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HP Announces a Watch That Unifies WebOS Devices 84

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-it-doesn't-tell-time dept.
Norsefire writes "After teasing it last year, HP's Phil McKinney has announced the 'Metal Watch', the device that will act as the aggregation point of your HP/WebOS devices. McKinney claims that it will unify your Pre, Touchpad, Notebook, Desktop, and, bizarrely, your printer."

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HP Announces a Watch That Unifies WebOS Devices

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  • Is this a joke? He holds up a watch that looks about 20 years old. I guess that's how out of touch this guy is. I thought it was funny that this was in fact a "Fossil" watch.

    Besides, people don't want to be reminded that they've been suckered into buying so many gadgets that don't work together and that their laptop didn't replace their desktop and their phone didn't replace their laptop and that their tablet didn't replace their need for a phone, laptop or desktop. They still have them all. A company lik

    • by Fishead (658061) on Friday March 04, 2011 @10:27AM (#35379590)

      The cellphone did a good job of replacing the watch though.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's what I was thinking. Who has a watch, other than those who want to wear a piece of jewelry?

        They should have made the mobile phone the hub. That's what I always have with me.

        • by OakDragon (885217)
          I'm waiting for the ring... the one ring to rule them all.
        • by blair1q (305137) on Friday March 04, 2011 @12:39PM (#35381360) Journal

          I just fixed all of my watches (I have 9, it turns out) because I'm tired of pulling my phone out of my pocket, pulling it out of its slipcase, and turning it on, then turning it off, putting it back in its slipcase, and putting it back in my pocket, just to know what time it is.

          With a wristwatch it's a glance, maybe a twist of my arm and a glance, and I hardly realize I've done it most times, I just know what time it is.

          And, yes, a watch is as much a piece of jewelry as any other accessory. But almost all cellphones are marketed and selected based on their blingy aspects, so there's no differentiation between them and watches, there.

          • by snotclot (836055)
            You don't put your watch in a slip case, do you? Just give up your urge to protect, give in to your urge to just "use freely", and at most put a screen protector on your phone (like i do). No need to protect your phone so much.
            • by guruevi (827432)
              I use a pocket watch thank you very much, my watch comes ATTACHED to it's slip case.
          • by nobodie (1555367)

            I'm too lazy to fuss with a watch, i look at the sun and guess. Usually I'm within ten minutes, which is good enough.

        • by anegg (1390659)
          I don't like to wear jewelry, but I do wear a watch when I want to keep close track of the time (which is not all of the time). I find it much less intrusive to wear something small strapped to my wrist than to carry always around an electronic device that needs to be constantly charged, protected against damage, and which allows people (including the government) to track my location at every minute and to interrupt me when I'm thinking (even if I don't answer it).
    • by jdpars (1480913)
      If you ditch the PDA, most of that does work together. Of course, if you still have a PDA you're a bit out of touch in today's world.
      • by jdpars (1480913)
        My bad, the Pre is a phone, not a PDA. Still, ditch that and replace it with an Android, Windows Phone 7, or iPhone and you're golden.
    • back in the 1990s Sun was pushing the idea of a signet ring that would carry all your data and credentials, powered by a java interface. It finally came to realization in 1998.

      http://www.javaworld.com/jw-04-1998/jw-04-ringfever.html [javaworld.com]

      At the time I thought it was a splendid idea. The concept was to have public kiosks that would intermediate between the ring and your mainframe to do what ever you wanted to do. Or the ring could authenticate you to some point of sale, or carry your medical records. etc...

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Besides, people don't want to be reminded that they've been suckered into buying so many gadgets that don't work together and that their laptop didn't replace their desktop and their phone didn't replace their laptop and that their tablet didn't replace their need for a phone, laptop or desktop. They still have them all. A company like HP can't hope to do what I think they are hoping to do and make them work together. They would end up not supporting "everything". Maybe a smaller company could

      Uh, you do rea

  • How is it unusual that an HP device can connect to your printer? What kind of bizarro universe do you live in where this doesn't happen normally?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      How is it unusual that an HP device can connect to your printer? What kind of bizarro universe do you live in where this doesn't happen normally?

      Do you 'normally' connect to your printer with your watch??

      Sure, it's an HP device. But, I find connecting to a printer with a watch to be somewhat on the bizarre end of things. At the very least, uncommon.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Of course, it will only work with a Horrible Printer (HP)

  • What could be better than a watch that will stop working if you don't charge it every day or so?

