Dick Tracy Lives: Wrist Watches Become the New Frontier

Learning to adapt your content to various devices is one of the challenges of being a web editor. Mobile technology has brought new delivery options, and this will continue to expand into new frontiers as time goes forward. No doubt many foresaw the cell phone craze or even the tablet explosion. But wristwatches?
The wristwatch came into being in the mid-19th century, yet didn’t really become popular until after World War I. Chester Gould, the creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip, introduced the two-way wrist radio, and later TV, also creating great excitement in the children (and adults) who read the strip. Even though Gould introduced this item in the mid-1940s, it has not become a popular part of people’s daily lives in the years since its debut in the strip.
However, according to the New York Times, the wristwatch may be the next frontier in electronic devices. In the article, “Disruptions: The Next Wave for the Wristwatch,” this next generation of wristwatches will probably be used more for connecting to email or Twitter or Facebook by syncing with a cell phone or cell phone app.
The New York Times says it’s also possible to use the electronic wristwatch as a data collector – such as how much activity you are performing each day, and having that data transferred back to a larger device (phone, tablet) for data collecting purposes. But who’s to say that websites wouldn’t be the next bit of information to be served up on one of these devices? Possible? Certainly. Practical? Who knows? Perhaps streaming summarizations – the Twitter abstractization – of a web page’s most essential points – might be the way to go. Maybe the smart wristwatch would send the site’s link to one of your other devices for follow up later on a larger device, while giving you the salient points in the meantime.
How would that affect what web editors do? Would developers and designers be able to create a structure that would allow editors to present our content on a wristwatch in a meaningful way? Would the wristwatch be able to give us the satisfaction of full content – not just an abstract or a summary? Or would the miracle of website content on a wristwatch be destined to remain an abridged version of what is possible on a website?
The push-me-pull-you continues as devices continue to determine which direction in size we need to go. Smaller? Larger? Combining the functionality of a phone, TV and computer into the perfect mobile device. Who will win? Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Dick Tracy Lives: Wrist Watches Become the New Frontier

  1. Great topic! As technologists further rethink miniaturization and mobility, Web writers and editors will find new opportunities and realize new challenges in communicating with users on the go. My question is, how many devices does a typical user really need? Is he or she more likely as in the past to individualize the device for the activity (a watch, a phone, a calculator, for instance) or – more likely – continue to bring everything into one. Then the challenge becomes how to make all that data deliverable and consumable on increasingly smaller screens. Will glasses or other opticals be the answer?

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