Samsung has recently announced its new smartwatch, the Gear.
As someone who likes his gadgets and that sort of technology-type stuff, a practical smartwatch linked through to my phone could be something I’d have in interest in. This watch has a workable colour screen 4 cm across and resolution of 320 by 320, and with all the things you might expect from such a device in the way of a camera and talking to your (Samsung) phone. (Compare this resolution to when desk top PCs first hit the mass market with monitors of 14 inches / 35.5 cm and a resolution of 640 by 480.)
However the one thing that totally kills it for me is the battery life. Samsung’s talking about a day’s use (and that’s when new!) which is just not what would interest me.
For something like this I need to know I can go away for a long week-end, use is extensively (but still sensibly) without any worry of it going flat or need to have to take a charger with me. So we’re talking about charging it Thursday night, going away Friday, then Sat and Sun out adventuring, heading back Monday for a Monday night charge, and doing this confidently knowing that it’s going to remain a working useful device for the whole period.
It would have been nice if they had managed to build into it a self-winding system similar to an automatic mechanical watch. This would have worked a small generator to help keep the battery charged as you move. There’s nothing special in this, kinetic-based quarts watches have been doing this for some years.
I guess it’s the usual story of never buy the early versions of anything, wait for the second generation to arrive.
I have a Kindle 3 e-reader, it’s a bit over 18 months old, mono screen, and as an ‘electronic book’ I think it’s great – far better than I was anticipating and a real pleasure to use. I’m not really too sure how long its battery life is between needing a recharge, but we are talking into the weeks (rather than days). A device that’s just designed to do one thing, and it does that really well.
Since the first Kindle came out and showed there was a potentially large market for this sort of thing there’s been a whole range of alternatives appearing, though recently they seem to be turning themselves into full colour, multi-function, touch screen devices. Some have been based on the manufacturers own proprietary operating system, but more and more appear based around a bastardised Android set-up. However regardless of the behind the scenes system, the manufacturers have still been pushing them principally as e-readers.
This I have no problem with whatsoever, but, and this is a big ‘but’ for me, my Kindle 3 lasts for ages off a full battery charge, I can quite happily take it away with me on holiday or long week-ends without having to worry about chargers and mains sockets and all that sort of stuff.
These new devices only give me a relatively few reading-hours before it’s go hunt the charger time, and depending where you are, go hunt a very illusive mains socket.
I do appreciate that active touch colour screen multi-function device will consume a greater amount of power compared to something more basic, however there’s also this great push to make these new devices thinner and lighter than ever before. That I also have no problem with whatsoever, but it would be so nice if there could be one model in any given range that could be that little bit thicker, just a mm or so, and fill that extra space with additional battery capacity.
That small extra thickness and weight should make no real difference to the handling and portability of the device, but having that extra usage, of having a device that I could confidently take away for a long week-end and not have to even think about cables and sockets and chargers and all that sort of crap would be ever so nice.