The Rise Of The SmartWatch
For thousands of years the human race has been obsessed with measuring time and creating devices to make it easier for people to watch time fly by. But man has another obsession: technology and since the 1970s designers and developers have been working to combine the two together.
First there was Pulsar’s digital watches, but these failed because the technology was too expensive and unreliable. It wasn’t until Casio launched a decade later that digital watches became a must have fashion item. From calculators to digital memo devices, if you could miniaturise it and stick it on a watch Casio would. But eventually digital watches decreased in popularity as the novelty of having a calculator or mini-computer on your wrist wore off.
However, due to the recent overwhelming success of smartphones, developers are aiming to produce watches that once again do more than just tell the time. With many of the features of Casio watches from the 1980s and 1990s now available on an inexpensive smartphone, the modern digital watch must do more if it’s to stand out from the crowd.
The current trend is to produce ‘smartwatches’ that work alongside smartphones for when users are unable to use their phone. With Samsung, Apple and now Microsoft rumoured to be launching their own ‘smartwatches’, the war is about to heat up. Therefore the three most well known smart watches currently on the market – Sony, Pebble and Cookoo – could soon be facing some stiff competition.
Sony’s Smart Watch enables wearers to read texts, emails and social media updates as well as receive notification of incoming and missed calls. It also incorporates the usual digital watch features such as dust and splash resistance, a stopwatch and 12/24 hour modes. Customisation options available include downloadable apps and interchangeable straps that can be removed to allow the wearer to place the watch on a belt.
However, there are a few issues with the Sony Smart Watch, namely the lack of true 3rd party integration – meaning users are forced to use the stock Sony apps if they want to make the most of the watch’s features – and the fact that it only connects to Android phones.
Thanks to the crowd funding website Kick-starter, smaller developers are also getting in on the action, with the Pebble and Cookoo both funded via the site. The Pebble’s big selling point is that the watch face design can be changed instantly depending on mood/activity/outfit, whilst it also allows users to control music and review calls/texts/social media alerts. The watch is more customisation friendly than the Sony and comes with an internal researchable battery via a USB cable.
Finally, the Cookoo ‘smartwatch’ (below) has limited Android connectivity and customisation options but it does connect to Apple devices, unlike the Sony or Pebble. The watch can be paired with the iPhone 5/4s as well as the 3rd & 4th generation iPad, the iPad mini and iPod touch, with the developers saying more devices will be added in the future.
The Cookoo also includes incoming/missed call notifications, FaceBook messages, calendar reminders and alerts for low battery and when devices are out of range.