Hype or Must-Have? The Samsung Galaxy Altius Smart Watch

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Since the debut of the cell phone, watches have become more jewelry than time keeper. Does news that Samsung is working on a smart watch mean it’s time to take another look at wrist-bound technology?

Rumors that Apple is working on an iWatch seemed worthy of an eye-roll (what won’t they slap that ‘i’ on?) but it’s recently become clear that they’re not the only ones working on a smart watch. According to Mashable and others, Samsung is working on a similar wearable technology called the Galaxy Altius. But is this truly a progressive device or just another way to make a buck off of early adopters?

Screenshots of the Samsung device were spied by SlashGear on a Korean message board. They seem to indicate a wrist-sized display with a simple Android interface. As SlashGear points out, the screenshots suggest that the device is connected to the Korean SK Telecom mobile carrier, meaning the Altius could include its own data connection. Other screens show that the watch would likely give wearers easy access to a music player, a clock and digital maps, making it much cooler than your Timex, but still less sophisticated than your phone.

As James Bond-ish as a smart watch sounds, let’s not get too caught up in the hype. After all, the device seems to have a rather limited memory, suggesting that it would work in concert with, not independent of, other Samsung gadgets. Although it’s fun to fantasize about what smart watch could do, we’re already surrounded with more e-waste than we know how to handle. It’d be nice to have all the functionality of your phone strapped onto your wrist, but adding a redundant device to the pile seems, well, irresponsible.

For now, the Samsung Galaxy Altius will remain the stuff of online rumors. But it’s an opportunity to take a step back and examine how eager we’ve become to embrace technology for technology’s sake–rather than practicality or convenience. The gadgets we create are powerful tools that can change the world for the better, but that doesn’t make them all revolutionary. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

Image: GalaxyAltius.org

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