In the year 2081, nobody is allowed to be smarter, better looking or more physically able than anybody else. Clever people's thoughts are interrupted with eye-watering blasts of noise; the beautiful are made to wear masks; the strong are saddled with heavy weights.
Android Wear manufacturers probably know how that feels.
We've just described Kurt Vonnegut's famous short story Harrison Bergeron, but Android Wear has its own Handicapper General to worry about in the form of Google. Android Wear manufacturers must all use the same operating system, with the same user interface, menus and features. And that's a problem, because not only does it sound a bit like Vonnegut's imagined dystopian future; it sounds awfully like the very recent past, too.
You can't always get what you want
Google limits customisation on Android Wear for a very good reason: it wants to avoid fragmentation, with endless versions of the same OS looking and working entirely differently. That happened in smartphones, with manufacturers crafting their own user interfaces and add-ons, and Google thinks that's a bad thing: it wants a consistent experience across all Android Wear devices.
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That's good for security - users don't have to wait for manufacturers to update their custom versions of Android Wear, something that's been a headache for years in Android phones - and it's certainly less confusing for consumers, but it's a problem for the manufacturers: how do you stand out when you're all making essentially the same product?
The worry for manufacturers is commoditisation, where the differences between products is rather like the difference between different brands of baked beans and most purchasing decisions are based on the price tag, not the ingredients.
In Windows PCs commoditisation has created a market where PC firms' profit margins are so small many have to install bloatware to stay in business. In Android phones it's created a market where one firm - Samsung - makes most of the money while the balance sheets of firms such as HTC use more red than the action scenes in Deadpool.
In a recent interview Huawei's VP of product management Yang Yong sighed about the lack of customisation:
"We want the users to feel that it's their own watch, not a standard watch," he said, trying to sound positive about the customisation options Google currently allows. "What we can differentiate from our competitors is that we have different watch faces."
Different watch faces? Curb your enthusiasm!
Be bold, not boring
How do you stand out from the crowd when the only tweak you can make to the UI is to offer a different watch face? There are two options: you can think about fashion, or you can think about function.
If you go for fashion, while you can't make a better mousetrap you can make your mousetrap more attractive than your rivals'. You can hire talented designers, you can splurge on better materials, and you can target specific groups of people.
Apple does this very well: there's no functional difference between a £15K Apple Watch Edition, a £1,350 Apple Watch Hermes and a £299 Apple Watch Sport, but the Edition is made of precious metal and the Hermes has the logo and a pretty leather strap. In Android, you can see similar branding in the form of the Tag Heuer Connected, which we described as "ridiculously good looking", and the rather more affordable second generation Moto 360.
Fashion and function needn't be exclusive. The runner-focused Moto 360 Sport is perfectly designed for its target market and its built-in GPS means you don't need to lug your phone around.
Similarly, the ruggedly handsome Casio Smart Outdoor Watch is built to military specifications for toughness and boasts a clever dual-layer screen for outdoor viewing and battery saving. The imminent and rather good looking Samsung Gear S2 Classic 3G will have an electronic SIM, which it hopes will usher in a new generation of wearable devices that can connect to cellular data networks.
Samsung has also invested heavily in creating an ecosystem of services, such as its Google Fit alternative S Health and its Milk Music radio streaming service, that it hopes will keep people loyal to its products.
One simple question
Like any product, Android Wear watches should be able to answer a simple question: why should I buy this one instead of that one? Not every watch's answer is "custom watch face!"
The Casio is the smartwatch that's tough enough for the Army. The Moto 360 Sport is the smartwatch for runners. The Tag is as beautiful and valuable as any mechanical Tag, plus all the benefits of modern technology. They may all run the same operating system, but they're all very different devices designed for very specific things - and that means they stand out in a market that's already beginning to feel rather full of me-too devices.
By limiting customisation of the OS, Google has made it harder for firms to stand out, but it hasn't made it impossible. Fortune will favour the bold and the beautiful.