20 years ago, some clever Kraut at Mercedes-Benz wagered that the future of not only technology but also of automobiles would be shaped in Silicon Valley. Accordingly, Mercedes was the first global automaker to open its own research facility in the “home of innovation.”
It’s taken two decades, but Mercedes is finally starting to show some results from its years of tech toil – tangible ones, at least. The new Pebble Technology smartwatch that runs the Mercedes Digital DriveStyle app is the perfect example.
Now partnered with Pebble Technology, Mercedes has reworked its Digital DriveStyle app to seamlessly integrate with the Pebble smartwatch, which will be on display at CES 2014.
Mercedes owners sporting the Pebble smartwatch will be able to interact with their car, both while behind the wheel and also from afar. According to Mercedes, the Pebble smartwatch effectively acts as a remote screen for your smartphone.
From behind the wheel, drivers can use the watch to stay up-to-date on accidents, road construction, or stalled vehicles. One of three customizable watch buttons allows users to also access roadway hazard alerts, auto-routing, Siri activation, remote-controlling media, or nearby traffic conditions.
When away from the car, the Pebble smartwatch can also be used to access vehicle information like fuel level, door-lock status, and vehicle location.
At first glance, this seems really, really cool. If you pause for a second, though, and think about it, you’ll quickly realize that there’s nothing that this watch does that A.) Your car can’t already do on its own. And B.) Your smartphone can’t also already do.
Are you really going to look at your watch for traffic alerts when your Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment unit right in front of you is giving you the same information? No.
To that end, do you need to know your car’s fuel level from far away? If you do, will you ever need to know so urgently that pulling your smartphone from your pocket takes too long? Again, no.
We’ll be on the floor of CES 2014 and we’ll give the watch a go. Hopefully for Mercedes and Pebble Technology’s sake, it’ll have more features to wow us. For now, though, we’re nonplused.