, the total budget was not decreased.) However people have a better QOL, and are living longer so they are better off, but the economy is worse off because we’ve added years of extra cost to support the longer-living elderly!
Some people spend the last ten or twenty years of their life in and out of the hospital, and some just fall over from an aneurysm after otherwise perfect health. Obesity (really type II diabetes, which morbid obesity pretty much guarantees) really pushes people into the first camp.
But sure, a smart watch won't keep cancer from metastasizing, and staying out of the obesity BMI band only decreases lifetime cancer risk, doesn't eliminate it by any means.
What this thread needs is an actuary...
Three times as many people die from cancer now than in 1900!
Our percentage risk of dying from cancer decreases significantly after about 65 - but only because because heart disease and mental health issues become so deadly: https://flowingdata.com/2016/01/05/causes-of-death/
Nice infographic on actual versus perceived versus media: https://twitter.com/randal_olson/status/986272007770615811?l...
A mite morbid topic, but interesting to me because the facts seem so contrary to my intuitions. PS: I am not a specialist in the topic, the above is just from a quick google.
I usually look at that as "today's medicine is advanced enough to keep us alive until we get a cancer". Keep in mind that research on antibiotics only started about in 1928...
Price has been a main barrier to my wearing a smart watch as my expectation is that something on my wrist will get damaged even more often - I do a lot of mechanical work. Certainly my $15 Casio is pretty scratched up. At the $20 price point, though, I might give this a try.
But I view the value of smart watches in the $100,000+s if not $1M+s. How much is your health worth? How much is it worth to passively keep an eye on your heart rate, and stress levels, and oxygen levels, and sleep levels? Granted, I still think it is very early for smart watches, and the value we are getting now is ~1% of the value we will be getting from them in 5-10 years (if they aren't replaced by a "smart tooth" or "smart necklace" etc). But I think at this point the value is definitely there and easily worth 10x+ the cost.
Making a single actionable decision based on data received from a wearable could have a life changing impact.
And again, speaking in probabilities here, and it depends if you look at the data and adjust your life based on it, but I think expected value of these is huge, and probably the best single health measure anyone can take.
I would say try the cheap one, and think about upgrading if you like it.
For me, zero? Or close to it. I can't imagine obsessing about this stuff. I think it would cause me more stress than it would help. That's to say nothing about the privacy issues.
Yeah, if you need to monitor that perhaps you need to work on what's causing the need to monitor it instead ;)
If the product fulfills their needs why would they waste an extra $180 on a different product?
My experience with them years ago when they first launched was really positive. Any issues with a device, and another one was in the mail.
I consider it still "early adopter" territory and am happy to put up with some problems as they blaze a trail to a healthier world via massively increasing the amount of health data available.
$300-400 is a high ticket item, point blank.
Aside from Apple, the world is owned by entities that compete mostly on price.
Obviously there's strong middle-class bias built into that number, but I don't feel like it has moved much in decades.
I won't argue with that, especially in 2020 :).
Why would you update your Fitbit that often? Is it really that much of a difference from year to year?
I wear them 24/7, so it's literally the thing I use most in the world.
Surprisingly, even this I disagree with. Simply buying one nudges the healthcare world to a more data driven place, and simply wearing one provides data and feedback to the ecosystem that will have a positive value.
That being said, yeah you should look at the data if you personally want to benefit.
Personally, I'm fairly active--at least at a walking level of activity day to day--and quantifying the number of steps I take or whatever just doesn't really do anything for me.
But I'm a big believer in nudges generally and I expect that, over time, we'll see more and more data that is more directly actionable. I just don't really see it (for me) today.
Betting against this trend would be like betting against toothbrushes and floss.
Unless a fitbit convinces my insurance company to drop their rates in half, I'm not saving thousands. If I google insurance savings I see... they'll get me a moderate discount on the fitbit itself.