Google's Android Wear smart watch concept.
How much tech do you need on your person?
Even as a gadget lover I have to admit I just can't get excited about smart watches and other wearable tech. I haven't worn a wrist watch for many years and I'm not in a hurry to start again. As for fitness apps, I think spandex-clad rock god David Lee Roth said it best: "I used to jog, but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass."
It's not that I can't see uses for a smart watch, especially something as slick as Google's Android Wear demos. It's just that wearable tech needs to be worth the hassle and expense, considering that I've already got an all-singing, all-dancing smartphone in my pocket. For a smart watch to win me over it needs to be simple, elegant, useful, practical, non-intrusive and customisable. Few gadgets tick all those boxes, especially in areas where the technology is still finding its feet.
Acting as a second screen for your smartphone, so you can see the details of incoming calls, emails and text messages on your wrist, might be enough to seal the deal for some people. Personally my phone just doesn't buzz often enough to make it worth the hassle, and I don't mind slipping out my phone to glance at the screen when I need to.
Of course Android Wear can go beyond this by tapping directly into the Android 4.3 notification system, letting any app grab your attention. This shows promise if used sparingly. Very sparingly. Some people like to stay plugged into the internet 24/7, but I've come to the realisation that it's not great for your mental health. Your brain needs downtime, when you unplug and get out in the real world. You can ignore the phone in your pocket far more easily than the ever-buzzing gadget on your wrist.
For a smart watch to win a place on my wrist it needs to anticipate my needs rather than constantly interrupt me with notifications. Android Wear promises to deliver thanks to tight integration with Google Now. I think it's the feature that will make or break smart watches for many people.
When is my next appointment? How long will it take me to get there? What time will I get home? What do I need from the supermarket? I don't want to ask my smart watch these questions, I want it to offer up the answers in advance because it understands what's most important to me right now. I realise that's a big ask, but Google Now is certainly making great strides in this area. Of course it means handing over your digital life to Google, but it seems most people don't have any qualms about handing over all their digital affairs to one tech giant or another.
I guess what I'm saying is that I want a smart watch that's so unobtrusive I can forget it's even there. But when I need it, it knows what I want before I even ask. Unobtrusiveness also demands high reliability – no-one wants a watch which crashes or runs flat in the middle of a busy day.
Google's Android Wear demos look slick, but it remains to be seen if the first wave of devices delivers on those promises. What would it take to get a smart watch on your wrist, from Google or one of the other tech giants?