Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Timex Announces the Ironman One GPS+

Earlier today, Timex announced a new smartwatch that is supposed to combine Timex's expertise in watch design with Qualcomm's technology and free 3G data for a year as part of a partnership with AT&T to compete in the smartwatch market but, I honestly don't see enough appeal. There are a few main problem that really hold the watch back.

USA Today:
The upcoming Timex smartwatch is primarily targeted at runners. It has built-in GPS to track your speed, distance, pace and other workout details
First of all, one of the biggest features being touted is the ability to use the watch independently of a smartphone. But, it won't — and is not meant to — replace the smartphone entirely. The Ironman will be a great option for a run where you might choose a watch over a phone but then, for the majority of the time you do have your smartphone with you, the watch won't tether to your device to display notifications, make or receive phone calls etc. The Ironman One GPS+ does more than just tracking runs of course, but why you would choose it over your smartphone is another problem. For example, the Ironman allows for messaging over email but to do so you'll have to use a keyboard. As you can imagine typing more than 5 words on a 1.5 inch screen will drive you insane. Timex's smartwatch also lacks a microphone for voice controls to ease the pain of typing on-screen or perform tasks like Siri or Google Now.

If everything I mentioned above wasn't enough, the Ironman One GPS+ will only have enough juice to keep it running for 8 hours with GPS on and 3 days otherwise. Also, to top it all off, the watch costs $399.95. Of course, that is before the first year is up and you're stuck paying AT&T a monthly fee for a watch that's only good for telling time and uploading your runs to fitness websites and social media. Don't expect to get your money's worth on added functionality as Timex has no initial plans to support third party apps.

Also, According to USA Today:
Olsen dismisses the fact that many young people don't wear watches and says many do so once landing their first job. "People wear watches for different reasons, not necessarily to tell time. It could be a fashion element. It could be technology. It could be a status symbol depending on the price points."
I would've accepted Timex sticking to the "watch for runners" theme but calling this watch a "fashion element" or "status symbol" isn't exactly the impression you get from it. I already established the fact that technology on the Ironman One GPS+ is not enough, so what exactly will attract customers isn't clear.