On an unassuming June day in 2007, the most valued company of today’s time introduced these square boxes for a 4-inch screen with a promise to make life simpler. To quite an extent, they did make doing everything under the sun easier – from calling a cab to throwing birds at pigs or chasing non-existent beings. Apart from redefining interaction on a touchscreen and building something truly beautiful, it opened a plethora of information, services and content that could be delivered right to your palm. And THAT, through tiny, unassuming icons on the screen. Icons that helped build billion dollar companies. Icons that created a new generation of developers. And icons that defined our everyday lives.
Before we knew, these icons started fighting for space on our home screens. Ploughing the thin line between ‘need’ and ‘want’, we just cannot seem to have enough of them. As I sit, sipping my afternoon chai, my iPhone buzzes for the 3rd time in 10 mins with a message telling me to download an all new app that gets me 50% off on my next chai.
“The device has 3 apps to call a cab, 5 different messaging apps, 3 calendar & productivity apps, 4 fitness apps, 5 social media apps and 15 other apps I have never used. And I haven’t even started counting the number of food-delivery apps there. Only if they lasted till I could try them!”
So how and when exactly did the same darling icons, supposed to get us everything we wanted to make us breeze past our days (or existence?), start complicating it further!
To understand it well, let’s get down to the very fundamentals making anything for anyone. As a user, what you really seek is the relevant information or service at the moment you need it (unless you are out to consume content and spend your life’s time within a 5-inch screen). So, when you are booking a cab, what you essentially want is the cab in front of you. The time and effort spent digging into your phone, choosing an app, looking for a cab, figuring out details and transacting there is a redundant auxiliary activity. Ideally, when you are looking for a cab you should just, well, get a cab in front of you. In the most effortless and seamless manner possible. The more you delve deeper, you realise the missing links here lie with the fragmented app ecosystem and the way we are made to interact with them independently.
Sooner the technology & developer community is realizing the missing links; efforts are being made towards unification of relevant information and services on a single platform, with an intuitive experience. While the idea does seem very interesting, like all great things ever created, the timing & more importantly method for the same has to be perfect with all the ingredients aligning well.
Going back, the year 2007 saw the beautiful convergence of a few such ingredients: Advanced (miniaturised) processing power + Mobile Internet Connectivity (3G on the phone).
But the real beauty of it lied in the way (might we say) Apple executed it with a completely reimagined interaction on a Touch Screen. By making things simple and intuitive.
We are about to enter 2017 now, and the world seems to have the convergence of a few more things: ~ 20x processing power since 2007 + Better Internet Connectivity (4G / LTE) + NLP with Artificial Intelligence + Commoditized Sensors
And what would really be interesting is to see, how we can reimagine the interaction for a user this time, yet keep things simple and intuitive. There are substantial efforts and bets being made by everyone big or small in the game. From all-inclusive chat platforms/bots to web streaming/linking technologies to incredible personal assistants. And these, across different form factors including desktops, mobile interfaces and till recently home speakers (welcome Amazon Echo & Google Home)!
But the fundamental user-need remains the same; i.e., have access to the most critical set of things on-the-go. You should get what you want in the most effortless (and might we say) delightful manner. And that’s exactly what we are trying to do in our own way with a completely reimagined experience on the wrist. While the experience could be delivered through multiple form factors (be it in the home or on the move), we believe that the moment you have to dig into your pocket or purse to reach for a 5-inch box, a part of that experience gets killed. In our endeavor, we hope to mark the beginning of a truly smart and connected world.
Only this time, instead of a big technology giant pushing the boundaries, we are a small start-up picking up pieces the big giant missed from its vantage point at the top. In the process, we too are pushing the boundaries in our very own way in terms of breaking a few myths about Indian start-ups, about building software+hardware platforms, and about doing so in an exemplary fashion. For as we like to put it, it’s about time.
Do check out http://blink.watch to learn more about what we are building!