iWatch? No thanks, I want to ditch my key fob for a smartwatch that goes vroom

iwatch no thanks i want to ditch my key fob for a smartwatch that goes vroom

With the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch coming next week, everyone’s trying to figure out what Apple’s rival iWatch will look like. Chances are, given that the iPhone was an iPod Touch with a phone, and the iPad was a humongous iPad Touch, the iWatch will be an iPod Touch with a wrist band. So you get music, movies, and apps on your wrist. Whoopee.

A number of existing smartwatches already fill more defined niches. Nike already has a smartwatch focused on exercising, and several companies make smartwatches that are also phones, though they don’t sell very well (likely because most of the folks that thought Dick Tracy’s Wrist Radio was cool are dead).

So why not a smartwatch that focuses on connecting me to my car? I mean, the Tesla S is basically a cool tablet you can drive. Why not put part of that tablet on my wrist where I could really use it?

So much better than a key fob

Think of your key fob. Ever left it in your pants, had it go through the wash, and stop working? That’s typically a very profitable day for your car dealership, because they not only charge a ton for the fob, but charge another ton to get the thing to talk to your car. Most cars have keyless entry today, and evidently, criminals can hack into that without your fob and get into your car. So why can’t you do the same and use your watch instead? You could even have a pin code on the watch tied to something in the car, which would make it harder for criminals to find it. You are less likely to wash or forget your watch, and you’ll have fewer people wondering just how glad you are to see them when they see that huge key fob bulge in your pants. (Really it’s a key fob, I’m not that excited to see you Grandma!)

Wouldn’t it be great if the watch face could point you to your car?

Now imagine both hands are full of groceries and you need to open your door or trunk to put the damn things in the car. You don’t want to put the stuff on the ground (cooties) and you’re pretty sure the bags will fall over and spill out if you do. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get your watch close to the door and have it unlock and open? Many cars and vans have auto-opening trunks, but what the hell good are they if you have to dig for your keys in your pocket or purse before you can open the door? Granted, you might miss the fun of having someone else fish for your keys. (Grandma let go that isn’t my key!)

Ever lost a car? This is a ton of fun. You’re tired when you pull into a parking lot late, and then after you see the movie, attend the meeting, or wake up, you walk outside to see a massive multi-story parking structure, with no clue where you left your car. If it’s a rental, you likely have no clue what it was you actually rented, and the keys may only tell you the logo the car has. If you’re in Europe, some of those logos make no sense whatsoever, coupled with not speaking the language, you are screwed. (As you get older you’ll call this a “senior moment,” when you’re younger you call it a “hangover”). Wouldn’t it be great if the watch face could point you to your car?

All charged up

With an electric car, you want to check on things like how the car is charging, whether someone has unplugged your car and plugged in theirs (the technical term for them is “assholes”), or whether there is some other problem that will result in you walking out to an uncharged car at 9 p.m. after a long night “working” and with no ride home. Yes, you can see this on your PC or tablet, but how much better to have your watch alert you, so you can run screaming out of the office to pounce on the “asshole,” or otherwise fix the problem while some people are still awake and willing to help. Electrics also have some neat features you can activate remotely, like cooling the car off before you get in it so your butt doesn’t’ vulcanize to the seats (think Dallas, Texas).

Black box on your wrist

Samsung Galaxy GearMost current-generation cars have something like an OBDII port in them (the one they use to scan your check-engine light) that could be used to feed data to a smartwatch. On a leisurely drive to the office, the watch could capture how far over the speed limit you drove (adventure), what your boost pressure was before your engine exploded (excitement), or how many seconds it took you to get to 60 mph (or for Prius drivers hours). Granted, you’d likely need a watch self-destruct feature if you ever get pulled over. “Honestly officer, my grandmother was wearing the watch not me, she lives in Pasadena, perhaps you’ve heard of her?”

