Smartwatches Aren't Smartphones, But They Aren't Smart Enough to Know It

Convergence Corner

Smartwatches Aren't Smartphones, But They Aren't Smart Enough to Know It

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  December 04, 2014

It comes as no surprise that the so-called smartwatch market is following its predecessor, with the number of smartwatches increasing regularly. Without question, the highest profile market entry was the long-awaited iWatch, I mean, Apple (News - Alert) Watch. And Samsung’s position in the mobile space gives it something of an edge over many of the independent vendors.

Many quickly note they have no desire for a smartwatch – the phone is enough. But when most people stop and think about it, there are likely quite a few instances where the phone is actually inconvenient and a simple wrist-worn connected device would actually be useful.

The biggest problem with the majority of smartwatches – and certainly the two big-name mobile brands – is cost. Ultimately, despite its functionality, the smartwatch is still only a supporting device to your smartphone, and the cost should reflect that.

Secondly, many smartwatch developers have focused too much on maximizing wrist and screen real estate, rather than the using an accepted, traditional style and building around that. Indeed, the old Casio (News - Alert) calculator watches had a shape similar to many of today’s smartwatches, but they were adopted only by a small, fairly unique audience, whereas smartwatch makers are hoping to peddle their devices to the masses – anyone with a smartphone.

Cogito has launched a smartwatch that actually acts like a supporting device – not like a replacement device, though devices like Apple Watch are hardly a replacement, considering they require an iPhone (News - Alert) to function.

Aside from its design, which is remarkably stylish yet simple (it can be modernized with different color choices), the Cogito Classic smartwatch provides a connected accessory that does the things you would want a supporting device to do. It provides notifications of incoming calls, messages, and social interactions; it allows you to answer or mute incoming calls; it allows remote control for you music player; it provides a remote trigger for your phone’s camera; and it has a find my phone/watch feature.

Does it do everything your phone does? Does it allow you to answer emails and make outgoing calls? Does it have large onboard storage capacity and run multiple applications and services? No, that’s what your smartphone is for. Devices like the Apple Watch turn the smartphone into a dumb device, since it is required, but provide no added functionality, since the watch is designed to do most anything your phone does.

Indeed, the Cogito Classic performs fairly basic functions, but it does what is necessary in those instances when it is inconvenient (or illegal) to check your phone. And, because it isn’t running countless apps on its own, the firm says the Cogito watch is able to run for “many months” on a single standard cell battery. It’s water resistant to 10ATM, so water sports and showers won’t present an issue. In fact, you can actually be more connected with the Cogito watch than with the Apple Watch.

Finally, you don’t have to be an iPhone owner to use it. You can be, but you can also connect it to any Android (News - Alert) phone or tablet – another benefit over the closed ecosystem devices from Samsung and Apple (and presumably several others to come in the near future).

At $179 retail, the Cogito Classic isn’t going to break the bank. It also isn’t going to replace your phone – but then again, do you really want it to do that? You’ve just paid for a new larger screen smarphone, perhaps the Galaxy S5 or the iPhone 6 Plus, so you certainly aren’t tied to small screen sizes, and in 95 percent of your daily situations, you will have your phone readily accessible, so why do you need a watch that can do everything your phone does? The answer is you don’t. You need a smartwatch that is smart enough to know it isn’t a phone.

Edited by Maurice Nagle