My relationship with technology has, in the past, resembled a shotgun marriage and the slow, painful realisation that, honeymoon period over, you don’t really know each other that well after all.
Quick to lust after iPads; over-keen to jump into contracts with smartphones who break my heart when I break their screens. Realising all-too-soon that I actually don’t know how to “turn it off and on again”. Owning an iPad does not a tech geek make. Content with getting what can only be described as the mere minimum out of the technology in my life, I thought I was happy.
Then I met my Garmin Forerunner 10. It was love at first sight. Slim, slick, sexy. Green. “It can do EVERYTHING!” I gushed to friends, family, complete strangers. My Forerunner 10, a thinking watch designed for – you guessed it – runners, uses GPS to track and map out your run, tracks your pace, distance, calories, and elevation. It is coupled with a slick, easy-to-use online uploading system which shows you maps, compares your stats, introduces you to a network of other Forerunner lovers, and can even train you for marathons.
It would be unjust to say the watch didn’t revolutionise my running. The smart online tracking and training system and the easy screen gave me incentive to race myself, up my average pace, increase my distances. What’s more, maintenance is minimal. I’ve been on well over 30 runs since we met and I’ve never cleared the memory. I only charge it once around every 10 miles/2 hours of usage and it’s still happy. Two months later, our love is as strong as ever and we go on at least three dates a week.
And yet, like a Frenchman in a long-distance marriage, infidelity came calling. If this were a movie, and the ferret in Along Came Polly were actually a small smart device made by Motorola, the movie would be called Along Came a Smartwatch, and I would be head over heels. But it isn’t. Instead, along came a man called Jeremy, and I fell in love with his watch in a way I didn’t know was possible. Jeremy’s watch is known to techies as the Moto360 – a touchscreen smartwatch released in September 2014, boasting Android Wear technology, speedy search potential, a sexy design, and wireless charging technology. The techie reviews are giving it four stars, praising its slick aesthetics and smart initiative. It uses voice control, meaning you can ask it to remind you of things later in the day, just by speaking. It also has a screen that ‘sleeps’ while you go about your business, saving battery. To light it up and read it, all you have to do is flick your wrist, like you might a jacket sleeve to look at a normal watch. If this doesn’t make you feel like James Bond, I don’t know what will.
Its only downside appears to be its battery. Battery is a bit taboo in the world on technological relationships; the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Apple and I have never spoken about the fact that my iPhone barely lasts the 9-5 if used for talking to more than two people or using more than two apps. The tech community have questioned the battery life of the Moto360, and rightly so. But, realistically, as long as you charge it every night when you go to sleep – like you would your phone – there are few pitfalls.
Above all, I think I was particularly attracted to the Moto360 due to its perceived simplicity. Reading the reviews of the Apple smartwatch, I really failed to get off. While my Forerunner 10 can “DO EVERYTHING”, but within the nice, neat confines of a runner’s needs, the Apple Watch seemed to boast to actually be able to do everything EVER. In practice, critics of the Apple Watch have claimed it offers little that the Moto360 doesn’t offer already. But, from my short, interactive session with it, the Motorola smartwatch seemed to me to strip it all back to offer what a watch really should: basic organisation, scheduling, help. Essentially: timekeeping at its finest.
As a person who has never worn an analogue watch, my love affair with the smartwatch has struck me as strange. But, in my constant efforts to modernise, and in a world where time has never been so valuable, it seems natural that the progressive step is into the world of wearable tech. It seems the wearable technology of the smartwatch might just be the spicy, exciting, literally-with-knobs-on sex toy that my flailing marriage to modern technology really needs.