Wearable Computing: Not Even A Whole Device?

I’ve criticized Apple Watch and the rest of the current crop of similar products as (a) useless and (b) generally ugly. (In a way, these are unfair complaints—I hold the same dim view of conventional wrist watches.) These critiques are only compounded if you already have a watch (or other bling) that you like to wear. Am I supposed to wear two watches? Or give up my beautiful gift/heirloom and replace it with one of these peripherals for my phone? Either way, I don’t like it.

One idea would be to retrofit or augment standard wearable gear with the “smart watch” connectivity. But how?

Chronos is prototyping a stick-on watch back that lets you unobtrusively add some connectivity to a conventional watch. (This is in the prototype stage, so I’m working from what I see on the web.)

The device is a thin disk that adheres to back of the watch via “micro-suction” (which sounds like marketing BS to me). It supposedly senses taps (to the watch above) and touches (to the edge), and can output light (around the edges) and vibration. Connected to a smartphone in your pocket/bag (presumably via Bluetooth), it can do basic commands (e.g., silence the phone) and deliver notifications (ick!)

Caveat:  again, I haven’t seen the device nor even much information about it. I have no idea if or how well this interface really works.

Photo: Chronos

The company tagline is said to be “The best wearable is the one you already wear.” (Oops! I don’t wear bling.) Glancing at reviews, it is clear that the inhabitants of the fair isle of geek certainly get the problem of too many wrist bands.

But, honestly, is this any better than any of the other wearables? Even postulating that your legacy watch is really great (and not just familiar), this product can do no better than tie with a purpose built watch, right? More likely, it is a feeble second best.

So, do I want a watered down version of what is already a poor peripheral to the lousy interface that is my device? Not really.

I’ll give Chronos points for small and light, and points for thinking about the problem. But no points for “useful”.

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