What is the Nyx Watch?
Nyx Watch is a concept smartwatch for my most recent concept brand, Nyx, running a pared-down variant of Aether. It's the evolution of my smartwatch ideas going back to 2017.
Smartwatches have had a rough time developing into a must-have product category. WearOS watches have been plagued with poor performance and battery life until recent processor updates, and the platform has stagnated. The Apple Watch, one of the best performing smartwatches, has still had an issue with meaningful and useful third party app support. It feels like the form-factor hasn't landed on what it's best at just yet. There isn't a standard for tailor-made smartwatch apps, and developers won't take the time needed to learn the platform and form-factor until it's much more popular (which won't happen until there are more than just stock apps).
I thought of some crucial needs for a smartwatch platform: affordability (it needs to be an easy buy-in), quality (battery life needs to be much longer, better performance), easy development (developers need to be able to try different ideas with little effort and cost), and platform focus (there needs to be a central, marketable use-case to build UX around)
I've used WearOS watches for a few years now, and I almost exclusively use mine for notifications, music controls, and checking quick information like the weather. These quick, shallow interactions are much more suited to a glanceable interface paradigm like widgets. Google is about to open their tiles API to developers, which should bring a widget-like experience to WearOS, but I think this can go further.
Chrome OS proved that a web-based interface can provide a smooth experience with lower costs, better battery life and performance, and easier development. Why not bring this idea to especially constrained form-factors like smartwatches?
The market tends to argue between round and square watches. Rounded screens feel more classic, and the lack of corners preserves content size while cutting down on display surface area to power. Square screens are more modern and provide space for larger batteries and more sensors. I went with a hybrid approach: a distinct rounded screen with a square body. This reduces screen power, allows for a larger battery, and creates a distinct design to stand out in the market.