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From Smartphone to Smartwatch

Posted October 17, 2013 9:00 AM by cheme_wordsmithy

I remember the days when cell phones didn't do anything but send and receive calls. Now calling seems to be more of a secondary function to the text messaging, internet surfing, picture-taking, day planning (the list goes on) abilities that the majority of phones possess today. And now the next phase of "smart" technology has made its way to the market - the smartwatch.

<-- The ancient cellular phone: simple and BIG - Via Hoketronics.net

The smartwatch - Via phonearena.com -->

A smartwatch is defined by its ability to do more than just keep time. The concept is seen in countless spy and action movies where the hero has high-tech wearable electronics (James Bond, Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget anybody?). The history of the smartwatch dates back to the 1980s, when personal computers made their debut. Watches like Seiko's Data 2000 and D409 in 1983 were the first of their kind to incorporate data-entry functionality. The 1980s also spawned Casio's "computer watches," "calculator watches," and "game watches."

Dick Tracy admiring his awesome watch - Via fossforce.com -->

Fast forward twenty-five years and we enter the next phase of the smartwatch. With the development of the internet and the ability to manufacture much smaller computer parts, the imagined capabilities of smartwatch technology grew more ambitious. But unfortunately, the world just wasn't ready for these devices yet, as failures in the marketplace showed.

One of the most notable of these blunders was Microsoft's SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) software, developed in 2004. It used FM radio waves to transmit content like news and weather to devices running the technology for $59/year. The few watch models that implemented SPOT were canned along with the software in 2008.

Other failures include phone watches such as LG's GD910 and Samsung's S9110 which came out in 2009. These devices were literally touchscreen phones on your wrist. Though they were functional, the idea of taking calls from your wrist just didn't appeal to most.

LG's GD910, a phone watch attempt - Via BusinessInsider.com

Nowadays, the "smart" in smartwatch (and smartphone, smart TV, etc.) has been largely redefined to specifically indicate online capability. And such is the case with this year's surge of smartwatches (including products from Samsung and Sony), which can be paired with compatible smartphones via Bluetooth to perform "useful" functions such as displaying updates, making calls, and taking photos. They also (like smartphones) come preloaded with a number of apps for added functionality.

Sony's SmartWatch 2 - Via PCMAG

To someone like me, today's smartwatches seem like non-essential overpriced luxury items for tech-toy lovers. Gizmo's like Nissan's Nismo make me even more biased. But relevancy and demand are for the market to decide, just as it was for the smartphone just a few years ago. I imagine the smartwatch will eventually become a part of daily life for many people alongside their smartphones.

I meanwhile will be looking at my low-tech digital watch and wondering where the time went, remembering the days when watches did nothing but tell time.


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Re: From Smartphone to Smartwatch

10/17/2013 9:08 AM

Frankly, when they came out with these in the 80's.......... the buttons were too small as well and the screen........ more so now with poorer eyesight....... These is just a novelty item, unless they do thing specific...... and this we already have.

  • like, medication reminders or dispensers.
  • Health Monitors, exercising
  • Emergency Notifying

So it is not all novelty.

“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood

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Re: From Smartphone to Smartwatch

10/22/2013 4:32 PM

It is called "intersectional innovation", where you not only improve on the technology of a product but also bring in additional technologies. When that happens you have the opportunities for huge growth of an industry.

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Ford, Henry
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