What is a Smartwatch,
What is a smartwatch you ask? At the moment they can generally be described as an accessory that makes a connection with your smartphone and for limited information contained in your smartphone to be accessed from a watch like device that is strapped on your wrist.
But with the expected rapid development of the next generation of smartwatches it won't be long before they become the must have item of wearable computing, and as computer power is being squeezed into smaller and smaller devices the smartwatch will be able to expand its functionality. We already have smartwatches that let you check your facebook, twitter and email box, check the stockmarket or weather reports or act as a speakerphone. Also, the apps industry is alive and well, and so we can expect to see the development of smartwatch apps to greatly expand their ability to connect to the world around us.
While Smartwatches have been around for some time it is only now that they are becoming the next big thing in computing and the computer enterpreneurs do not want to be left out. Remember the first mobile phones, the ones that were like a brick, heavy and cumbersome and you had to extend the aerial to make and receive a call? What a gigantic change to today's phones. We can expect the same development with the smartwatch, perhaps it will transform into just a thin flat wrist band of brightly coloured icons that allow full internet access with voice recognition. The future will be interesting.
Smartwatch BrandsBut what can a smartwatch do now? While we wait for the future we have some interesting smartwatches to consider, and perhaps "Pebble" is one of the best known at the moment. It is not a computing device in its own right but is an add-on to a smartphone and links up to Android and iOS systems. The Pebble smartwatch is operated by side knobs just like a normal watch and has a 175 ppi screen, and many apps can be obtained from www.allpebble.com.
Released in September 2013 Samsung's Galaxy Gear is a 1.6 inch colour touchscreen smartwatch in a stainless steel case with its own 800MHz processor, 512MB of Ram and 4GB of storage, it has a microphone and speaker and is presently designed to work in conjunction with Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 phone. Having a a microphone and speaker allows you to talk to and listen to voice from a watch on your wrist, and the watch does not need to be put up close to your face. What a great way of communicating while your hands are busy, and a quick swipe gives access to make a voice call, to record a message or to use it as a 1.9 megapixel camera.
Sony have a smartwatch for android devices and the connection is by bluetooth and with great list of apps available it is one of the most functional smartwatches. It can be programmed to send a reply message back to callers or repond to a text message and apps include missed call information, a phone book, you can interact with Facebook and Twitter, and get weather reports.
With Metawatch Strata you do not have to keep checking your smartphone as incoming info such as stock market reports or weather conditions is delivered to your watch. Each side of the watch has 3 contol knobs which control different functions according to the screen display, and, you can display four watch faces simultaneously.
The Martian Passport watch was one of the earlier smartwatches and so tended to look somewhat like an ordinary wrist watch with numerals and hands, and is compatible with Android and iOS systems. It had rather limited capability with its main attributes being a text message reader and being able to act as a speaker phone.
Another smartpwatch that has been un-tied from its smartphone host is the Omate TrueSmart which allows you to make calls and send text messages. It has its own Flesky keyboard, Android processor, an icon menu, and recognises a swipe action. Pre-orders are now being taken by Omate for anticipated December 2013 delivery of 512MB/4GB or 1GB/8GB models
And now the smartwatch world is eagerly waiting for announcements from Apple about their iWatch which is rumoured to be available in late 2014, and with Apple's background it should be something to watch out for.
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