Wristphones 10 Smartphones 1

10 advantages of wristphones. Illustration by  Bob Banks

10 advantages of wristphones. Illustration by Bob Banks

With sales of over 1.4 Billion in 2015, the smartphone is the World's favourite mobile technology, but wristphones will be 10 times better. A wristphone is like a smartphone that you can also wear on your wrist. Normally a wristphone will be worn like a bracelet, but it can also be put into a slate(flat) form factor and be used just like a smartphone. Wristphones are enabled by flexible plastic displays that are just starting to appear in the market. Here are 10 reasons why smartphones will be replaced by wristphones:

  1. Digital health services Wristphones will be worn on the wrist for most of the time and will therefore be in a much better place to monitor our vital signs and alert us when problems are detected. Wristphones have the potential to enable a digital health services revolution and help solve some of today's most pressing health and social service challenges at a much lower cost.
  2. Sports & outdoor activities Fancy going out for a walk, run, cycle, ski, sail or game of football? Your wristphone can come along too as it will be thin, light and comfortable to wear. Fitness tracking included.
  3. Capture the moment A camera on the wrist makes it less likely that a photo or video opportunity will be missed.
  4. Easy payments & ticketing Ticketing & payments with a swipe of the wrist.
  5. No more shattered screens Flexible plastic displays won't shatter.
  6. Music on the move  It will be much easier to select music on a wristphone when exercising or commuting and stream music to wired or wireless headsets.
  7. Personal safety Significantly easier emergency calls and access to the panic buttons in personal safety apps will give everyone more confidence when they are out on their own in towns and cities.
  8. No missed calls or messages Notifications and vibration alerts direct to the wrist.
  9. Gas monitoring The wrist is a better place to monitor gases such as carbon monoxide which regularly kills people in their homes as well as nitrogen dioxide levels which can be used as a measure of air pollution.
  10. A better watch

A wristphone will probably need to be narrower than many of today's smartphones so that it fits comfortably on the wrist. Smartphones therefore score one in this head to head for having a larger display. However Apple's recent introduction of the iPhone SE suggests that a device with smaller display will be acceptable to many people. Even with this rather simplistic analysis, it seems that the large number of benefits will make wristphones significantly more valuable than smartphones for most individuals and businesses.       

An alternative approach is to adopt a smartwatch alongside a smartphone. However this significantly complicates the user's life, requiring another device to be charged, another user interface to learn and battling with a fiddly little display. Whilst smartwatches have sold in significant numbers since their introduction and sales numbers are predicted to grow, they have generally received a rather lukewarm reception from the market. Wristphones will solve all of the problems with smartwatches and smartphones at a much lower price.  

The transition to wristphones also presents an opportunity for the mobile industry to create a more long lasting benefit for everyone. Currently many smartphones end up gathering dust or going to landfill which is not only extremely wasteful but is also causing price instability in certain critical raw materials. By adopting the principles of the circular economy, much of this waste and supply chain risk can be reduced with benefits for the mobile industry as a whole and the environment.

The concept of a "Planet Friendly Wristphone" is currently being pitched to the general public in Richard Branson's VOOM 2016 startup competition. This includes a 90 second video pitch. Members of Facebook or LinkedIN can show their support by hitting the vote button on the same page.   

Mark Catchpole              First published on 21st April 2016         All rights reserved

Mark is a wearable technology consultant with Wearable Consultants based in Cambridge, UK. Please get in touch via mark@wearableconsultants.com