Buying Stuff With Smartwatches is Bad Idea: Accidental Xbox Edition

By Chris Mills on at

There are a limited number of things that smartwatches are good for. As a tech blogger’s accidental purchase of an Xbox One shows, browsing Amazon is not one of those things.

During a Periscope demo of the Apple Watch (now there’s a sentence I never thought I would type), CNET writer Scott Stein used the Amazon app to voice-search for an Xbox One, then accidentally tapped the one-click order button. It’s a funny and stupid thing to watch: ha-ha the tech blogger messed up and wasted money, isn’t he silly.

Ultimately, it was inconsequential (Amazon orders can be cancelled after all) but it speaks to a greater truth about what smartwatches can and should be used for.

The Apple Watch has been on sale for a couple of days now, but there are already thousands of Watch-compatible apps on the market. In a small number of cases, those apps will make your life easier, since it’s easier to tap one button on your wrist than it is to pull your phone out of your pocket. Ordering an Uber taci ride, for example, probably makes sense; I could see a Dominos one-click order being good (let’s not talk about the effect that would have on my health).

But I challenge anyone to show me a situation in which voice-searching for something on Amazon, then torturously scrolling through results on a two-inch screen is easier or better than taking out the phone that is in your pocket and using that. Humanity has burnt years of effort making smartphones ruthlessly good and efficient; ditching that for a tiny screen is plain stupid.

This isn’t a new or particularly fashionable opinion. It’s one that has been around since calculator watches invaded wrists in their '80s heyday. But this video illustrates the point better than any 500-word rant ever could: just because you can use your smartwatch to do something, it really, absolutely does not mean that you should.