But it would be an interesting way to capture stats and compare results. Car companies could also do things like cobranding the watch. (I already own a Ferrari watch, now I only need to convince my wife to let me buy the matching car that goes with it.)

I want a smartwatch that goes vroom!

While a winning smartwatch will need an outdoor-viewable display like the Qualcomm Mirasol), technology, cool design, and great marketing, I think it could also benefit from some automotive features, branding, and capabilities. I’d kind of love to have a Jaguar watch that roared when I accelerated and purred when I treated the leather seats. The right automotive brand might also impress the ladies.

Granted, it suddenly seems to me like some other watch features, like an industrial-strength vibrating alert feature, might impress them more. Then again, with that feature they might take the watch out and leave me at home.

In an age when folks are already trying to copy the unseen iWatch, maybe some companies would be better going in a different direction and connecting the watch to our cars. What do you think?

Cars

This 717-horsepower Dodge Charger is the ultimate family sedan

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat gets a 10-horsepower boost, but only for a limited-edition model. The special Charger commemorates the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona -- one of the wildest American muscle cars.
Cars

2020 Honda Civic hatchback keeps the manual-transmission faith

The 2020 Honda Civic hatchback was treated to a subtle exterior facelift. Honda also expanded the availability of both the manual transmission and 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Cars

2019 Audi E-Tron is the first electric car to earn top IIHS safety rating

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the first electric car to earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. But the IIHS hasn't tested the Audi's two main rivals -- the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X.
News

UPS partners with TuSimple to test self-driving semi-trucks

UPS has been carrying truckloads of goods in self-driving semi-trucks since May. The vehicles are being tested in Arizona routes between Phoenix and Tucson for better service and efficiency for UPS delivery.
Cars

Vintage Electric readies the Roadster Speed Merchant, a souped-up ebike

Vintage Electric introduced the latest in its line of retro-styled premium performance ebikes for fall 2019. The Vintage Roadster gets styling cues from board track racing motorcycles and its power from a 1,123-watt battery.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are some of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

Infiniti’s Formula One-inspired Project Black S may enter production

The Infiniti Project Black S is a Q60 luxury coupe enhanced with a Formula One-inspired hybrid powertrain. The 563-horsepower car can sprint from zero to 62 mph in under four seconds, according to Infiniti.
Cars

Toyota raises the curtain on 2020 Corolla Nightshade Editions

The 2020 Toyota Corolla SE sedan and hatchback with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) will be available in Nightshade Editions, joining the Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, and Sienna with the blacked-out trim style option.
Cars

Here’s why your Uber or Lyft car always seems to be a Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars sold in the United States, and not just with retail buyers. Uber and Lyft drivers love the Camry for its reliability, according to a new report.
Cars

The electric Volkswagen ID Buggy makes even Ferrari drivers stop and stare

Volkswagen traveled to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to introduce an electric dune buggy named ID Buggy, and Digital Trends drove it in California. It's a modern-day tribute to the 1960s Meyers Manx.
Cars

Infiniti will take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz with its own crossover coupe

Launching in 2020, the Infiniti QX55 will be a crossover coupe similar to models that have proven successful for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Infiniti said the QX55 will have styling influenced by its early 2000s FX.
Cars

Limited-edition Subaru BRZ tS returns for 2020, WRX and STI get minor tweaks

Subaru performance cars remain mostly unchanged for the 2020 model year. The big news is the return of the limited-edition Subaru BRZ tS sports car, with production capped at 300 units.
Cars

The Bugatti Centodieci is only possible because of the latest design tech

Bugatti is celebrating its 110th birthday by releasing a limited-edition hypercar named Centodieci. It's based on the Chiron, but its engine makes 1,600 horsepower, and it's a tribute to the EB110 released during the 1990s.
Cars

Discover the engineering Easter eggs in the new 2020 Ford Explorer

The 2020 Ford Explorer received a ground-up overhaul, with major changes that include a new hybrid powertrain option. But even the engineering details of the new Explorer are worth checking out.