Microsoft's MSN Direct service lets you get weather, stock prices, personal messages, appointment reminders, etc. on your watch. When I heard that Microsoft was teaming up with watch companies like Fossil on this project, I was hopeful that the watch designs might break the normal geek mold for techno gadgets like these, but the geek mold prevailed. Both the Microsoft and Fossil sites show pictures of attractive, rounded displays with a blue background and transparent plastic frame, but the watches for sale are limited to square gray displays with manly black wrist straps. And although style is a primary concern, the size of these watches is also prohibitive to anyone with small wrists (read: women).
When I see devices like this, I wonder if companies realize that they're alienating women and those who care about style, or if they just don't care. I understand that there are technical and financial considerations that product teams need to worry about, but I'd think they'd find their target markets increasing if more design options were available.
In any event, I think the watch is a natural fit for integration with the type of functionality that Microsoft is offering. The watch has been fully adopted by our culture and accepted into our personal body space -- other wearable devices will have to overcome these social and physical hurdles. Hopefully Microsoft has some other partners and design plans up their sleeves.
On the topic of watches, a couple of interesting companies, who obviously take themselves a little less seriously than Microsoft does, include:
Pimp Watches: The Trip the Light Fantastic tells time via 72 red, green and yellow LEDs. The photos on their site are hysterical, showing the watch next to cigars and other pimp-lifestyle accessories. (If you're offended by anime characters with large breasts, you may want to give the site a miss.)
OVO: The Decision Maker "is equipped with several functions that can point you in the right direction or make decisions for you." That is, it has the same functionality as your Magic 8 Ball. Very fun design.
- Thanks to Jordon for pointing me to Pimp Watches, via Cool Hunting.