Smartwatches are having trouble getting established in part because they're often simply extensions of one's phone. While that does allow people like runners to more easily control phone functions without pulling out their phones, smartwatches probably won't catch on widely until they are full-fledged computers of their own. Until then, I'd bet my money on smartrings which I found out about only this week with news of the Smarty Ring's crowdfunding success.
Most of the smartwatches I'm seeing are bulky and just not that attractive. In addition, the ones I tend to hear about are along the lines of the Pebble which seem to be primarily an extension of one's smartphone. So it's a portable gadget designed to enhance another portable gadget. Not a real winner in my book.
But, for someone on the go who doesn't want to dig into their pockets, smartwatches usually offer music controllers for one's smartphone. In the case of Pebble, that music control comes from a third-party app.
The long-term play seems more likely when watches get smart enough to do more things on their own but time will tell.
Smarty Ring Promo
However the concept of smartrings strikes me as more interesting if only because they seem more accessible though they may end up being pretty bulky for a ring just as smartwatches seem a bit bulky for a watch. But if you're wearing long sleeves or a jacket, getting to your watch suddenly takes an extra step and isn't the point eliminating extra steps?
The Smarty Ring just finished a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo where they exceeded their $40k goal and passed $300,000 in pledges. The watch is being developed in India and the first edition is expected in April 2014.
A lot can go wrong with such product timelines but the Smarty Ring is pretty interesting and will have both iOS and Android apps for connection to your phones. Features include:
- Incoming & outgoing call notifications
- Alerts for Text and E-Mail messages
- Real time updates from Facebook,Twitter, Hangout & Skype
And phone controls:
- Accept or reject incoming calls
- Make outgoing calls to preset numbers
- Trigger camera
- Control music
- Change profile
Yes, buried in that feature list is music control which is probably a no brainer at this point given the prominence of music collections on smartphones.
The Smarty Ring has other planned features that you can find out about at Indiegogo.
At this stage I'm not sure how musicians or labels can exploit such a technology beyond being available on smartphones but wearable tech will be of growing relevance and is a space worth watching for early adopters.
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.