Smartwatch ‘smart straps’ died for a reason. I still want them to come back.

Sunday Runday

(Image credit: Android Central)

In this weekly column, Android Central Wearables Editor Michael Hicks talks about the world of wearables, apps, and fitness tech related to running and health, in his quest to get faster and more fit.

This week, Polar released a 22mm “Payment Wristband” with an NFC chip embedded into the strap, enabling tap-to-pay if your watch doesn’t support it. We haven’t seen tech-filled watch bands since the early days of Pebble and Galaxy Gear, but Polar’s modular tech has me curious if this abandoned idea deserves a renaissance.

Smart straps died for several reasons. Put tech in a strap, and it naturally loses its flexibility, is more prone to failure, requires a power source, and is generally less comfortable. It also prevents users from swapping in their own straps since it means losing functionality.

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