Consumers most unsatisfied with poor voice control, bad speakers in current smart watches

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As Apple is thought to be nearing the release of its own so-called "iWatch," early smart watch adopters have grown frustrated with the current generation of wrist-worn devices, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Users most often cited errors with on-screen notifications, issues with the devices' batteries, frustrating voice control solutions, and poor speaker quality, question-and-answer website Fixya noted. The problems were collated from more than 6,000 troubleshooting requests for the Martian Passport, I'm Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony SW2, and Pebble.

Users view smart watches primarily as an extension of their smartphone rather than a standalone device, the report concludes. This leads to frustration when even simple operations — such as receiving notifications — fail, forcing users to pull out their pocket devices when they may prefer not to.

The devices' displays were found to be a major factor affecting their usefulness. The relatively small size often hampered the utility of on-screen notifications, for instance, while seemingly not helping to improve battery life by a noticeable amount.

The compact displays also deal a blow to interactivity, which some manufacturers have tried to supplement with other input methods including voice control. Those with voice control were panned for its poor quality, while others were dinged for its absence.


Apple's forthcoming iWatch is believed to ship with a flexible AMOLED display between 1.3 and 1.5 inches diagonally, which would be nearly identical to the size offered by current smart watches. The company would likely depend on the relative superiority of its Siri voice-controlled digital assistant to differentiate it from existing options.

Additionally, Apple is thought to be aiming for at least one day of battery life by using advanced battery technology and fine-tuning individual components. That is similar to the running time offered by Samsung's offering, for example, but well short of the nearly one week that the monochrome e-paper display-equipped Pebble achieves.

One area in which Apple's offering would differ significantly, however, might be its functionality. Many think that the device will feature a focus on biometrics and personal health tracking, particularly in light of the numerous biomedical sensor experts Apple has hired in recent months.

The iWatch is expected to ship this fall, with some analysts estimating that Apple might sell as many as 10 million units during the holiday season.


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