Interface Evaluation: Smart Watches and Smart Phones

Assessment of Samsung Galaxy

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Allion Labs Inc. Comparison of Smart Watch Integration

Advances in Smart Watch Technology Integration


The focus of this study is the evaluation of the interface between Smart Watches and Smart Phones. This study will conduct this evaluation through a review of the literature published in this area of inquiry.

Samsung Galaxy Assessment

The Smart Watch is reported in the work of Budiu (2013) to be “the next important platform, extending the range of screen sizes to design for down one notch desktop, tablet, phone and now the watch.” (p.1) The Samsung Smart Watch is reported to have been released first as a “companion to the Samsung Galaxy Note phablet.” (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) The phone is reported to be a large phone measuring six inches that is very inconvenient to remove from one’s pocket or their purse. The user can instead use the Smart Watch which has a camera and microphone that is embedded in the wristband of the watch. In terms of functionality, it is reported that the applications that are preinstalled with the Gear are those as follows:

(1) Notifications, which you can configure for events such as getting new emails or text messages

(2) S-Voice, a voice recognition app that lets you send a text message, call someone, check your schedule, find the weather, and a few other things, but, notably, does not let you search the web dialer and contacts apps, that allow users to call from their watch

(3) Gallery, a photo gallery of pictures taken with the watch camera

(4) Media Controller, a music player

(5) Pedometer

(6) Timer and stopwatch apps

(7) a calendar app that displays the schedule for the day

(8) a voice-memo app for recording voice memos a weather app for getting the weather in your

favorite city (Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

In addition to these applications, it is reported that the following applications are available using the companion phone:

eBay, an app that display notifications for various eBay events (e.g., auction ending soon, being outbid on an item)

(1) Evernote, a simplified version of Evernote that lets users store pictures or voice memos to their Evernote account

(2) FBQuickview, a very minimalistic Facebook app

(3) Glympse, a location-sharing app

(4) My Fitness Pal, an app that helps you keep track of your caloric intake

(5) Pocket, which gives you access to the stories that you saved

(6) Vivino, an app that scans wine labels and provides additional information about the wine

(7) Zite, a news reader (Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

The Gear Manager is used to install and manage the applications. The Gear Manager runs on the companion Smart Phone and allows users to install Gear applications as well as make decisions about what applications are made priority on the Gear screen as well as which applications are allowed to send notification to the Smart Watch.. It is reported that the user customizes the phone themselves and that the screen of the watch is far too little to support “even the fairly simple informaiton architecture that characterizes most phone apps.” (Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

Reported as a useful functionality is “Find my phone” which can be used when the users is within the range of the Bluetooth and when the user has the phone but not the watch ‘Find my Gear’ results in the watch beeping. When the watch and the phone are close to one another the phone unlocks automatically. When the phone is unable to detect the watch, the user is required to enter their password to unlock the phone. It can be extremely difficult to enter a password on a mobile phone and because of this, the automatic unlock feature is reported to be “a small first step toward making authentication easy on mobile devices.” (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) The watch receives a notification when a text message is received and text messages are reported to be “fully displayed on the Gear screen” which makes this watch popular with teens who want a way to know when text messages come in but do not want to be conspicuous about it. It is reported that emails also trigger a notification on the Smart Watch but if the Gmail app is used the email messages are not shown but instead an indication simply shows that an email was received. If the email app is chosen for use rather than Gmail the sender of the email, the email subject and the first few lines of the email are seen on the watch. This can also be erased.

It is possible to set up the email application to send the watch notification and one can tap on the message which provides a detailed view. It is reported that usability of watch-based email “requires the watch to display enough information about a new message to allow the user to determine whether it’s worth the trouble to pull out the phone to read the message. Just saying the equivalent of “you’ve got mail” isn’t enough. In general, any application that requires the user to transition between devices should provide enough information sent on the first device to allow users to determine whether to go to the second device now or later.” (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) It is reported as well that other applications including such as eBay, Glympse, and Facebook also are capable of sending notifications to the watch however, the available content varies in its complexity. The Glympse notification is reported to provide access to “a full map, but the map is static and users are unable to zoom in on the map or move around on the map.” ( Budiu, 2013, p. 1 ) However, two variations exist: (1) the first is that there is a touchscreen on the Smart Watch however, there is not a keyboard so the information is input into the watch via voice or camera presenting limitations on the potential use of applications and the application complexity; and (2) due to the small screen not much room is available for the display of content and there is not any room for interface widgets. (Budiu, 2013, p. 1) Smart Watches are reported to be “the natural application for gestural interfaces: by getting rid of the interface controls and replacing them with gestures, designers can take full advantage if the limited screen real estate.” ( Budiu, 2013, p. 1) It is stated as well that the “swipe is the primary way of navigating through Gear apps: (1) Swiping left or right on the vertical edges moves back and forth in the app space (we count these 2 options as one gesture, because the left — right mapping to a linear progression is a direct mapping where left and right swipes are each others’ natural opposite); (2) Swiping up takes the user back to the previous screen; and (3) In many apps, horizontal swiping is the way to move from one page to the next. The gestures take a while to discover, because the watch touchscreen is not particularly sensitive.” ( Budiu, 2013, p. 1)

