The tech world is buzzing with news of the new Pebble watch, which is using e-paper technology to make not just a watch, but a whole new device. You can easily customize and program the Pebble watch with the use of an iPhone or Android app to send you alerts, use for activities like running and bicycling, and even link to your phone for caller ID and SMS alerts. It goes beyond just making a better watch—Pebble could actually usher in a new era of devices that keep us connected even better than our smartphones and tablets can.
By now, we’re all familiar with e-readers that make use of e-paper and e-ink technology to create a reading experience that’s nearly identical to paper, but has the added benefits of network capabilities and Internet access. While the tablet revolution has brought us some amazing developments in the business world, and we are seeing a spike in BYOD, what if we could do away with that heavy tablet forever? As amazing as the iPad is, the newest version actually became heavier, and the price isn’t exactly pocket change.What other real world applications are out there for e-ink displays and e-paper? How can e-paper benefit the business software world? Will it replace tablets and become the next big thing?
One of the reasons that e-paper is so appealing is the fact that it’s not only lighter than a tablet, but also conserves more energy. A smaller battery means a lighter device, which is why it works so well with Pebble. Not only is the Pebble watch nice and small, but it’s also light and easy to carry with you.
Of course, e-paper doesn’t entirely deliver on the promises of tomorrow yet, but there have been some significant strides forward in recent months. In an article from Dell’s Tech Page One, Charles Q. Choi talks about some of the breakthroughs in e-paper development that could bring it to the market in only a few years:
Now, scientists have devised a new kind of e-Paper that demonstrates more than 90 percent reflectivity, exceeding the 76 percent of magazine-quality paper. In addition, the device can switch the images it displays every 15 milliseconds, compatible with video rates of speed. It combines the best elements of tablets and e-Paper.
With improvements like this, we’ll soon start to see more than just your everyday e-reader, but roll-able and fold-able displays that make it easier than ever to take our electronics on the go. Additionally, e-paper will be a lot less expensive and much easier to manufacture than tablets, and what business isn’t looking for ways to cut down on its hardware costs? In Pebble’s case, it makes for a watch that’s relatively inexpensive, but can do so much more.
As previously mentioned, the Pebble watch has a great deal more abilities than just telling the time. You can customize it with a variety of different apps that will change the face depending on what you want to do, such as keeping track of your miles while running or controlling your music.
They’ve already thought about how the average consumer can use the Pebble watch in their everyday lives, but what about the average businessman? Since you can receive email and text alerts on your Pebble watch, you don’t have to worry about having your phone on you at all times. Not only that, but Pebble has made detailed SDK specs available, so software companies could even create their own apps for the Pebble watch to compliment their platforms. Imagine if you could get an alert from your CRM that a deal you’ve been waiting on went through, or a message from your ERP system that certain inventory is low.
At the moment, e-paper doesn’t have quite the resolution needed in order for it to replace consumer tablets; and they generally only display black-and-white text and images, which is definitely not going to replace the average person’s iPad any time soon. However, I think that devices like the Pebble watch are only the beginning in changing the way that we use our mobile devices, and it could certainly change the game where business software solutions are concerned.
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