When I first heard about Bluetooth in 1999, I thought it was going to change the world. The whole concept of Personal Area Networking made total sense to me, and I was already envisioning a world where various devices about my person could all communicate. I wrote a short essay of what I thought would come to pass in a year or two, but this was before blogs, so I actually hand-wrote it in a notebook.
The thesis was there would be a main “computing unit” that I would keep in my carry bag or possibly (if small enough) in my pocket – this would also include lots of storage. There would also be a “communications unit” that might be the in the same form factor, or might be much more pocketable, like my phone. I would then have peripherals as needed to access the computation, storage, and communications capabilities. The main peripherals I defined were a headset, a watch, an eyeglass display, and a folding keyboard, all communicating by Bluetooth.
The eyeglass display was inspired by a PC Magazine article from years before that showed a prototype that would give a full screen display using a technology like Icuiti‘s, and it was “just around the corner” for years. The folding keyboard is fairly obvious, and I actually own one now, although I don’t use it much. The headset has now become ubiquitous, and I see people wearing them at entirely inappropriate times, but that’s a topic for another post. The only one I haven’t seen until today is the watch.
Why a watch, you ask? Well, I wanted to have the exact same opportunity to choose to pay attention to a phone call as I do to choose to pay attention to someone coming in to my presence. This meant that I needed a very discreet and immediate way to recognize that person and make an unconscious decision, the same way I can acknowledge or ignore someone who approaches me when I am busy. Checking my watch discreetly seemed like an obvious way to do it.
Finally, today, I saw that Citizen is introducing a Bluetooth Watch. It is ugly as sin, and I would never wear it, but if there were one that looked professional, I think a lot of people would find it useful.