It is reported that there are two types of smart watches reported to be existent and it is reported that one of the Smart Watches is “equipped with touch panel and the other one is controlled by pushers and some are able to take picture while some have voice control function.” (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) Allion Labs is reported to be a certification expert and to keep up with the times and relate concern about the Smart Watch trend. The by Allion Labs Inc. focuses on the: (1) appearance; (2) UI; and (3) functionality of the product. The following watches were assessed by Allion Labs Inc.: (1) SONY Smart Watch 2; (2) Martian Passport Watch; and (3) Pebble Smart Watch. ((Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) Each of these are shown in the following picture labeled Figure 1.

Figure 1

(SONY Smart Watch, Martian Passport Watch, and Pebble Smart Watch (left to right)

Source: (Allion Engineering Services (2013)

The specifications of each of these watches is listed in the following chart labeled Figure 2.

Figure 2 – Specifications of Smart Watches

Source: (Allion Engineering Services (2013)

The report on the appearance and UI SONY Smart Watch 2 is reported to have a dial touch panel with better performance in the categories of comfort of wearing and sense of design than the other two watches. Martian passport watch has an OLED display and Pebble Smart Watch has an e-paper display only. However, the buckle on the SONY is a butterfly style making it hard to adjust and the category ‘convenience of waring’ is won by Pebble. In the category of User Interface, SONY beat the other two watches in the categories of ‘inferface fluency’, ‘font size’ and ‘font identification’. (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, paraphrased) It is indicated that users like the 1.6 monitor that is able to display six APP icons simultaneously however, the home button on the SONY is reported to fail to respond at times. The design used by Pebble with four pushers on the sides of the dial are difficult to push and inconvenient for users.

Figure 3 — Appearance and User Interface


Figure 4 — Functionality Point Chart

Source: (Allion Engineering Services (2013)

II. Allion Labs Inc. Comparison of Smart Watch Integration

Smart Watches presently being sold are primarily an extension of the Smart Phone and need to interconnect and pair with either tablets or Smart Phones first before being able to be controlled by Apps. Because of this Allion Labs separated tests terms on the Satisfaction Survey on Apps and Smart Phone from the test on functionality. SONY is the only Smart Watch with the capability of pairing with Smart Phones using Bluetooth through NFC which is built-in and can be connected by just a click therefore earning the highest usability of pairing process ranking as well as ranking highest in ‘operation interface’ and ‘usability of APP’. (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) SONY additionally performs better in the categories of ‘basic function’, ‘SMS notification’ and ‘Mail’. However Martian rates high in the category of ‘incoming call notification’. (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) Martian is the only Smart Phone able to perform voice dialing and that has the capability of picking up the incoming call and conducting conversation through the built in noise canceling microphone and speaker however the voice-dialing function on the Martian Smart Phone is reported to be inaccurate with a high rate of failure due to the voice control not being supported in the areas of the user’s residence. Currently Smart Watches play a role that primarily assists with Smart Phones via Bluetooth technology informing users when smart phones are in receipt of new notifications or have incoming calls. It is reported to be clear that all of the Smart Watches have “IOP problems with corresponding smart phones. For example: SONY cannot receive Mail and Facebook notifications from LG Nexus 4; SONY XPERIA Z. receives Facebook notification but Martian does not.” (Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1) The Allion experts report results indicating that Smart Watch companies “…need a multi-angle IOP test plan to make sure smart watches can work well with smart phones and to level up product quality and user experience. Moreover, Allion’s Bluetooth Qualification Expert (BQE) finds out that although Martian Passport Watch claims that it adopts Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology, but actually there is no available profile that can perform Low energy technology based on the test result. Despite Pebble lays claim that its smart watch is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 technology, there is a discrepancy because its spec is Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, which differs from Pebble’s claim on its website. Thus, developers need professional Bluetooth certification test and consultation service to ensure that products follow Bluetooth spec regulations and are able to work correctly with other devices.” ((Allion Engineering Services, 2013, p.1)

Figure 5 — Interoperability Test

Source: (Allion Engineering Services (2013)

The overall review of each of these phones is reported as follows:

