Google speaker on smartwatches: Increased dependency on device, long battery life, low cost are key

Adesoji Ojugbele of Google Android may have nailed it when asked about how to measure people’s attention span these days by using Instagram as an example: How long does it take you to post a photo on Instagram? The photo app is a good example, because as more people get used to its quick functionalities, the more people will not have patience for everything else that takes longer. The word “longer” here has come to mean longer than, say, 10 seconds; that could be an eternity for some people. Instagram is quick enough that anything else will be slow.

 
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NEW YORK--The first meetup of Smartwatch was held last April 27 at Turn to Tech, a new coding school in the Flatiron District. Ojugbele was was joined later John Ryu of Scout Ventures who pitched in for Bradley Harrison from the same VC firm. Other speakers, Paul Farkas and Ali Hussain, were not able to make it.   

The challenge for smartwatches is, as everybody knows, is battery life. Ojugbele said the viability of smartwatches hinges a lot on “battery innovation.” If smartwatches can last for a week, it should be more marketable.  

Ojugbele talked about how some Google functions can work for smartwatches like Google’s smartphone notifications. For example, you can easily get notification about your schedule from Google the search engine. Some wish lists could be how you can still get email notifications if you left your phone at home.  

He said there’s no device that will make you give up a phone yet. We all spend a hundred times looking at our phones. A smartwatch may help us lessen the times we remove our phones from our pockets, but then again, it’s also likely you will look more at your smartwatch.  

In two years, Ojugbele sees about 50 apps in the market. By then, it will change the way we use our phones. But there will be a constant pairing of the two devices.   

In creating apps for smartwatches, it’s all the same for any device. Ojugbele says it’s important to figure out a problem and how to solve it. He believes there will be very creative ideas for the smartwatches. Some are thinking location-based solutions, beacons if you will.  Others are focused on gestures like how a watch can light up when you raise your hand.

But smartwatches have to hit a homerun to hit critical mass.

Going back to Instagram, Ojugbele said our attention span will dictate our ideas about wearables. There will be a lot of wearable variations like the ring by Ringly. You don’t have to have all of them, of course, but it’s a given other devices will follow and manufacture wearables as they see fit.

Question is, what if they tanked? Ojugbele said it will be because of a lack of ecosystem and the prohibitive cost to these devices.

On the flipside, how would they succeed? “It will have an excellent battery life that will last me five days as well as increased dependency on this device,” he said.