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These smartwatches are slowly getting more fashionable and attractive, but still look awkward.  The primary design problem is that you are trying to put a tablet on your wrist, so you need a large screen to view and touch, but a large screen on your wrist is ugly and awkward.  Bracers (an arm sheath) might be one solution, but that seems pretty ugly too.  Perhaps gesture recognition (detecting hand/arm/tendon movements)?  But that would be goofy, either looking like you're having an arm seizure (for tendon movement detection) or like you are casting spells (for arm/hand gestures) when you try to control your watch, and you would have a hard time looking at the screen at the same time too.

It might just be that too many advances in I/O (like all of virtual displays, voice detection, and gesture recognition) are needed to be able to build a small, useful, attractive, and smart device that fits on your wrist.  We'll see, but I'm not hopeful on smartwatches working out any time soon.
Like a Rolex that knows your package is waiting, new model marries form and function.
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Ade Oshineye's profile photoNick Lothian's profile photoEd Chi's profile photo
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Ed Chi
 
Fashion is a socially-constructed phenomenon.  All it takes is one imaginative design with some cleaver marketing to change the perception is what is reasonable and good looking.  Google Glass is trying to do exactly that.
 
I think the very idea of "putting a tablet on your wrist" is where all of these 'smartwatches' go wrong. You end up with a bad UI,  poor battery life and a UX that's worse than the phone in your pocket. 

The staff on some of the train lines in London have devices that look like the arm-sheath you've described and the devices really do look terrible. However they're very convenient.

One day I hope someone will make a smartwatch that isn't an attempt to put a tablet on your wrist but an attempt to solve a real problem for a significant number of people.
 
It seems to me that the strap of a watch is underutilised UI space
Ed Chi
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+Nick Lothian several research papers in the last several CHI research proceedings on exactly that idea. 
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