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Matt Cutts: One of the more fun gadgets I've been playing with lately… (plus.google.com)
116 points by pg on Mar 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments

I'd pay lots of money for a stylish watch or bracelet for my wife that would alert her to incoming calls and texts. She (like many women) keeps her phone in her purse and rarely answers because she doesn't know it's ringing.

Maybe she needs an HTC Rhyme phone, with its dongle^Wcharm thingy:


Its a dongle^Wcharm thingy that plugs into the phone and acts as visible alert for phone state while its buried in a purse. Pretty funny toy.

Wow, genius. Good point, it doesn't need to be wireless to look good.

I'd pay a lot of money for that for myself.

Take this bracelet design: http://img2.etsystatic.com/il_570xN.309914418.jpg

Replace the washer with a small system: micro controller, battery, bluetooth, a handful of LEDs and a motor for vibration. All of the heavy lifting, computational wise, can be done on a desktop or mobile device.

Stylish is the keyword here.

We've always seen "futuristic watches" on TV shows from the 80s, which looked cool, but after a few seconds you realize that you would only wear them if they were stylish and not a piece that screams "nerd!" when you look at it.

We have the technology to build phone-watches, bluetooth enabled, with wifi, etc, but people just won't buy them. Why? They're ugly.

This one is $18

I think the operative word here is "stylish". Obviously taste is subjective, but my first impression for that one was "home detention bracelet"

I agree.

I wonder how a Kickstarter campaign for a better styled version would go? You could probably get the internals for < $10 in bulk.

This is exactly my use case and I was excited when I saw inPulse posted on HN a couple months ago [0] until I realized my phone can't run cyanogenmod. Also, at the time I thought $200 (for the black watch) was a bit expensive until I found out that my coworkers are wearing $600 watches.

[0] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3290884

The Sony Ericsson MBW200-series are probably the least "techy-looking" bluetooth watches http://www.inglue.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/sony-ericss...

So everyone wants something like this: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1104350651/tiktok-lunati... They took a ipod nano and turned it into a watch.

If the iPad is a hip flask[1], this must be an intravenous line. (And soon we'll have augmented reality glasses providing a central line to the heart.)

1. http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2012/03/10/ipad-as-hip-flask/

I bought one of these during the sale they had last year. I'm running CyanogenMod (Android) and everything works as described.

It's most useful when looking at one's phone would be considered rude, but looking at one's watch would not.

I haven't built any faces for mine (yet), but having the watch definitely makes me want to learn more Python/C.

I already have my phone in my pocket and I expect it to do all the things mentioned (via interacting directly). I also have too many devices that beep/vibrate at me so another one that does alerts seems unnecessary (one in my pocket and another on my wrist?).

If it was voice controlled however, that would be cool. The range of interaction would be far greater.

note: I gave up wearing wristwatches some time ago, if I did still wear them, this would be pretty interesting.

I'm not a huge fan of inPulse - not because of what they do, which I think is awesome, but because of their size - if I could get the watch of my preference (random example, but here's the kind of watch I personally like http://s7ondemand4.scene7.com/is/image/Signet/8349614?$detai... ) with a few of these features, such as vibration in patterns to show the difference between a call, an SMS, an email... then I'd jump all over it.

As to the screen, I can see many people in the near future being sold on this - hell, it's a cool thing in principle, as a kid my two favourite watches (one of which I had), were one that was a calculator (http://retrothing.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83452989a69e201156f357...) and one that was a TV remote (http://www.calculatorwatch.net/wp-content/uploads/Digital-ca...), and many of my friends thought they were awesome too. Personally I'm quite happy taking my phone out to actually read stuff - though on a small watch a display for calls would be great if/when using a wireless headset.

".. vibration in patterns to show the difference between a call, an SMS, an email"

This is genius. Why doesn't my phone do this now? Sure, I have different audible tones for reminders/sms/email/calls but most of the time my phone is in vibrate-only.

I think we will end up with watches similar to those you describe. I imagine they'll have more functions than alerting you though. A device in constant contact with the skin could likely do a whole bunch of health monitoring.

By default, iPhones vibrate once for emails, twice for texts.

Through the accessibility settings, you can set completely custom vibrations for each of the contacts in your address book (e.g. you could make morse code of each of their names)

Maybe better for people with clothes that hold phones tighter against their skin (?) or for owners of other phones (I'm a blackberry man), but personally I often don't notice vibrations in my pocket, I definitely wouldn't notice patterns. Whereas on the wrist it can be quieter (no more BZZZZZ "oh look, my phone's on silent haha") and gentler, yet more noticeable.

