Since being introduced in 1994, smartphones have grown from novelty to necessity. Now relied upon for everything from communication to scheduling and navigation, smartphones have grown popular. So popular, in fact, that nobody seems to have noticed a new innovation on the rise: Smart Watches.
As a wearable device that acts as an interface for users to connect with their smartphones, smart watches are like a bridge. The technology behind them was intended for timekeeping, but is capable of much more, including displaying smart phone notifications, remotely controlling a smartphone, and tracking fitness statistics. Smart watches won’t replace your smartphone (at least not yet), but some analysts have already declared 2013 “The Year of the Smart Watch” for a reason. So it’s possible, in the not-too-distant future, that the “bridge” becomes a bonafide destination.
“Time” and Space
The market for watches is already a $60 billion per year industry and this number stands to grow as manufacturers previously associated with PCs, smartphones, and televisions start making time for smart timekeepers. While luxury watch-makers don’t seem concerned, the demand for smart watches is growing.
Sony was the first large company to release a smart watch and its most recent offering, the SmartWatch 2, is operated by smartphone-like “swiping” action. Though it doesn’t make calls, the SmartWatch 2 delivers detailed updates and a wide range of apps, including Facebook, camera, sports tracker and music, all in an attractive, water-resistant package. SmartWatch 2 is among the least expensive and is compatible with Android systems.
The CooKoo (by ConnecteDevice), for iOS, is another inexpensive alternative. It looks like a traditional watch but keeps you connected with your smartphone and doesn’t need to be recharged. It has a beautiful design and a long battery life but, according to Laptop Magazine, also lacks features available with other smart watches. For the low price, it may still be worth considering.
The I’m Watch (by I’m S.p.a.) offers multi-tasking and is easy to use via touch, drag, or swipe. The I’m Watch is compatible with both iOS and Android systems and it looks futuristic, but its performance doesn’t live up to its futuristic style or high price, according to Laptop Magazine.
The Passport (by Martian) is compatible with both iOS and Android, and is similarly high-priced, but can be voice-controlled, which may make you feel like super sleuth, Dick Tracy. The Passport has “style galore” but is ultimately more of a “cool novelty” than necessity, according to CNET.com. Described as “funky,” it is also among the high priced devices on this list.
If you want to track your exercise routine, receive game-day updates from your favorite teams, or if you prefer voice navigation to the usual touch, there is Pebble (by Pebble Technologies). Borne of a Kickstarter project that sought $100K but ended up with $10 million, the Pebble has many apps, including for cycling, running and golf, and was named Editors Choice by PC Magazine despite being one of the least expensive. Like I’m Watch and the Passport, Pebble is compatible with both iOS and Android systems.
Is it Time for Smart Time Keepers?
That depends on you and your need to stay connected to your smartphone. Not all smart watches are alike and with so many smart watches available, it’s important to take the time needed to make an informed decision on whether it’s a smart time for you to get a smart watch.
— By Tim Alan