Thursday, November 20, 2014

Asus ZenWatch

It has been a while since I've written about something other than scripture commentary. I came across a product that really excites me....

Geeks don’t have to necessarily be nerds. I know several people who, although they love technical toys (the main qualification for being a geek), they are not necessarily disheveled, socially awkward people (the typical definition of a nerd). In my lifetime, I’ve got to admit I have been called both a nerd and a geek. I finally learned social skills, so I don’t get called nerd anymore.

But it seems now-a-days, being a geek is actually a good thing. Others come up to you looking for advice about consumer electronics and software. Most recently, I’ve had a few ask me about smart watches. I’ve told them that those devices still seem to be in their infancy. I didn’t like the bulkiness of the watches, their function and software seemed awkward to navigate, and the displays left a lot to be desired.

But all that changed (for me) recently with Asus’ introduction of the ZenWatch. I’ve watched a number of videos on the product using Youtube. It is stylish enough that I can see it crossing the boundary of “for geeks only” into the much vaster audience of mainstream consumer products. That the watch is thin is mostly what appeals to me. It is just a tad thicker than my current watch, the Skagen Titanium Multifunction 809XLTBN. One reason I am thinking of leaving the Skagen behind is because the dials have gotten too small for my aging eyes to decipher. I wanted a day and date watch but I can no longer read those indicators. (Another reason is that when a month has less than 31 days, you manually have to correct the date. If you cross the IDL, then you have other things to adjust as well.)

The ZenWatch, on the other hand, seems very easy to read and has a number of optional clock faces to choose from. Since it is a digital electronic, the time, day, date, etc are all automatically adjusted. The added benefits of syncing to my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Note3) make the ZenWatch even more desirable. Admittedly, it runs Android Wear the same as other brands do and has other hardware features similar to the competition. I have no problem with using this software. It is still maturing but I can live with that. 

Why not choose a Samsung smartwatch seeing as I’m using a Samsung phone? Good question. The answer is that I don’t like any of their designs. All their watches are fat (thick). Then there is the whole thing about them threatening to use Tizen as their OS. (Thanks Samsung, but no thanks. I have a laptop on Windows, a phone on Android, and I don’t want yet another OS on another device.)

As of this writing, (Nov.20, 2014) I am only able to find the ZenWatch on Google Play and at Best Buy

(Before the 2014 watch releases, the industry reminded me of small children--cute, maybe a bit pudgy and socially awkward, but lovable because they're young. The ZenWatch and maybe one or two others remind me of teenage years--while losing the "baby fat" and gaining more experience, they are still not truly adults. In the coming years, I expect that smartwatches will enter their young adulthood (20-somethings to 30's) and, just like their analog ancestors, divide into two camps of round and square faces. With further miniaturization, I anticipate the casing can and will take any form the maker wants and not have to worry about the constraints of technology. For those that prefer slim, trim forms with robust innards (muscle machines), that will be possible. For those that prefer more ornate casings, they will be able to have that too.)

Update: 11/22/2014: I went to my local Best Buy, intent on purchasing the ZenWatch. They don't have any. The closest store (with a stock of just one) is 3 hours away. Asus really needs to get its act together. This is ridiculous. They knew their own release date probably well in advance of the announcement. Yet they have no appreciable stock of the item.

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