Monday, May 11, 2015

Fitbit Got It Right

I hate to admit it, considering I own the patent to the first circular buttonless smart watch case (D713269), but Fitbit got it right.

The future of wrist wearables is here and it has the following traits: long battery life, valid utility, and connection to a broader ecosystem.

The Apple Watch's short battery life and lack of modularity are "killer apps"--in the sense that these "applications" are going to kill the utility of the device. This isn't to say they won't come out with a better 2.0 version (they will), but for now the ball is in Fitbit's court.


Long battery life is essential, regardless of recharging ability wearers don't want to be tethered to the power grid every day.

Fitbit's valid utility and connection to a broader ecosystem are almost one-in-the-same, as well they should be; a healthy approach that monitors and improves the wearer's health by focusing on exercise, diet, sleep. Perfection.

And it also tells time. Marvelous.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gold Nugget Hourglass

The Ultimate Smart Watch!

Cocobolo Wood  ~  Hand Blown Glass  ~  Gold Nuggets

Gold Nugget Hourglass

Gold Nugget Hourglass

Gold Nugget Hourglass

Gold Nugget Hourglass

Gold Nugget Hourglass

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Apple Watch

~1.5782 Troy Ounces of Gold for …$15,000? Nice 800% Mark-up!

Apple might even have Rolex beat with their mark-up of gold; the 42 mm yellow gold case (18K) contains approximately 1.5782 Troy Ounces of gold (worth $1885 at today's spot price.)

Rough numbers, that is an 800% mark-up. Wow.

Monday, April 6, 2015

From the Archives…December 2012

Well loyal readers, this is what was proposed several years ago. A modular smart watch integrated into a robust ecosystem. Much of the above has now reached fruition with the Apple Watch launch scheduled for 4/24/15. Mobile Pay? Check. Games? Check. GPS? Check. VoiceBurst? Not yet. Modularity? Not yet. Circular Touchscreen? Not yet.

We're getting there…but the initial Apple Watch launch will undoubtedly be a wild success…they have the finical resources and user base pre-installed. The question remains of how they plan on repairing these watches, especially for active use individuals who plan on using these watches on the tough streets of NYC, SFO, and at the swimming pool or hiking?

The other MAJOR concern is the battery life (or lack thereof) which needs to be significantly improved. With multi-billion dollars at their disposal this should have been addressed already.

Stay tuned, the disruption of the watch industry is upon us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Apple Watch…And So It Begins

Barring its limited battery life, square design, and lack of modularity I LOVE THE APPLE WATCH! What??? But Tom, don't you champion long-lasting (i.e. infinite) battery life, a circular design, and modularity? YES!!! But….Apple Watch is a good start and basically is the first true "smart watch" in terms of its utility.

First, the cons:

1) An 18 hour batter life is lame; a watch should NEVER run out of power (or if it does a user should easily be able to hold to the sun, wind, or shake to recharge.) 

2) A square design is square. Circular, a al Sensorstream Pi, is more visually appealing and also provides for both a better ergonomic fit and larger relative display area.

3) Lack of modularity. This is a big one. So basically Apple has so constricted the consumer that yet another cottage industry of Apple Watch repair is going to spring up. A watch isn't a phone; consumers want customized, personalized, interchangeable, unique, and repairable wearable systems.

The good:

1) Initial functionality looks great; lots of apps for watch face, health, fitness, etc.

2) Material selection; home run on having a variety of price points from entry level all the way up to 18K gold. The international market is going to eat up those gold watches like nobody's business. Societal stratification? Yes, but having a gold case is a core enabling factor in portable wealth (see previous blog posts about the importance to emerging countries of having a gold watch case.)

3) Marketing; fantastic approach launch presenting functionality in the classic sublime Apple-ality. No doubt the Microsoft "RistWatch" is currently under development.

4) Apple Pay; True mobile pay like consumers have always wanted. Tap-and-go. Perfect! And to think, Mastercard, Visa, and Amex PAY Apple to use THEIR financial networks!!! Hahaha, what a coup!

5) Ecosystem; Arguably direct linkage to the best digital ecosystem rather than just a piggyback approach.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Of the three disruptive innovations this blog champions, and what the Sensorstream Pi Smart Watch has been working on for years, is ability to tap-and-pay from a wrist watch.  That's precisely why we first invented the analog NFC-enabled watch face dial.

Anyone familiar with NFC technology is well aware that this has been a commercially viable option for years, perhaps even over a decade, as Hong Kong residents have been using NFC from a special watch to pay for subway rides for quite some time.

Why the delay in getting this to the USA? The duopolies of Mastercard and Visa (and a lesser, but growing extent, American Express, Discover, and PayPal) have been slow on the uptake.

Oddly enough, it took Apple to force them to come to the table--by actually having to pay Apple for the privilege of using Apple Pay no less--to spur growth in their very core function; digital (electronic) payments! Surely the irony of this situation cannot be lost on everyone.

Now would be a good time for mobile payment provider Square to "pivot" (Silicon Valley parlance for changing your business model in the face of imminent extinction) to a pure-play wearable payment provider lest they become another victim of Apple Pay.

The time is ripe and the transition should be completely possible given their existing financing in place, why not become the pure-play wearable payment provider? There's no better time nor opportunity in the payment space than teaming up with one of the major Swiss watch manufacturers and "pushing down" the technology from high-end to middlewear consumer watches. The solution initially could be as simple as a custom NFC chip in the face of the watch.

Square, give NXP Semiconducters a call (31 40 272 9233). Ask to speak with Hans Rijns and develop a custom chip that can be used in ANY existing analog watch for wearable mobile pay. It's not too late.

You heard it here first.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Apple's First Victim, Pebble

Let's give credit where credit is due, Pebble essentially beat both Apple and Samsung to the smart watch market, but it isn't really going to matter shortly as the Apple Watch rolls out. Samsung's presence in the sphere has been lackluster at best, but Samsung has the financial heft to survive, and possibly clone the Apple design features. Pebble, however, is in a tough spot and I believe they are going to be the first brand casualty unless they embrace modularity in their future designs and also strive to incorporate either wireless or solar charging. Mobile pay is a given. 

Some thoughts if you're a small (relative to Apple or Samsung, we're all small) smart watch company:

1) If you don't have an ecosystem to plug into you have a problem.
2) Social Networking, Mobile Pay, and Wireless Charging are the future; can your watch do those?
3) Think Modular; interchangeable components give consumers a choice, give manufacturers a choice, and will ultimately provide a multitude of unique looks, functions, and solutions.

High-end mechanical watches should weather the coming storm; they actually have the opportunity to EXPAND into the smart watch revolution, but most are asleep at the wheel.

Apple's next victim? Probably Swatch.