During the glory days of Macworld San Francisco, Apple would use the high profile event to promote its next big thing. But since Apple left Macworld in 2009, the company has introduced it latest and greatest innovation to only a select group at private, invitation only media events, leaving the consumer waiting until the product is released at Apple Stores. But a Bay Area start up whose CEO appeared at this year’s Macworld San Francisco, hopes it might have its own next big thing, which is actually quite small.
Redwood City-based Starfish Technologies has developed what it claims to be the “first ever iPhone/iPad mirroring device” on a user’s wrist. In other words, an interactive, full color device that spells as a wristwatch, also mirrors what is seen on an iPhone or iPad screen. According to its website, the device requires no programming or configuration, making it remarkably easy to use for those with limited technological savvy.
For many users who find it troublesome to have to continually reach for their iPhone from a pocket or purse to check messages, this new smartwatch could be a godsend and has the enormous potential for widespread appeal. Active people like endurance runners can check if a message has come through their iPhone without actually having to stop. Others may find it useful if they’re in a meeting or some other situation that prevents them from using their smartphones. Cyclists can also find this new gadget quite useful although there is the potential for distracted riding while on a bicycle. In addition to iPhones and iPads, the Starfish smartwatch is compatible with devices powered by Android. The smart watch reportedly will sell for $169. However the price tag may detract some Android users, especially since there are other watches on the market, including Sony's SmartWatch. Another watch from Pebble, works on the iOS and Android and reportedly is shipping now in limited release.
In advance of the 2013 Macworld San Francisco, Starfish Technologies placed ads in the March issue of Macworld and iPhone Life. The exposure could potentially be critical in that the ad may have reached thousands of Macworld attendees from the show that just concluded today and many more subscribers and readers from newsstands across the country.
Unfortunately the new product was not available for inspection at the Starfish exhibit on opening day of Macworld San Francisco. However CEO Jason Buzi did present a prototype of the device that essentially looks like a lot of other smart watches vying to contend for market share. The big difference with Buzi’s watch is, of course, its purported capabilities that include receiving incoming calls, texts, emails, reminders and other everyday tasks that consumers perform on their smart phones.
This potentially next biggest thing could have been among the recipients of the Best of Show award at this year’s Macworld San Francisco, but it wasn't. This is the result of the absence of a working prototype to show off its practicality. But early awards may not be important if or when the product is actually launched and hopefully with it, positive praises from analysts and users. If the smartwatch by Starfish Technologies lives up to its hype, it may very well be the next big (little) thing. But the firm needs to have an actual product and until then, this review doesn't mean a thing.
Addendum: Jason Buzi said that a shipment of his watches were due to arrive at MacWorld later in the week. I asked him to give me a call so that I could review them but he did not call or email me.