At least 3 smart watches have been launched since the start of the year; with the Samsung Galaxy Gearbeing the most popular in Nigeria. Sony’s Sony Smartwatch 2 and the Qualcomm Toq have also enjoyed some measure of popularity in other parts of the world while Acer, Apple, Google, LG,Microsoft and Toshiba all reportedly have smartwatch lines in the works. Tech companies aren’t the only ones who’ve caught the smartwatch bug as Japanese automaker, Nissan also launched asmartwatch early September which would connect the smartwatch wearer to their car.
Smartwatches have been in existence since the 70′s, however, 2013 seems to be the year of their re-birth. With the smartphone market getting increasingly saturated, it appears more tech companies are looking to explore other areas of technology and that includes wearable devices. But the question is, will smartwatches fare as well as smart phones?
In the beginning…
The first smartwatch can be traced back to the 70′s when Japanese watch company, Seiko became one of the first known companies to develop wrist computing technology. This eventually paved the way forPulsar, the first digital watch. Early digital watches models were known to perform such basic tasks as calculations, translations, and game-playing.
In 2000, IBM displayed a prototype for a wristwatch that ran Linux which was an upgrade of the earlier digital watches. The prototype had amongst other more advanced features extended battery life,8MB of memory and a fingerprint sensor. IBM later began talks with Citizen Watch Co. to create a line of watches, the watchpad which would be targeted at students and businessmen but the project was eventually cancelled.
With a market that’s consistently hungry for innovation, tech companies have rapidly began to explore the option of wearable devices. As such, smartwatches have undergone massive development from their early days sporting much more advanced features like GPS tracking, phone calling, emailing andsocial media abilities. The new line of smartwatches are also expected to have syncing abilities working alongside phones/tabs as is the case with the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3.
But do people really care about smartwatches?
The response to smartwatches has so far been lacklustre. At the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Gear, reactions were mostly on the fence. The Sony 2 and Qualcom Toq have not fared any better; the general verdict being who needs another communication device with the availability of smartphones and tablets? While it may be easy to dismiss the smartwatch as another far-off venture, the fact remains that several currently leading technological innovations were met with some initial skepticism, most notable being the iPhone.
The current crop of smartwatches may be ridden with skepticism and half answered questions but there’s no doubt that smartwatches will be the device of the future. For one, technology is rapidly becoming more personal and handy – PCs gave way to laptops and laptops are giving way tosmartphones and tablets. In addition, they’re also poised to become even more communicative with their current features of emailing, calling and social media communication developing even further and possibly eventually eliminating the need for having multiple gadgets.
Is history about to repeat itself?
Here’s a clip of Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer laughing dismissively at the concept of the iPhone when it was first launched in 2007. Ballmer, had at the time said iPhones had a slim chance of breaking even because they had no keypads. Six years later, the iPhone is one of the world’s top selling smartphones. Go figure!