The smartwatches of IFA 2015 are slimmer, sleeker and simpler than ever. With one exception - Lenovo's brilliant Magic View prototype which adds a small 'virtual interactive' display to the strap of a chunky, nicely designed, round smartwatch.
What's a virtual interactive display (VID)? The best way to describe it is that it's a small viewfinder display developed by Lenovo, similar to the display that you see in the corner of Google Glass in that light is projected into a prism. The difference is you can't see the real world (or your arm) through this picture.
Magic View pushes images and videos to the display from the main smartwatch screen via a feature named SnapSee which you access by swiping two fingers down on the screen.
After a quick animation, when you hold the wearable up to your face you can see the picture, as though it's displayed on a full size screen in the distance. Kind of like when you use the Oculus Cinema app but slightly lower res and fuzzier.
The concept is designed to mean the wearer can watch a clip of GIF in private without the people around you watching it too. As you can see from the photos, it's impossible to see unless you press your eye up to the display like a camera viewfinder. The Lenovo rep we spoke to said the addition of the VID would only decrease battery life by about 20%, which isn't too bad.
But the Magic View prototype isn't going to be on sale anytime soon. OK, we might not want to raise our watch to our eye but Lenovo says it's for very short clips anyway. It's not about practicalities, it's about playing with our ideas of what wearables can do and what tech we need to do it.
Wearable tech is still at that fun, wacky stage and hey, with the fancy as hell second-gen Moto 360 just outed, there's no harm in Lenovo showing what it can do.
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