HP uncloaks wristwatch 'aggregation point'
Leather strapped connectivity. We think
Updated In possibly the vaguest demo in recorded history, HP has revealed a futuristic connectivity device designed to be the centerpiece of your personal connectivity.
And, bless my soul, this magical and revolutionary device appears to be an analog wristwatch.
But not just any ol' analog writwatch, mind you. This one, as cursorily explained by VP and CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group Phil McKinney to a Chinese gathering earlier this week, has the puzzlingly macho name of Metal Watch, and will be "the aggregation point for your connectivity."
No, the Metal Watch is not being demoed by Darth Maul – there's simply a lot of moiré in HP's video
The problem intended to be solved by the Metal Watch – as vaguely posed by McKinney – is created by the increasing proliferation of internet-connected "gadgets", as he identified them: printers, desktop PCs, and mobile devices. "One of the areas that we're keenly focused in on is 'What is going to be the aggregation point for these devices?'"
Apparently that conundrum has been puzzling McKinney for some time. "When I was in Shanghai in 2007," he said, "I revealed some concept models of what we referred to as the 'connected watch'. So the concept was that the watch would become the aggregation point for your connectivity – be the point that brings all of these devices together rather than have each device operating independently."
Priming his audience for the revelation of this new class of connectivity device, McKinney said: " Well, what I'm about to show you here is the first time that we're actually going to show off the connected watch."
Unfortunately, by "show off", he merely meant "wave in front of a crowd." McKinney revealed next to nothing about exactly what the Metal Watch – developed in a "co-innovation agreement" with Fossil – is intended to do, or how it does it.
That is, unless you, dear reader, can divine more meaning from McKinny's rap than can your admittedly puzzled reporter. Here's his Metal Watch speil, word-for-word:
Huh? McKinney did add later in his presentation that the Metal Watch "is going to be able to connect to the cloud and be able to monitor and manage the information," but that's as deeply as he got into the capabilities and functionaltieis of the intelligent-router-on-your-wrist – or whatever it is.
If, by the way, you'd like to sit through McKinney's entire presentation, knock yourself out (the watch appears at about minute 25):
As he was wrapping up his rap, McKinney said: "It's all meaningless without the experience." The irony of that statement is not lost on The Reg. ®
Late Friday afternoon, The Reg received an email from a PR rep who said, in part: "I want to clarify one thing from your post: the MetaWatch (not “metal” watch) concept was developed by Fossil as part of a co-innovation agreement with HP." So, even though McKinney said in his presentation that the watch was "developed as part if the co-innovation agreement with Fossil, the watch manufacturer," it's a Fossil device, not an HP one. Also, we duly note the corrected name of "MetaWatch."
More interesting in the PR rep's email was a link to an article posted on an HP blog on Friday afternoon that describes the
Metal Watch MetaWatch in a bit more detail, and that includes the following brief video from a question-and-answer session after McKinney's presentation:
The MetaWatch, it appears, draws info from and can "can display, respond and interact with the applications running on the wireless devices you have," including displaying email, calendars, and the like. McKinney also says that a future MetaWatch may function as a "mobile Wi-Fi hotspot on your wrist."
Plenty of existing watches are powered by regular bodily movement; I'm sure the form-factor could support a 3G wifi router, groupware server and streaming media centre with realtime video chat.
You'd just need to remember to oscillate your wrist vigorously every couple of minutes, which shouldn't be an issue for anyone who actually wants one of the things.
Icon: I'm now blind
HP invents a small router and modem that tells time ?
about as vague as most of the HP senior managements pronouncements, except for the compulsary ethics courses the coal face have to do every year. More often if the senior management get caught doing something they should not, again.
Given the nature of distributed devices, why is an aggregation point needed ?
Another solution looking for a problem, or PHB looking for an empire ?
Wrist watches vulnerable to damage and too small to have adequate power or range
What a waste of a development.
You lose it to charge it, which is likely often, and it is vulnerable to damage and theft - even though it looks clunky.
Using a handset makes so much more sense on so many levels. Besides, wristwatches seem to be passée unless you wear a 'chronometer'.
the MetaWatches of Presence
Yes, heng's claim that "you need a presence" in situations where "a phone is too big" is pretty mysterious. My phone is maybe three times the volume and mass of my wristwatch. And when I'm naked I have better things to do than check my email. (That may not be true for fans of HP's and Fossil's cheap commodity offerings, I suppose.)
I think heng is suffering from an attachment to the metaphysics of presence. Where's Derrida when you need him? (OK, dead, but surely he left a trace.)
This looks to me like a pointless gadget Fossil cooked up to get some press, and HP latched on to because they used some HP tech in it. It certainly doesn't look as interesting (or fun) as the TI Chronos EZ430 dev kit, featured on these pages some time back. (I got one of those recently and I'm looking forward to playing with it just as soon as I can find the time.) And even the EZ430 probably isn't terribly *useful*, for most people - just entertaining.
A watch can do soo much more than any other device because it is permanently in contact with your skin, and can be charged through the kinetic energy. When combined with the nano sensors/RFID package implanted in your wrist it will be theft proof and provide a huge range of joined-up mobile experiences from practical medical help for diabetic’s; stop you driving when drunk; alerting the police if you under stress in a public place late at night, controlling the travel or criminals; or just authorising payments.
The real breakthrough will come with Web3.0 when avert engines wakeup to the marketing opportunity of targeted adverts with biometric feedback.. they’ll know things about you were not even aware off..
Big Brother.. phah! Don’t do Evil, you’ll die trying..