The PC has marched from the desktop into our pockets and become the smartphone: an even more personal computer. Now consumer electronics manufacturers are offering us smart watches: wearable computers with modern features such as touchscreens, cameras, Internet connections and contactless payment systems. The BBC and the rest of the media industry have responded to the smartphone and tablet revolution with apps that make it easy to find content that was already being created for other media. For example, the iPlayer apps offer content (mostly) from BBC TV channels and radio stations, and the BBC News, Sport and Weather apps provide convenient, well-designed ways to access information that users might previously have obtained from BBC websites.

Smart watches present some new opportunities. When we look at the way that they and their apps are being designed, we see a focus on brief interactions and simple functionality—informed perhaps by the likely impact of a century of wristwatch use on users’ expectations, and by the limited screen size and user input capabilities of a wrist-worn device. Some existing media forms could make an easy transition to the new platform: newsflashes, goal alerts and weather forecasts, for example. Others, such as long-form written articles and videos, seem ill-suited. But what opportunities for completely new forms of content do smart watches present to organisations like the BBC?

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