By Stephen Schenck | March 3, 2011 3:52 PM
A big selling point for many mobile devices is the extent to which they can interact with, and enhance the capabilities of, other portable gadgets. Your smartphone may be plenty useful on its own, but outfit it with mobile hotspot software, and it becomes all the more valuable. Thinking along these lines, HP has been trying to come up with one device that you’d always have on you and would serve as some sort of central point, through which all your other gadgets could communicate. After deciding that a watch would be the ideal candidate for the job, HP has teamed up with Fossil to make a concept device called the “Metal Watch”.
HP CTO Phil McKinney showed off the watch to a crowd in Shanghai. As to exactly what the watch does, and how the user interacts with it, McKinney was vague, with his descriptions of the project focusing on the watch’s role as hub for other mobile devices. He said the watch runs a “full software stack”, but does he mean a proper webOS install (which seems very unlikely) or just something more like a network stack on top of an embedded OS?
Unlike the Sony Ericsson LiveView, with its prominent touchscreen display, it’s not clear how you’re expected to interact with the Metal Watch. Its construction is much more that of a standard wristwatch than the LiveView, complete with analog hands. We suppose the face could be an LCD panel, but there’s no evidence yet to support that guess.
The Metal Watch seems a bit high-concept, and we get the sense that not even HP is quite sure exactly what it expects users to do with the watch. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one, hopefully learning more about its actual capabilities in the future.