I wrote a Python script for my Nokia N900 that vibrated the text of a SMS in Morse code. It was an interesting idea but only lasted a day as I don't know More code well at all.

Android can already do this, with CyanogenMod at least. If I remember correctly there are choices like "long pulse", "three short pulses", etc.

Ye olde BlackBerry would let you set custom vibration patterns per-app. It's technically possible on Android too, but most apps don't take advantage of it (including the built-in apps, negating the usefulness of such a thing)

Android has this: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.handyandy....

I believe iOS 5 can have difference vibrate patterns for each contact.

iPhones have different vibration patterns for what its worth.

What if you could replace the device in your pocket with one in your wrist? I would love to free a pocket slot. And a Bluetooth headset could take care of phone calls.

Screw the headset, put a speaker in your palm. Add in a camera, NFC, etc. and move the display to the other side, we have a smart glove.

"Talk to the hand"

> I gave up wearing wristwatches some time ago, if I did still wear them, this would be pretty interesting.

I still wear a watch but check the time on my cell phone probably 50%. The watch has become mostly just a functional piece of jewelry.

I don't have a phone in my pocket because I hate carrying it. But I do have a wristwatch. If modern smart-phones, and all the things they do, can be turned into wristwatches - great! Then I will have one.

There are three or four watches out, and probably more in the planning phase. InPulse, WIMM (http://www.wimm.com/platform-concepts.html) are the two that spring to mind...anyone have any idea which is better in terms of battery life, small size, expandability?

Edit: Sony SmartWatch should be coming soon, too (http://androidandme.com/2012/01/news/hands-on-with-the-sony-...).

There's the Sony LiveView (http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/accessories/liv...), which looks more feature-rich than the InPulse.

The global watch industry is pushing $50 billion and very few people wear them anymore. With the mobile revolution this category is really ripe for a complete overhaul. This isn't it but it's one of several starts in that direction.

People talk about how phones are getting more powerful processors each year and extrapolate that out but what's also going to happen is that the current slab phone paradigm will be challenged strongly by a combination of lighter tablets at the high end and even more miniaturized devices -- glasses, watches, headsets, armbands, etc. on the low end.

Advances in LTE networks mean your mobile chip really only has to be good enough to decode audio and video at a low ping. Those chips are going to get tiny indeed and run extremely power light.

3D printing advances continue to astonish, check out this 330x130x100µm3 racecar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y0j191H0kY

Voice and Kinect-style motion controls are rapidly maturing as alternatives to touch input. Eye movement and thought control perhaps not that far off.

Flexible screens, projection and very high density VR screens are also maturing and offer alternatives to the current slab phone screen.

One reason I wear my watch is because there is a builtin solar panel and it automatically corrects the time (and DST) via the radio signals every night. (The builtin "battery" would last 11 months if there was complete darkness.) The watch is also 100 metres waterproof so I never need to take it off.

It is nice to see that there are an increasing number of water resistant Android phones but nothing too mainstream yet. And battery life is typically less than 24 hours, which is also typical for this inpulse watch.

What is also desperately needed is for the size of use to be different than the size carried. For example it would be great if the phones were smaller than a matchbox in your pocket, but when you want to use them they expand to a larger size possibly via some of the mechanisms you mentioned.

Something that's already possible today: an ensemble for mobile computing instead of a monolithic device. You have a 4G wifi hotspot, a bluetooth headset, a tablet, etc. I'm curious how you could evolve that idea. Maybe with wearable computers, maybe something else.

My wife took my 3GS iphone last year when she lost her phone and for a few months I used a 3G iPad and a prepaid dumbphone we had lying around. It was a surprisingly decent setup. Because I do so much of my phoning on Skype the actual monthly charges were about half of what they were with my 3GS plan.

One thing I realized was the iPad plan is the dumb pipe plan we've all been waiting for. It's really a neat trojan horse Apple's set up with the carriers for some future disruption like an iphone nano where the bluetooth headset is the whole phone and they can sell the thing for $149 without a subsidy.

Anyone got a mirror of the contents? It requires me to log into Google before I can read the post.