(1) SONY Smart Watch 2 — This is reported to be a product that is stylish and highly scalable and to have general good performance in terms of user interface. All the APPs on Smart Phones must be installed one at a time by users making first-time uses very complicated and consuming a great deal of time. The sleep mode is reported as such that fails to adopt the “smooth fade-out design and this would confuse users, to doubt whether their product is facing a crash or monitor encounters problems. After testing APPs of some famous social networks, we find out that users cannot set all posts on Twitter as read and SONY might lose Facebook notifications or have notifications delay. Besides the malfunctions, we suggest that it would be more user-friendly if users can adjust the location of APP on the monitor freely and the monitor can sense light and adjust lightness automatically. Also, It would be better to have voice control function too.” (Allion Engineering Services, 2013)

(2) Martian Passport Watch — The watch dial is reported to be too large and uncomfortable for wearing and the connection failure rate on Bluetooth to be too high. Some of the APP functions do not work as they should. (Allion Engineering Services, 2013)

(3) Pebble Smart Watch — It is not convenient to download data to the smart phone first and then to change it over to the Smart Watch making APPs difficult for users to install. In addition, 11 MB-size APP is reported as relatively big and the interface reported as too simple with too many instructions in word form in the setting page making the readability difficult for users. There are no instructions in the installation mode informing users about which pushers to use and the largest shortcoming is the lack of support for multi-languages. Finally, even after termination of the connection the APP on The Smart Phone continues searching for devices and this results in high power consumption on the Smart Phone. (Allion Engineering Services, 2013)

III. Advances in Smart Watch Technology Integration

The work of Ping (nd) reports that the “development and application of inertial sensors” resulted in the evolution of the Smart Watch int a new generation of watches that supports “gesture-based interaction with both users and their environment.” (p.1) It is reported that while Smart Watches make provision of “both traditional interaction and gesture-based interaction” there are still “some gaps in this area, such as security protection and standardization to be considered and filled.” (Ping, nd, p.3) It is reported that the majority of Smart Watches only have one segment for display however, the Facet is a watch with multi-display segments. It is reported that each segment in Facet is important and can be utilized to store various information including incoming telephone calls and email.

In addition, Facet is Bluetooth powered and in some cases have infrared interfaces allowing the user to access Internet services easily. The segments of Facet are such that can be customized by the user. When the appropriate sensors are used the Facet can be integrated and interact with the user and the user’s environment. Smart Watches can be used for remote control in some cases. (Ping, nd, paraphrased) The core component to the Smart Watch is the microprocessor. (Ping, nd, paraphrased) Sensors include: (1) accelerometers which make provision of relative position information and used to recognize gestures such as tilting, shake and swipe gestures. (Ping, nd, paraphrased); (2) Gyrocropes — these are described as high-end solutions which provide relative orientation information by calculating the angular rate. Combined with other sensors such as magnetometers, they are possible to provide absolute orientation information. They are usually used to detection rotation of the forearm.” (Ping, nd, p.5); (3) Magnetometer — these are used in tilting gesture recognition and pointing gestures. (Ping, nd, paraphrased) Most Smart Watches are configured with a wireless module. The All-In-One Smart Watch has processing capabilities that are powerful and able to negotiate computational tasks that are intensive. (Ping, nd, paraphrased) dWatch is described as a Smart Watch that is integrated into a smart environment “though Dog, a domotic gateway that enables integration of different home automation solutions.” (Ping, nd, p.6) The development of the integration involved a new device driver that is installed in the Dog gateway and utilized to communicate over a wireless protocol with dWatch.


In order for the Smart Watch to be user-friendly and to be functionally integrative it is likely that new drivers will need to be developed and others adapted so the Smart Watch can negotiate the extensive complexity that users desire in a Smart Watch. Some of the capabilities are already present but others have yet to be functionally optimized.


The Smart Watch holds great promise if the technologies needed to make these devices all that they have been hoped to be realizes success. The display on Smart Watches is far too small with too few segments and too much information crammed into single segments. The Bluetooth capability on many of the Smart Watches fails in connecting all too often. It is difficult for users to load APPs tot he Smart Watch and integration between the Smart Watch and Smart Phone leaves a great deal to be desired.


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Morganti, E., et al. (2012) A Smart Watch with Embedded Sensors to Recognize Objects, Grasps and Forearm Gestures. Prodceia Engineering, 41, Elsevier Press (2012), 1169-1175. Retrieved from: 0a579ca-a0e5-11e2-ad66-00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1365492094_377a24b4f513b9103f0c822f9ef41d58

Narayanaswami, C., et al. (2002) IBM’s Linux watch, the challenge of miniaturization. Computer, 35 (1), 2002, 33-41. Retrieved from: