The rise of the Smart Watch

With all of the talk about the iWatch from Apple, and every other vendor plus Dog announcing a smart watch. I thought I’d jump in and examine an apparently Failed smart watch. The Sony Ericsson LIVE VIEW


Now this device was generally panned by the media, partly because it was breaking new ground, and partly is was clunky, or so said.

Now I, like others would not have invested in such technology, partly as I’m not that active with my phone (Android) but also because it wasn’t rated highly. However Amazon was selling them for 25£ and that isn’t even an impulse buy by current standards. So I ordered one, and I now have had it less than a day, and this is my impression. But I really will try to comment on the whole Smart Watch issues.

The NM800 is an earlier version Sony Smart Watch technology, so first efforts not withstanding this is quite a nice device. The screen, while small is still readable, and at a very wide angle due to a lensing effect on the crown. It whole device is plastic and very light, but bulky enough to make you want to wear it on your wrist, I’m using it on the included clip, for three reasons, the included strap is poor, second, I have a nice watch. You can use a standard pin strap on the plastic watch fitting, thirdly and this is important, you can’t charge it on the wrist bracket, but you can on the clip.

In use the Liveview linked up easily with my phone, an HTC Desire X, after downloading the Sony App from the Google Play store. but it took a bit of fiddling, and downloading of additional (free) plugins from the Play store to add more complete functionality. But now, SMS, Gmail, phone calls all get forwarded to the device. I can read SMS, and email on it, though I have yet to get Facebook to work. In reality, there is nothing wrong with this device.

Now for the issues, the device at maximum range has a disconnect, reconnect problems, but I have yet to upgrade the firmware, which supposedly fixes this problem. The real issues, and this is the crux of Smart Phones is purpose. Of what Purpose do you need a Smart Phone.

Due to the use of Bluetooth for communications, 30 Meters is the furthest you and can be parted from your phone, in fact 10 meters is a more likely range. This might then be useful to check your ‘status’ without taking the phone from your pocket, or in a meeting, jogging or driving. However in normal practice the need for a bigger screen, and control surfaces found on the ‘full’ phone will be required to complete many actions and then would require you to pull out the phone anyway.

The next issue, as with Smart Phones, is power, and while I have not discharged the battery for the first time, the projected battery life for this device is 8 hours, about the same as an average phone. Which, by the way, decreases the battery life of the phone, requiring Bluetooth to be active on the phone all the time.

So the conclusion, if there is one, is this; they work but have limited usefulness and are cute as hell, and a cool geek gadget.

Kindle as the fire of Fahrenheit 451

In the science fiction book Fahrenheit 451 I often wondered what the catalyst was. In the current age, that has become apparent, control, with government leaders demanding ‘controls’ over the Internet, and most other communications media the books presented in the Novel are information. However, there is another aspect of books which in this age of electronic books (eBook) presents itself as a missing element in control.

While experimenting with the Kindle on Android I found that the Android Pad I was using, while reading a Kindle book was in constant communication with Amazon Books. Almost every page turn was being recorded and sent to Amazon, even the location of where I was reading them was a requirement during the reading of the eBook.

I discovered that if you turn off location features in your pad, or Android Phone, the kindle software will prevent you from reading a downloaded book. If you can not communicate with Amazon via WiFI or other wireless channel, you can’t open your books, even if they were previously downloaded.

Sometime back Amazon became embroiled in a controversy over publishing rights to a book, and directly removed it from peoples ebook readers, without the consent of the user.

Amazon/Kindle does not allow the loaning of books to others, even if they have been paid for. The owner just doesn’t have that right anymore.

All of these elements add up to the same thing, printed books are ‘out of control’ they can be read by anyone, loaned to anyone, and their content is not subject to change once printed. These are things that Amazon eBooks can do. Change content, disappear, track readers, prevent distribution and dissemination of content.

Not to get too scary, but fundamentally the loss of printed books marks a point where knowledge has peaked, and the end of freedom of thought. No longer will information be available freely. The internet will be throttled, bottled, canned and banned to suit the requirements of the controlling society. Books will be available, eBooks, with controlled revisable content, restricted to cleared and sanctioned readers from known locations. And every word will be monitored as it is read.