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MWC 2015: The Runcible Is Neither A Smartphone Nor A Smartwatch: Can It Find Success?

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The smartwatch revolution has well and truly begun, with a number of great new devices having been revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year.

Watches, however, come in many different shapes and sizes. One type of timepiece that hasn't really been made "smart" yet is the pocket watch.

The Runcible is a small, pebble shaped "smart pocket watch" that includes a phone and a camera and comes in a small wooden case. It's one of the first smart pocket watches. But could it actually take off?

The device is not a smart watch replacement, however, and for good reason. If it was, it would be pretty useless. The user would still have to pull a device out of their pocket, and it would be just as inconvenient as a smartphone.

The Runcible, however, isn't a smart watch replacement, it's a smartphone replacement. The idea is that today's smartphones demand attention and are distracting, while the Runcible, in its normal state, is simply a clock.

The first thing to notice about the device is the fact that it's circular rather than rectangular. In many ways, it's the "anti-smartphone." However, on the inside, it has many of the same components of a smartphone. It has a Qualcomm processor and is based on the Firefox OS. It also doesn't have any buttons or even speakers.

Because of the lack of speakers, the Runcible plays down the smartphone part. Users, in order to hear the person they're speaking with, have to pair the device with a Bluetooth headset or speakers.

Because of this, the Runcible is doomed to fail. While the Runcible aims to remove the distraction of the modern smartphone, it adds an extra layer of inconvenience that, in a way, negates the distraction-removing features of the device.

Not only is the device inconvenient, but it's also ugly. While it attempts to portray a sense of class through the use of a wood backing, it ends up looking a little cheap and outdated.

Users want convenience in a device, and the Runcible does not offer it. While the attempt at creating a device that does not detract from the real world is commendable, it's not an idea that users necessarily care about.

The idea of a wearable device becoming the driver for a user is certainly an interesting one, and one that is likely to come up more and more as technology continues to advance, allowing for mobile connectivity in a wearable, such as in the LG Watch Urbane LTE. Despite this, technology has a long way to go before this kind of an idea will be convenient. The best way to go still is a smartphone and, if necessary, a smartwatch that connects to that smartphone.

Photo: Monohm

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