Glanceable media -- visual nibbles of information or entertainment that convey meaning without much intervention or interaction -- has rich precedence in the physical world. Signs, clocks, and framed photos can all be considered forms.
These days, Google (and several major Android licensees), as well as Microsoft, have provided ways to tap into this kind of media on the upper levels of their smartphone user interfaces. Since the release of the T-Mobile G1, Android has supported widgets that can live on its multipart home screens, a feature it has expanded to third-party developers.
And while many Android widgets tie back into apps, Microsoft has largely taken this approach by design with Live Tiles in Windows Phone.
Because they are almost always with us and almost always connected, smartphones have a great advantage when it comes to presenting such information at a glance.
But they do have at least one major disadvantage; they are usually stored in a pocket or handbag. Thus, we have to drag them out -- and often unlock them -- to be updated on our latest interests. This drawback has led companies ranging from startups such as WIMM Labs, Allert, and MetaWatch, to giants such as Motorola and Sony, to create smart watches as glanceable portals for content that is retrieved by the smartphone without having to retrieve the smartphone itself. … Read more