Smartwatch

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This article is about smartwatches generally. For the Sony brand, see Sony SmartWatch. For the Microsoft technology, see Smart Personal Objects Technology.
Pebble, a 2013 smartwatch that communicates with the user's phone using Bluetooth
The WIMM One, wearable computer powered by Android.

A smartwatch (or smart watch) is a computerized wristwatch with functionality that is enhanced beyond timekeeping. While early models can perform basic tasks, such as calculations, translations, and game-playing, modern smartwatches are effectively wearable computers. Many smartwatches run mobile apps, while a smaller number of models run a mobile operating system and function as portable media players, offering playback of FM radio, audio, and video files to the user via a Bluetooth headset. Some smartwatches models, also called watch phones, feature full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls.[1][2][3]

Such devices may include features such as a camera, accelerometer, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, calculator, cell phone, touch screen, GPS navigation, Map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, watch, SDcards that are recognized as a mass storage device by a computer, and rechargeable battery. It may communicate with a wireless headset, heads-up display, insulin pump, microphone, modem, or other devices.[citation needed]

Some also have "sport watch" functionality with activity tracker features (also known as "fitness tracker") as seen in GPS watches made for Training, Diving, and Outdoor sports. Functions may include training programs (such as intervals), Lap times, speed display, GPS tracking unit, Route tracking, dive computer, heart rate monitor compatibility, Cadence sensor compatibility, and compatibility with sport transitions (as in triathlons).

Like other computers, a smartwatch may collect information from internal or external sensors. It may control, or retrieve data from, other instruments or computers. It may support wireless technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. However, it is possible a "wristwatch computer" may just serve as a front end for a remote system, as in the case of watches utilizing cellular technology or Wi-Fi.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The first digital watch, which debuted in 1972, was the Pulsar manufactured by Hamilton Watch Company. "Pulsar" became a brand name which would later be acquired by Seiko in 1978. In 1982, a Pulsar watch (NL C01) was released which could store 24 digits, making it most likely the first watch with user-programmable memory, or "memorybank" watch.[4] With the introduction of personal computers in the 1980s, Seiko began to develop watches with computing ability. The Data 2000 watch (1983) came with an external keyboard for data-entry. Data was synced from the keyboard to the watch via electro-magnetic coupling (wireless docking). The name stems from its ability to store 2000 characters. The D409 was the first Seiko model with on-board data entry (via a miniature keyboard) and featured a dot matrix display.[5] Its memory was tiny, at only 112 digits.[4] It was released in 1984 in gold, silver and black.[6] These models were followed by many others by Seiko during the 1980s, most notably the "RC Series":

During the 1980s, Casio began to market a successful line of "computer watches", in addition to its calculator watches. Most notable was the Casio data bank series. Novelty "game watches", such as the Nelsonic game watches, were also produced by Casio and other companies.[citation needed]

Seiko RC series[edit]

The RC-1000 Wrist Terminal was the first Seiko model to interface with a computer, and was released in 1984.[5] It was compatible with most of the popular PCs of that time, including Apple II,II+ and IIe, the Commodore 64, IBM PC, NEC 8201, Tandy Color Computer, Model 1000, 1200, 2000 and TRS-80 Model I, III, 4 and 4p.

The RC-20 Wrist Computer was released in 1985 under the joint brand name "Seiko Epson".[7][8] It had a SMC84C00 8-bit Z-80 microprocessor; 8 KB of ROM and 2 KB of RAM. It had applications for scheduling, memos, and world time and a four-function calculator app. The dot-matrix LCD displayed 42×32 pixels, and more importantly, was touch-sensitive. Like the RC-1000, it could be connected to a personal computer, in this case through a proprietary cable. It was also notable in that it could be programmed, although its small display and limited storage severely limited application development.[5]

The RC-4000 PC Data graph also released in 1985, was dubbed the "world's smallest computer terminal".[5] It had 2 KB of storage. The RC-4500 (1985), also known as the Wrist Mac, had the same features as the RC-4000, but came in a variety of bright, flashy colors.

Linux watch[edit]

The first Linux Smartwatch[9] was presented at IEEE ISSCC2000, 2000 February 7, where presenter Steve Mann was named "the father of wearable computing".[10] This Linux Smartwatch also appeared on the cover and was the feature article of LJ Issue 75.[11]

In 1998, Steve Mann invented, designed, and built the world's first Linux wristwatch,[12] which he presented at IEEE ISSCC2000, 2000 February 7, where he was named "the father of wearable computing".[10]

See also Linux Journal,[13] where Mann's Linux wristwatch appeared on the cover and was the feature article of LJ Issue 75.

