What to ‘Watch Out’ for…

Much has been made of the upcoming iWatch, and it’s various competitors. But are you up to date with the facts and opinions which matter?

Fact #1: Smart watches are not a recent invention. 

Ah, memories. You’re either thinking about that kid you bullied… or wondering why you never kept your lunch money.

Some could argue that the Cassio Calculator watches of the 80’s were the starting point for the Smartwatches of today. But as that’s kind of like saying that the giant tiger mascot is the frontrunner for Usain Bolt. We probably have to step somewhat closer to the modern day to find it’s true origins. Until the decade of 2000, while some watches had processing ability, it was very limited, not at all programmable and there was no capability for saving anything that you were doing, i.e., pretty pointless. Similarly, Databank watches in the 90’s might have had their uses, but ultimately they were just storage devices, basically just displaying information, and most importantly, they had no processing capabilities, which makes them difficult to file under the heading Smart Watch.

Like have Windows 3.1 on your wrist

But by 2000, Seiko had come a lot closer, and produced their Ruputer, which supported arbitrary code, had data input and synchronization capabilities, and could hold a fair amount of information.

Skip forward half a decade, and  in 2005, Fossil was able to launch the Palm OS-based Wrist PDA. Although the hardware was dated, the battery life and capabilities poor, without this guy, we would be many steps further away from playing Candy Crush on our wrists.

Fact #2 : You could even buy some vaguely useful wrist bling now.

Available today, (and much prettier than the eyesores of the previous decade) are the following choice pickings. Enjoy them before they become heirlooms against the most egotistical letter of the alphabet and it’s slightly scruffier rivals.

Watch3

If I get one to match my shoes, no one will notice it does absolutely nothing else.

1. Sony Ericsson’s LiveView (Limited capability, OLED screen which means default setting is off. Really useful for a watch that you intend to glance at several times a day.)

  • 2. Sony SmartWatch (Heyyy they patented a future word, no fair. The updated version of the LiveView. Same problems, but faster.)

3. Alberta InPulse. (Also OLED screen, as above, intended for Blackberry use.)

4. WIMM one. (First Android watch. Switchable screens, Widgets and a screen that you can use to tell the time. Y’know, like on a watch.)

5. Motorola MOTOACTV (Intended as a fitness device and media player, much like the iPod Nano with accessories. Capability low but a sleek design.)

Fact #3: Most people agree (ahead of time) that Smart Watches are a step too far.

People who need an operating system on their wrist are few and far between. The MOTOACTV is a smart move if you are a professional athlete or serious runner, combining GPS, fitness stats and some bouncing tunes to keep you motivated, while simultaneously keeping your hands free to swing methodically at your sides. If you’re standing on a crowded commuter train, staring at your wrist for longer than it takes to take in GMT is going to make you a) look odd, and b) feel queasy.

No one is seriously advocating watching TV or movies on a two inch screen, and neither are we eager to tweet, facebook, google or any other twenty first century verb with our elbows pointed outwards. So what’s the best we can expect?

Perhaps the upcoming MetaWatch has the answer.

Watch5

It basically keeps your notifications handy, with a unique home screen that shows number of emails, text messages, missed calls and weather info. Basically everything you need to know while sitting in a work meeting, and all able to be casually glanced at without incurring the wrath of your boss sitting opposite you on the conference table.

Necessary? No. Useful? Sure, why not.

With that in mind…

Fact #4: If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably end up with one of the below. Read carefully so you know what adjectives to use when you tell people how ‘essential’ it has become to your life. 

The iWatch
Exhaustively rumoured about, with no facts whatsoever, this watch is Apparently  going to be made of curved 90’s slap band style glass, which would make it comfortable as well as amazingly trendy and futuristic looking, in keeping with Apple’s shiny reputation.

Low Energy Bluetooth and a 1.5 inch display are Likely  to be it’s weapons of choice. Which hopefully means it will leave room for sleeves on your arm. (The same cant be presumed of whatever Samsung develop clearly.)

It is Rumoured  to be having Siri, helping us all look like secret agents, and therefore May have some kind of IOS working for it.

We think we can agree it will complete the Apple Mad trifecta of iPhone, iPad, iWatch that all those Geniuses so cleverly make for us…er.. Lesser Geniuses.

Just as widely rumoured about, but confirmed ‘also runnings’ are:

  • Samsung
  • Google
  • LG

But if you just cant wait for them to publicise release dates, let alone for the actual slap of glass on wrist… (get used to that phrase), then there really is only one choice, available now and sure to make you feel ahead of the game…

The Pebble

Clever battery conserving E-Ink screen (like a Kindle) means it lasts for 7+ days and is exceptionally clear to read, and the first Smart-watch which is neither prohibitively expensive or prohibitively ugly.

Caller ID, Email Alerts, Customisable notifications, Waterproof, Shatterproof and compatible with Android or IOS, all through Bluetooth. Pretty cool, but with all the downsides of anything Bluetooth related, and also of being the first to bravely go where no watch has gone before. It probably won’t  be the last smart watch you ever buy. But it will  stop you trawling the internet for more articles like these for the time being.

Fact #5: Oh ok, we want one.