  • Seriously, all I see is a blurb and a half-frigging-hour Youtube video that someone probably filmed on their iPhone.
  • I thought the Pre was totally dead???
  • ... will it allow you to call Dick Tracy?
  • Finally all (zero) of my webOS devices can work together in harmony.

  • My printer knows where my hand has been? That's just asking for trouble.
  • by doconnor (134648) on Friday March 04, 2011 @10:35AM (#35379696) Homepage

    There was a watch that was a full PalmOS device. You can still find them on eBay [shop.ebay.ca] and they are probably still the most versatile watch computer ever sold. It was Fossil brand, too.

    With technology improvements it should be possible in a year or two to have a full Palm Pixi equivalent in a watch.

    I have a website [homeip.net] that tell you when your bus or streetcar is going to arrive and I often think it would be very useful if there was some way to have that information on my watch.

    Something similar to webOS dashboard controls [palm.com] that get exported to your watch would be one approach.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Let me know when I can run Android on my watch. I guess I'm going to want a dual-mode or at least OLED display so that it doesn't murder my battery when it's just being a watch. Anything less and it's not worth wearing a hair remover on my wrist :(

      Sometimes having body hair on the wookie spectrum is a serious liability...

      • by blair1q (305137)

        If someone ever does make an Android watch, they're going to have trademark problems [google.com].

        But if anyone does it, it will probably be Fossil [androidcommunity.com].

      • Here [sonyericsson.com] is one that doesn't run Android, but which does pairs with Android phones via Bluetooth and integrates with apps running on them (API available for use to third-party apps, apparently). OLED screen as well.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I did see that while browsing smart watches, and that's pretty cool, but if I can't use it to see the primary display then I'm limited to supporting applications, etc etc blah blah blah.

          • I thought about it, but they kinda have a point there- if your main phone has a 480x800 screen, it would be pretty hard to squeeze that into a small 150x150 rectangle such that it's still usable.

            It would be nice if there was some more generic way for them to handle at least notifications, though (i.e. any Android app using stock OS notification API would have its notifications mirrored on the phone).

    • by rsborg (111459)

      I bought one for $50 on a lark. Figured it was worth at least a couple of laughs. What a waste... the thing was close to unusable, had horrendous battery life and wasn't comfortable to wear. It didn't sync well to my existing Palm profile, so my contacts were not there.

      I unloaded it on craigslist in one of my "free - grab it" postings where you just dump usable stuff that nobody will otherwise take. Proves to me that "versatile" often means "doing many things poorly". Product focus is important. I'm h

    • by philpalm (952191)
      The palm watch by Fossil still needs recharging everyday. Good luck in finding the replacement battery and the ability to Hotsync using a Vista or Windows 7 computer.......
  • Not bizarre. It's HP, after all. HP want to unify your printer with everything. "Just ordered some Internet Ham on my Palm, and I'm printing it out of my HP all-in one over Bluetooth. I could scan it back in and fax it to someone else, but that would be Ham Piracy."
  • MS Bob and Apple Newton come to mind.

  • by aapold (753705) on Friday March 04, 2011 @10:36AM (#35379718) Homepage Journal
    even after watching this I have no idea what this does or why I would want one.
    • Me either. It collects information, but what information and how? Why is it needed to integrate various products together? The HP TouchPad and new WebOS phones are already designed to share data with eachother via bluetooth and the touch-to-share. It seems pointless and this guy frankly seems out of touch.
  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Friday March 04, 2011 @10:45AM (#35379788) Homepage

    I think (since the only source is the video) that it's called a 'meta watch', not 'metal watch', i.e. a watch made of watches. Yo Dawg, etc.

  • and, bizarrely, your printer.

    Why is this considered bizarre? It's HP. They sell printers, in case you hadn't heard. Just because the printers don't run WebOS doesn't mean that it's a bizarre decision to integrate them. Not all iPods run iOS, yet they all sync with iTunes. It's sound business.

  • Syncing data between devices is something the cloud would really be useful for. You could write a document in a word processor and have that document automatically available to all the devices that use the same Cloud account. That would allow you to start a document on your phone, then finish it when you get to your computer without manually syncing anything.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Without voice control, those 3 tiny dials on the watch are pretty limited.

