RIM is reportedly working on a BlackBerry Watch, possibly called the "inPulse SmartWatch," that lets you view new-message alerts on your wrist so you don't have to reach into a pocket or bag to remove and check a smartphone. But will BlackBerry users actually employ it?
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Rumors have been bouncing around the Web for months regarding a watch that works in conjunction with BlackBerry smartphones so users can view new-message notifications without removing their devices from pockets or purses.
Today, Kevin Michaluk of CrackBerry.com posted what he claims is definitive proof that the BlackBerry watch, thought to be named the inPulse SmartWatch, is not only in RIM’s product pipeline, it’s “getting announced soon.”
I remember reading that original BGR post and snickering, thinking “Who the hell would want a watch to display your BlackBerry message-notifications?? That’s just goofy.” But if today’s CrackBerry report proves true–and the site has an impressive track recording of breaking similar scoops–RIM apparently sees the market for a BlackBerry watch differently than I do.
CrackBerry.com polled its readers in August to gauge interest in a BlackBerry watch, with 37 percent of the poll’s roughly 16,000 respondents saying “Maybe, I’d have to see it first.” Thirty-six percent of respondents said they would use a BlackBerry watch and the remaining 27 percent said they had no interest such a product.
Personally, my mind hasn’t changed; I have no interest in a BlackBerry watch beyond seeing how it actually works. Nor can I see many of RIM’s traditional business-customers being particularly intrigued, so I can only imagine the product would be aimed at consumers.
So far, the only thing we really know about the “InPulse SmartWatch” for BlackBerry is that it displays message notifications, new chat alerts, RSS feed highlights, etc. As pointed out on CrackBerry.com, future APIs for developers could allow for third-party application notifications to be displayed on the watch, as well. And such a product would presumably connect to your BlackBerry using Bluetooth.
Michaluk also says the inPulse SmartWatch will be made by “a new BlackBerry-dedicated accessories company,” which suggests we might see multiple styles of BlackBerry watch and not just the one pictured above.
I don’t wear a watch regularly, and I cannot see changing that fact just for a watch that tells me I have new messages on my smartphone and who they’re from–my BlackBerry rarely leaves my grasp anyhow. Even if I did wear a watch, I don’t think I’d get rid of my existing rig for a BlackBerry one, unless of course it offered some truly unique and/or valuable functionality.
It would also have to be stylish, and judging from these first pics…well, it’s not exactly stunning.
So unless RIM packs some amazing, new and as-of-yet unforeseen features into this badboy, I see this product going nowhere real fast-like. (Can you say, Palm Foleo??)
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Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.