Rumors have been bouncing around the Web for months regarding a watch that works in conjunction with BlackBerry smartphones so users can view new-message notifications without removing their devices from pockets or purses.
The first mention of the "BlackBerry Watch" came last May in a BoyGeniusReport.com (BGR) post in which writer Michael Bettiol detailed a recent conversation with Research In Motion's (RIM) VP of Advanced Accessories, Antoine Boucher.
(I too sat down with Boucher during the same week at the company's annual Wireless Enterprise Symposium(WES), and he had some interesting details to share about the company's brand new HS-500 Bluetooth headset.)
In the BGR post, Bettiol raised the idea of a Bluetooth BlackBerry watch to Boucher, and got a non-committal response that suggested such a product could potentially be in the works.
A few months later, the BlackBerry-watch-fervor was sparked anew when additional blogs picked on the story, but we haven't heard much on the subject since August.
Today, Kevin Michaluk of CrackBerry.com posted what he claims is definitive proof that the BlackBerry watch, thought to be named the inPulse SmartWatch, is not only in RIM's product pipeline, it's "getting announced soon."
I remember reading that original BGR post and snickering, thinking "Who the hell would want a watch to display your BlackBerry message-notifications?? That's just goofy."
But if today's CrackBerry report proves true--and the site has an impressive track recording of breaking similar scoops--RIM apparently sees the market for a BlackBerry watch differently than I do.
CrackBerry.com polled its readers in August to gauge interest in a BlackBerry watch, with 37 percent of the poll's roughly 16,000 respondents saying "Maybe, I'd have to see it first."
Thirty-six percent of respondents said they would use a BlackBerry watch and the remaining 27 percent said they had no interest such a product.
Personally, my mind hasn't changed; I have no interest in a BlackBerry watch beyond seeing how it actually works. Nor can I see many of RIM's traditional business-customers being particularly intrigued, so I can only imagine the product would be aimed at consumers.
So far, the only thing we really know about the "InPulse SmartWatch" for BlackBerry is that it displays message notifications, new chat alerts, RSS feed highlights, etc.
As pointed out on CrackBerry.com, future APIs for developers could allow for third-party application notifications to be displayed on the watch, as well. And such a product would presumably connect to your BlackBerry using Bluetooth.
Michaluk also says the inPulse SmartWatch will be made by "a new BlackBerry-dedicated accessories company," which suggests we might see multiple styles of BlackBerry watch and not just the one pictured above.
I don't wear a watch regularly, and I cannot see changing that fact just for a watch that tells me I have new messages on my smartphone and who they're from--my BlackBerry rarely leaves my grasp anyhow.
Even if I did wear a watch, I don't think I'd get rid of my existing rig for a BlackBerry one, unless of course it offered some truly unique and/or valuable functionality.
It would also have to be stylish, and judging from these first pics...well, it's not exactly a stunning.
So unless RIM packs some amazing, new and as-of-yet unforeseen features into this badboy, I see this product going nowhere real fast-like.
(Can you say, Palm Foleo??)
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