Digital MetaWatch – Awesome Companion To Augmented Traffic Views (or any Android phone)

I don’t typically write about all of the many various gadgets/items I use but this (MetaWatch) is one product that I believe is currently leading in a space that will explode over the next few years.

I have been using the Digital Metawatch for a few months now with various Android devices and simply put it is fantastic (even though it is only sold as a “developer’s” watch currently). I believe they have nailed how a smart watch should complement a smart phone. I also have the Sony LiveView and the WIMM watches. The LiveView is not ready for prime-time and the WIMM watch is truly a developer’s sample right now.

There are some truly innovative developers currently enhancing the usefulness of the MetaWatch (e.g., @benjymous).

I have found the MetaWatch quite useful in many situations such as:

  • Automatic (geo-located) weather info no matter where I am travelling – I was initially worried about using this feature due to battery life concerns but I have seen no impact since activating it
  • Discrete email notifications in meetings/scenarios when using (or even glancing at) one’s smart phone would not be advised :)
  • Caller ID (with picture) on incoming phone calls
  • Ability to pause/skip ahead music while driving and the foreground Android app is a driving related app, especially where there are hands-free laws in effect
  • Android Battery life indicator
  • Time of next meeting
I believe the MetaWatch model is the right one as they get the “at a glance” concept and the “companion to a smart-phone” for use cases where using a smart-phone is socially/physically awkward or even illegal :). Battery life is measured in days (not hours like the WIMM) and it simply just works. The USB charging clip is a bit inconvienent though.

The latest version of Augmented Traffic Views will automatically vibrate my MetaWatch if I exceed a user-configured threshold or a Red Light Camera is upcoming in my predicted direction of travel:

Moreover, the programming model is dead simple:

try {

Intent intent = new Intent();
intent.setAction(Intent1.intentSettingsMetaWatch);
Bundle extras = new Bundle();
extras.putIntArray(“array”, bitmapFromDrawable());
extras.putInt(“vibrate_on”, 1000);
extras.putInt(“vibrate_off”, 500);
extras.putInt(“vibrate_cycles”, 4);
intent.putExtras(extras);
sendBroadcast(intent);

} catch (ActivityNotFoundException e) {

}

I am not associated with MetaWatch in any manner, but I would assume they are evolving their product roadmap. Here is what I would consider for future versions (which may simply be more software related):

  • Integrated health monitoring – heart rate / calorie burn (I currently use a Fitbit, Withings Wifi Scale  and Wahoo Heart rate monitor connected to my iphone 4S). Aggregating the latest data from all of these devices would be quite useful. This is more of a 3rd party API thing than MetaWatch, but hardware support in the next generation watch for heart-rate monitoring would be interesting.
  • NFC support – not just for payment use cases, but to automatically trigger context-aware actions/tasks on other devices – sort of like a dynamic NFC tag.
  • Physical Style – The I’mWatch is a interesting visual “concept” :)

More on MetaWatch.

Adrian

PS: I was quite impressed that the price from TI including overnight shipping to Canada as with other online entities I have paid up to $60US just for shipping costs alone!

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3 thoughts on “Digital MetaWatch – Awesome Companion To Augmented Traffic Views (or any Android phone)

  1. Cool – I was actually thinking about similar stuff myself – by version of MWM contains an (undocumented) extra intent that lets you vibrate the watch without displaying a notification, which could be useful for lots of driving related things – It’d certainly cool to have it vibrate when you’re going over a certain speed, or if you drift out of your lane. (And is probably better than a notification as it’s less likely to tempt the user to look at their watch and take their eyes off the road!)

    org.metawatch.manager.VIBRATE is the intent, and it uses the same vibrate_* param names as the NOTIFICATION intent

    • Thank’s for the info on the intent. It will be useful as showing something on the phone when driving is not really that interesting (other than filming videos of use cases, which still needs to be done:))

      BTW – I am truly impressed by your speed of innovation and execution, your ideas and the quality of your app. MetaWatch should hire you or at least give you a few free watches!

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