Matt Cutts posts:

One of the more fun gadgets I've been playing with lately is the inPulse smartwatch. It can silently buzz when you get a new email and show a preview of your email. It's has an API that works with many Android and Blackberry phones, so you can program your own custom apps to do things like move forward in a PowerPoint presentation or show stock quotes. It's pretty geeky, but in a very space-age way. I can see a lot of people wearing watches like this in a few years.


Can someone post the text of this article here, for those of us on mobile phones who don't want to log in, or don't have Google accounts? Thanks

"One of the more fun gadgets I've been playing with lately is the inPulse smartwatch. It can silently buzz when you get a new email and show a preview of your email. It's has an API that works with many Android and Blackberry phones, so you can program your own custom apps to do things like move forward in a PowerPoint presentation or show stock quotes. It's pretty geeky, but in a very space-age way. I can see a lot of people wearing watches like this in a few years." With a link to: http://www.getinpulse.com/

edit: already posted. Odd that a public G+ post is not visible from a mobile device without logging into Google.

without logging into Google and creating a public profile if you don’t have one.

It could be quite interesting to replace the medium-sized smartphone (that doesn't really want to be in your pocket, run a real OS, or accept much user input) with a watch+earbud+netbook combo. Stow the netbook in a small bag, controlled with the body-based devices for on-the-go communication, and whip out the actual computer to get something done/kill time/etc.

This is really cool and will be useful for a niche, let's not make it out to be something else. A watch is a piece of fashion first. His assessment as pretty nerdy is correct - this isn't for the main stream user to parade around.

"Hey I made this hat that can send text messages if you just think about it!" "But I'm still wearing that ugly hat"

Here is a 15 min talk were the founder talks about the challenges of building a hardware startup http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afH8KGv0W24

inPulse should consider teaming up with ifttt. Now that'll be amazing!

Has anyone else noticed these posts can't be viewed on mobile devices without logging in to a Google account? I'm on latest Opera Mobile for Android.

I have long been convinced that smart watches are the next huge thing. For my money they can even be a phone, optionally with a detachable bluetooth ear plug/mic. I don't know if they will go full monty and get big fold-out screens and physical keyboards but I could see it, particularly for the geekier among us.

That, and AR headgear. People already wear wristwatches and glasses so it should be a smooth transition.

Interesting that this works with Blackberry and not iOS devices. Is this because the app store specifically rejected their app? If so, why?

It meshes well with the way Blackberry handles incoming messages (email, IM, etc.) and the Blackberry has a public API to allow 3rd-party access to such incoming messages.

iOS has no such public API, and the various types of incoming messages (email/SMS/IM) are not unified in iOS like they are on BB. It's always been a weak spot on iOS. The iOS 5 notification center improves the situation quite a bit, but there's still no public API to enable a device like this watch.

Most likely that Apple don't provide access to the Bluetooth layer; there's also no bluetooth file transfer apps available.

Does anyOne remember The Orb? http://www.hybratech.com/products/orb/

...I waited most of 2010 to see this thing hit the shelves but gave up eventually when it started looking like vapourware. Not certain what the current status is.

The cool factor is definitely there but I am not buying one of these devices unless they figured out how to charge it without any help from the user.

I do not want another device I have to remember to connect to its charger and given its functionality I don't think its battery life is stellar.

I'm looking forward to the day someone puts a full-fledged Android device with a GPS capable of running most apps on my wrist. I'm an avid runner and would love to be able to use something like Runtastic and listen to podcasts without carrying my Galaxy Nexus on my arm...

A recent (few months ago) flight neighbor sported just such a thing. A Motorola-designed Android watch. Rather large and clunky, but it could do some apps. He was a Motorola engineer.

This is where Steve Jobs would have a coronary. It's a device that screams "Tech!!!!!" (yes, with five bangs), not "style".

Wouldn't swear on a large stack of bibles, but I might use strong language on a small pile of Jesus comics, that this was the MOTOACTV:


One of my friends has put an ipod nano into a watch strap casing. It looks stylish and works well too. I just wish you could build apps for them, there would be a huge market for that surely.

Where can I get a Matt Cutts of my very own? I like fun gadgets too.

I've wanted something like this for a while, but I'm worried that easier access to notifications is going to just make me more neurotic.

This is a pretty neat gadget, but the last thing I want is another email distraction while I'm trying to work.

They were originally going to call it the Distract-o-Matic, but I guess inPulse has a nice ring to it too.

Would be awesome Wish they had Win7/64 support. Need to push on Broadcom for that.

"Siri, read me my email."

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