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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

OK, Google: A Man and His Watch

 
April 23rd, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

I’ve got a friend who received an Android Wear (read “watch”) as a gift earlier this year. In the last several months, he’s become addicted to wearing the darn thing although its usefulness is distinctly limited: He can check the time and screen calls without digging a phone out of his pocket. Oh yeah, and when messages and/or emails come in, he knows straightaway.

Other than being a fascinating toy, however, and something to diddle with – particularly for those who like the openness of Android – Wear is really not much more than a distinctive fashion statement and not too much of that.

Nonetheless, now that Apple’s claiming more stupendous success with yet another highly over-hyped product launch (read, “the Apple Watch”), it’s time to re-consider the importance, even gravitas, of this Android Wear thing. After all, let’s not just lay down in the road and let Apple run over us yet again. Let’s cheer on these Android Wear users. Let’s celebrate anybody willing to stand up to the Apple juggernaut. Yay!

Several weeks ago, I was honored to be included in a Press Roundtable with Synopsys co-CEO Aart de Geus. A small group of us enjoyed a relaxed conversation with de Geus in the hour following his SNUG keynote delivered to hundreds. Not an easy morning for anyone, but co-CEO de Geus handled it with aplomb.

After many questions across multiple topics from others in the P.Corps, I got to ask Dr. de Geus a few questions of my own. Does he wear a ‘wearable’? As context for that query, I mentioned how my Android Wear/watch friend uses his wearable to screen calls.

The Synopsys co-CEO was quick to respond to this prompt. He doesn’t wear a wearable, just a “cheap $100 watch” which he held up to show us. He doesn’t need a wearable, because he has people to screen his calls; he doesn’t need that kind of functionality lashed to his wrist.

That seemed disappointing to those obsessed with consuming the cutting edge of consumer clutter. And possibly disappointing to keynote script writers who are obsessed with pushing Synopsys’ role in the roll out of the IoT, particularly as a provider of the IP that’s supposed to make it all work.

But de Geus’ response was certainly not disappointing to those of us who a) can’t figure out why a wearable’s really useful when all it does is screen calls and emails, and b) prefer the style and form factor of a real watch, not a big ‘ol square digital TV screen that doesn’t sport enough battery life to even make it through a typical work day. Seriously.

And by the way, the Apple watch has the exact same problem: Battery life.

Okay, and there’s one other thing.

I don’t care how trendy a wrist-based wearable may be, I don’t care about the screening calls thing, or any other functionality for that matter. What I care about is the ubiquitous embarrassment of walking down the street with somebody who keeps raising his wrist up to his face and saying loudly, “Ok, Google …”

It’s so embarrassing, so annoying, and so not cool, trendy, or suave.

So to tell you the truth, I suspect that’s the real reason the cool and suave Dr. de Geus doesn’t wear a wearable: He doesn’t want to be caught in polite company yelling a command into his wrist.

Undoubtedly, like most sane people in the zany world of tech, he has the good sense to know that although everybody may want to look like Dick Tracy, nobody wants to be a cartoon. Seriously.

Ok, Google?

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