    I'd like:
    - turn by turn directions over a bluetooth headset - real GPS
    - easy cell phone use with voice commands. "call mom at home"
    - a todo list manager - voice controlled with context - shopping, work, home, ...
    - Music playback
    - 12 hr battery life; user swappable batteries for those long overseas flights.
    - Clock with 100 alarms that actually understand timezones and DST changes. voice controlled
    - Contacts - voice controlled
    - lo res c

  • The open source community should create an open wireless router that fits in a watch...That would be SOOOO Nice.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)
      Why? For the most part the watch has been replaced for many people by their phones. Andriod phones also happen to have a Mobile AccessPoint feature which does just that.
  • But I'd rather have an HP 01 [hpmuseum.org]. In a class by itself.
  • how far are they willing to take their webos push?

    their hints of laptop and desktop seems to flip flop between being a full boot, some kind of app framework or a quick boot setup.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do you have to hold it up to the monitor while the screen flashes?

  • ...Both of them.
  • The rest is marketing/investor bullshit. Actually the rest seems to be that way too. Nvm.
  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <`voyager529' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Friday March 04, 2011 @12:01PM (#35380874)

    I watched most of the video, though admittedly I did scrub a bit around the 12 minute mark. Here's what I took from it in no particular order...

    -The presenter shows an old school Linksys router as an example of complicated networking. Interesting choice, since I remember those things being literally plug and play, without so much as a driver install required. Admittedly it wasn't SECURE out of the box, but they did work. By contrast, the new Valet routers and other things designed to make wireless networking simpler appear to make it even more complicated by requiring a software installation and making the browser interface even more annoying to parse. Call me biased by my muscle memory, but the concept of "make it as simple as possible, but no simpler" seems to have been lost on this gentleman. IMO I think the better example of this would have been Windows Home Server, which was a great idea that was simply leaned far too much closer to 'server' than 'home for most people...but the most widely available ones were HP Mediasmart Servers, so showing them off would have been a better idea technologically, but not from the presenter's POV.

    -I, for one, think that having Fossil make the watch and it having a more traditional look is a GOOD thing. In 2011, the only reason why people wear wristwatches anymore are as fashion accessories. Telling time is done by the 1,001 other devices that have clocks on them, e.g. every other device in the product photo. I also think that this is a better choice than the phone because if they can get the battery life to be where it needs to be, you're much more likely to have a charged watch than a charged phone, and the phone doesn't have to have its processor backgrounding all the sync work that would be the death wish for actually making calls, especially since there seemed to be an ever-so-subtle nod that the phone will be responsible for providing internet connectivity to the rest of the PAN. If you're running a vertical HP stack, it makes sense to make the watch target the board room instead of the server room. The gen pop at Slashdot has no issue beating devices into synchronization if we care enough to do it. Getting board room execs to start fawning over HP kit instead of Apple kit is ultimately what they appear to be after, but I'll touch on Apple envy in a bit.

    -The presenter discusses the issue of syncing all your devices together and that the Metal Watch is the point of contact for them. This sounds good in the tone of the overall broad vision he's casting, but the nuts and bolts get complicated VERY quickly. Metal Watch might run a complete software stack, but you can't make it as simple as he claims. How do you assign a watch to its owner? Browser config? great! How do you assign devices to the watch? More browser config? a bit chicken-and-egg there, but it's either that or the just-as-fun process of doing a Bluetooth sync between devices. If the watch is the key to the whole thing, how do you protect it, since it will likely be a prime target for theft if it can re-sync everything to new devices? If it's not, then what's the point? If a watch is damaged, how does one migrate all the aggregate data from each of the devices to the new watch? More browser config? Does the watch literally sync everything it can find? Either HP Labs have figured out how to put Deep Thought onto a wrist, or at some point, the user must tell the watch what to do. He talks about computers making smarter decisions, and I think they will ultimately be able to do so, but I for one am NOT a fan of relinquishing control to a computer just yet.

    -As was brought up before, how does one charge the watch? What if it dies mid-day? I'd think that at least one quick solution would be to have an 'emergency juice cable' that can charge any device from any other device - powering the watch from a laptop or using the tablet as a jumper cable to make an emergency call from a dead phone would be an excellent feature to have, but it must be considered since there's no way that a watch battery is

  • Great now I'll be able to sync all my WebOS devices!!! Except I don't own any WebOS devices and neither does anyone else I know. Great plan but missed it by this || much.
  • by blair1q (305137)

    Remember when every new HP product, bar none, was excruciatingly cool?

    This one makes my sphincter clench.

    • Remember when every new HP product, bar none, was excruciatingly cool?
      This one makes my sphincter clench.

      As far as I can tell, the shift from engineering to marketing happened when Fiorina took over HP...

  • ... But they are too heavy and thick for my tiny hands and wrists. I still prefer CASIO Databank watches (150 is the one I use now). :(

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