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I don’t think I want a wearable computer.

At least, not in the way many people are talking about them. I don’t want Google Glass, and I don’t really want to strap on yet another device that I have to worry about updating, patching, and synching content with.

My ideal wearable product would be a dumb mirroring device. It would be a stable (power efficient) thin-client device that I can tether to my current phone. That’s it.

It would be a device that is streamed content to display (from my phone), and transmits UI clicks back to my phone. I don’t want a smartwatch, I want a dumbwatch!  It would behave like an external display.

In this way, my watch would be phone agnostic; I would be able to change my phone, at will, whenever I wanted to update, and not worry about losing contacts or applications, or purchased media.

“I don’t want a smartwatch, I want a dumbwatch!”

I like the utility of having my phone with me most of the day, but sometimes it’s a little awkward. It’s a great tool, but sometimes it’s a pain to get it out of my belt holster just to check something trivial (who is that calling, what was that text? …) I’m sure people with purses have to make similar decisions (Is it worth unzipping my purse and fishing around for the phone?) A quick glance at my wrist would tell me what I wanted as long as my phone was within Bluetooth range.

My phone is a precious device. Along with my keys and wallet, it’s the only thing I’d bother going back to the house for if I’d forgotten. I sure don’t want to lose it. Having a device strapped to my wrist that warns when I (or it) is going out of range would be a useful security bonus.

Having a day at the beach, or going skiing? Maybe spending the weekend on a boat or at the cabin? Often these are polarizing decision points: Do I want to take my fancy (expensive, useful) phone with me? Sure it would be nice to have, but will it get wet? Will I drop it, lose it, scratch it, get sand in it, or have to use it with ‘icky fingers’?

Problem solved: Take your smartphone with you, slip it in a zip-loc™ bag then put it safely in the cooler/boat cubby/glove box/padded back-pack and then tether it to your (water proof, splash proof, less expensive) wrist watch. You’d have all the benefits of your phone without worrying about damage. I did mention I wanted it to be waterproof right? After all, I want to go swimming.


 Photo Credit: Alexander Chernov 

It’s not just for my wrist. I want the same mirror technology for my car.

My current car is over ten years old. Can you imagine trying to use a computer that is over ten years old? Performance wise, even if it were practical, is the OS still supported? Are there even any functioning apps anymore (or at least useful ones)? How about drivers, patches, security fixes?

What I want is for my car to have a nice big dumb thin-client display. A device beautiful installed and integrated by the manufacturer so that it looks like it was supposed to be there. It would pair with my phone when I got in, and I’d have instant access to all my phone's navigation, apps, contacts, cell network and services through the screen in the car.

A dumb client does will not go out of date. If I changed/upgraded my phone … not a problem, it’s just a dumb thin client after all. It's analogous to plugging in an external monitor to your laptop. My investment in the car is preserved and does not get obsolete.

If I went to a different city, it would be nice to simply rent a car and have my phone and apps work just the same by them pairing to the display in the rental car. Since all my data would remain on my phone, I would not worry about privacy and security (where I had been, contacts, email, calls made …)

If I lend my car to my friends, they should be able to drive and talk to their friends, and access their email (when stationary of course), or be read their tweets and status updates, or play their games.

Also, when my friends let me borrow their $250k cars, you should be able to call me.


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