October Gadget of the Month: Pebble Smartwatch


Smartphones are an amazing technology. Think about it: in the palm of your hand you hold a devicethat is far more powerful than computers that used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and fill entire rooms.

Smartphones have revolutionized the workplace. You no longer have to call your office to check for messages. You don’t even need to have an office; your smartphone can be your office. You can do Internet research, book movie tickets, make dinner reservations and communicate with friends, all at the same time.

But we also know the downside. How many times have you sat in a restaurant where the people next to you spend their entire meal staring at their devices instead of talking to each other? How many meetings have you attended where the person across from you was constantly pecking away at his device?

It’s more than a distraction. It’s downright rude. I don’t want someone looking at their smartphone when I’m talking to them, and I’m sure they don’t want me doing it either. Instead of facilitating interaction, it actually gets in the way of smooth communications.

So here’s the challenge: one of the reasons we have smartphones is so that people can get in touch with us when they need to. If you turn off your phone before going into a meeting, that’s very considerate, but what if someone really does need to reach you.

The Smartwatch is a really interesting compromise. Put your smartphone on mute and leave it in your pocket or purse. If a message arrives, your smartwatch will buzz gently to let you know. A quick glance at your watch and you can avoid offending others. Or if you’re walking to the car with an armload of groceries, you can check your wrist and decide whether it really is important enough to stop everything to get to your phone.

Many manufacturers are getting into the smartwatch business, but the Pebble Smartwatch is one of the best known. Much more than just an email reminder tool, it offers a range of applications including fitness and workout software, weather and even home automation. It works equally well with iPhone and Android and is available in a variety of colours.