6 Ways You’re Underestimating the Potential of Smartwatches

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When Apple lifted the curtains on the iPad back in 2010, the mistake that many critics made was that they weren’t thinking big enough. Almost immediately, the tablet was?relegated to the status?of a bulkier, less useful iPhone. It’s hard to imagine now, but for a moment, the iPad was the laughingstock of the internet.

With four years of hindsight, it’s apparent that the iPad’s potential was underestimated. The device is now a household name, and it’s become the?king of tablets?in the U.S.

If there’s one looming technology that stands to make as much of an impact as the iPad did, it’s the smartwatch. While Android Wear, Pebble, and the Apple Watch haven’t yet received the level of scrutiny that the iPad faced at launch, I contend that the technology is still widely underestimated. Here are six of the biggest ways we’re missing the true potential of smartwatches.

A revolutionary new interface

In a recent interview with?Fast Company, Mark Rolston?of Frog Design outlined a set of subtle smartwatch interactions he referred to as “phatic cues.” These are quick and simple exchanges between user and watch. If it’s about to start raining, for instance, your watch might vibrate and display a rain cloud. You look down at it, acknowledge the information, and move on. This is a brand new way of absorbing information, and one that we’ll have to get used to as smartwatches grow in popularity.

Playing the (near) field

Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and other mobile wallet apps are beginning to show off the appeal of near-field communication (NFC) technology, but as the smartwatch begins to become part of the mainstream, its practical uses will skyrocket. Imagine, for instance, swiping your watch by a reader at the grocery store, and then simply walking out with your produce. With the accessibility of the smartwatch, these kinds of conveniences are more within reach than ever.

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