The “projection” style type of smartphones or smartwatches has been circulated on the Internet for years. None of those self-claimed leading players made any real progress in terms of penetrating the mainstream market. To be fair, it’s cool and could be very useful. In addition, everything we saw on the sci-fi movies when we were kids are getting invented and brought up onto the market for real. This time, on this specific product, should be the same, isn’t it? Well, it’s highly unlikely going to happen. The innovation revolution will skip this phase and the AR (augmented reality) will take over from there. There are 3 reasons why the projection style smartphones or smartwatches won’t live.
The Inferior Projection Resolution
First and foremost, the projection resolution which everyone seems to focus on isn’t going to meet consumers’ expectation. As of today, we can confidently claim that smartphones are deeply integrated into consumers’ daily lives and they are inseparable (from us). Meaning that we already let our phones handling a huge amount of tasks for us every day. If we cannot use our phone for one day, our world will be crumpling down. It’s like the Internet. Think about it that what if the entire Internet suddenly being shut down for one day? What’s the impact in the micro-level (meaning our daily lives)? If you want to discuss about the micro-level which is the impact to the world in general, we can do that. However, it’s just unthinkable and unimaginable. Also, no person who is sane will want that to happen.
This leads to the screen resolution on the projection style smartphones or smartwatches. We are used to the clarity of our smartphones display. Everything we see and we interact with are so nicely being laid out in front of our eyes. We enjoy the contents we consume right on our phones. We love the entertainment parts that our phones deliver to us. Therefore, there is no way that consumers will want to take a step back on this part. To suffer from the inferior screen resolution exchanging for a slightly (if that’s the case) convenience they might be able to have. Just take a look at the video as follows, the only real product demonstration is lumiwatch project. Others are just redering image videos. The clarity of the images on the projections are just way too bad compared with what we have in our pocket.
The Awkwardness of Projecting Graphic/Contents on Our Arms
It seems logical to just having the projections on the arm. However, it’s really not a nice place to put on. It’s awkward and not having real advantage in terms of the convenience compared with using our smartphone or smartwatch directly. Just image you have a projection style smartwatch on your wrist and try to reply an email. Then do the same with your smartphone. Which one will you prefer to use? We don’t know about your answer but, for us, 100 out of 100 times, we would choose using our phones. It’s easier and requiring less effort to get jobs done.
Furthermore, the matter of the fact is that it most likely will still require a smartphone (nearby) to make it work. Hence, we will just pull our phones whenever we need to do our jobs or just simply entertain ourselves buy firing the Netflix app… hands down by using our phones directly.
The AR (Augmented Reality) is Catching Up
AR really is the future we expect to have towards to this type of innovation
Although there are still couple steps away, AR really is the future we expect to have towards to this type of innovation. These two innovations are on the same path. The projection style smartphones or smartwatches were supposed to be brought to the mainstream then the AR would ensue. However, due to the restrains on the projection screen resolution and real breakthroughs to make the projection style devices usable to be on the market, this step will probably being skipped.
Sure, we still need to put on ugly headset to make AR work as of today. However, with the technology advancing every single day, we can assume that it’s going to be like on the sci-fi movie that we can one day only gesture through the air and graphics, virtual objects, contents, and information will just appear and being able to be controlled only by your hands waving through the air sooner than we think.
Even today, if you ask us to choose between the projection style smartwatch or smartphone connected bracelet and an AR device which requires us to put on an ugly headset, we would pick the AR device. Why? It serves the purpose. It’s not like the half-cooked (not even really) projection style smartwatch that really don’t fit in any niches that we can think of.
The speed of the innovation in the mobile era is faster than any eras in the history of technology. Just couple of years ago, tech industry started talked and brought the Internet of Things to the market after less than a decade before the real mobile era began (the inception of the iPhone in 2007). Now, everything is connected. How do you prove that’s true? The smart home revolution. You control lots of things at your home while you are away. You can turn on/off lights, you can monitor who is at your front door via your phone, you can brew your coffee or prepare dinner before you even get back home, and the best of all is that we all can connect to each other no matter where we are in which corner of the world as long as we can connect to the Internet. We really live in a truly no boundary world. 10 or 15 years ago, living in a different cities from your families felt lonely and afar. Today, even living in different continents feels like we are all in the same place together; just in different rooms. Facetime and all those messaging apps with the video chatting capability make us feel that everyone who we love just lives the next door and just a couple of steps away.