September 03, 2013, 3:07 PM — Samsung this week is expected to announce its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, powered by Android and a dual-core processor. You might dismiss it as a plaything, but you'd be wrong. Smartwatches can be surprising productivity boosters. Here are five reasons you need one.
They're your phones' and tablets' control center
Don't think of a smartwatch as a standalone device. It's not. Think of it as command central for your smartphone, tablets, and ultimately your PC as well. Smartwatches are designed to connect to smartphones and tablets, and will let you connect to an control many of their productivity apps. For example, the Martian Victory smartwatch connects to Google Now and Siri. Google Now in particular is headed towards becoming and intelligent agent, not just a search tool, and you'll be able to control it and get information from it on your smartwatch. Expect more of that in the future.
They're great for quick alerts, emails, and social media updates
Do you suffer from nervous phone syndrome -- the need to take your phone out of your pocket every time it beeps or vibrates, to check out a message, alert, email, or update? That's not merely annoying to friends, family, and co-workers, but it's a tremendous time-waster and productivity killer. With a smartwatch, you only need a quick glance, which you can accomplish in a second or so.
They're ideal when you're stuck in a meeting
Meetings are an unfortunate, often time-wasting fact of life. While you're stuck in a small room listening to people drone on, your working life goes on without you. Pulling out a smartphone to check notifications and email is a significant faux pas. That's where a smartwatch comes in. You can easily glance at your watch without anyone noticing, and in that way keep up with what's really important.
They can end up the device equivalent of cloud-based IT management
Remember the days when IT staff carried around pagers so they could be alerted when emergencies arose? That's largely been replaced by mobile apps and the cloud. Eventually, that may migrate to smartwatches. And smartwatch IT apps will do more than just send alerts. One day they'll likely let you manage your infrastructure as well.
They'll enhance your personal life
Personal and work lives are so intertwined they can't be separated any longer. That means that enhancing your personal life means enhancing your work life. For example, if you're in excellent physical condition, you'll be sick less often, and be able to work harder, longer, and most likely smarter as well.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is expected to come with plenty of tools for those who care about their fitness, including a built-in heart rate monitor and apps for tracking your weight, calorie intake, and for devising the best workout for you. That shouldn't be a surprise, given Samsung's S Health app that comes pre-installed on its Galaxy S4 smartphone. So using smartwatch can make you a lot more productive at work, while enhancing your personal life.