In June 2000, IBM displayed a prototype for a wristwatch that ran Linux. The original version had only 6 hours of battery life, which was later extended to 12.[14] It featured 8MB of memory and ran Linux 2.2.[15] The device was later upgraded with an accelerometer, vibrating mechanism, and fingerprint sensor. IBM began to collaborate with Citizen Watch Co. to create the "WatchPad". The WatchPad 1.5 features 320 × 240 QVGA display and runs Linux 2.4.[16] It also features calendar software, Bluetooth, 8 MB of RAM and 16 MB of flash memory.[17][18] Citizen was hoping to market the watch to students and businessmen, with a retail price of around $399.[18] However, the project was discontinued sometime around 2001–2002.

2003[edit]

The Fossil Wrist PDA, running Palm OS c.2003.

American-based watch company Fossil, Inc. released its Fossil Wrist PDA running Palm OS.

2004[edit]

Microsoft releases the SPOT smartwatch. SPOT stands for Smart Personal Objects Technology, an initiative by Microsoft to personalize household electronics and other everyday gadgets. The watch was supposed to offer information at a glance where other devices would have required more immersion and interaction. The SPOT Watch had a monochrome 90×126 pixel screen.[19]

2013[edit]

Consumer device analyst Avi Greengart, from research firm Current Analysis, suggested that 2013 may be the "year of the smartwatch", as "the components have gotten small enough and cheap enough" and many consumers own smartphones that are compatible with a wearable device. Wearable technology, such as Google Glass, may evolve into a business worth US$6 billion annually and a July 2013 media report revealed that the majority of major consumer electronics manufacturers were undertaking work on a smartwatch device at the time of publication. The retail price of a smartwatch could be over US$300, plus data charges, while the minimum cost of smartphone-linked devices may be US$100.[20][21]

As of July 5, 2013, the list of companies that were engaged in smartwatch development activities consists of Acer, Apple, BlackBerry, Foxconn/Hon Hai, Google, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba. Some notable omissions from this list include HP, HTC, Lenovo, and Nokia.[21] Science and technology journalist Christopher Mims identified the following points in relation to the future of smartwatches:

  • The physical size of smartwatches is likely to be large.
  • Insufficient battery life is an ongoing problem for smartwatch developers, as the battery life of devices at the time of publication was three to four days and this is likely to be reduced if further functions are added.
  • New display technologies will be invented as a result of smartwatch research.
  • The success level of smartwatches is unpredictable, as they may follow a similar trajectory to netbooks, or they may fulfil aims akin to those of Google Glass, another wearable electronic product.[22]

Acer's S.T. Liew stated in an interview with British gadget website Pocket-Lint, "... I think every consumer company should be looking at wearable. Wearable isn’t new … it just hasn’t exploded in the way that it should. But the opportunity’s for billions of dollars’ worth of industry."[23]

As of September 4, 2013, three new smartwatches have been launched: the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony SmartWatch 2,[24] and the Qualcomm Toq.[25] PHTL, a company based in Dallas, Texas, US, completed is crowd-funding process on the Kickstarter website for its HOT Watch smartwatch in early September 2013. PHTL explained that the purpose of its device is to enable users to leave their handsets in their pockets or bags, as the HOT Watch has a directional speaker for phone calls in both quiet and noisy environments.[26]

In a September 2013 interview, Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky stated that his company was not interested in any acquisition offers,[27] but revealed in a November 2013 interview that his company has sold 190,000 of its smartwatch model, the majority of which were sold after its Kickstarter campaign closed.[22]

Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside confirmed that his company is working on a smartwatch device at the time of a December 6, 2013 interview.[28] Woodside showed an awareness of the difficulties that other companies have experienced with wrist-wearable technologies and explained:

There’s clearly gonna be something that changes on your wrist, how it works and what exactly it is is something our teams are working on hard. Whatever it is, it has to compete with what works now ... We can’t have something fragile, we can’t have something that needs to be charged everyday. You’re going to have to have some functionality that’s just killer otherwise why spend the money on yet another product.[22]

2014[edit]

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show a large number of new smartwatches were released from various companies such as Razer Inc,[29] Archos,[30] and several other companies, as well as a few startups. Some have begun to call the 2014 CES a "wrist revolution"[31] because of the amount of smartwatches release and the huge amount of publicity they began to receive at the start of 2014.

At Google I/O on June 25, 2014, the Android Wear platform was introduced and the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live were released. The Wear-based Moto 360 was announced by Motorola in 2014.[32] At the end of July, Swatch's CEO Nick Hayek announced that they will launch a Swatch Touch with smartwatch technologies in 2015.[33]

The launch of Samsung's Gear S smartwatch was covered by the media in late August 2014. The model features a curved Super AMOLED display and a built-in 3G modem, with technology writer Darrell Etherington stating on the TechCrunch website, "we’re finally starting to see displays that wrap around the contours of the wrist, rather than sticking out as a traditional flat surface." The corporation will commence selling the Gear S smartwatch in October 2014 alongside the Gear Circle headset accessory.[34]

At IFA 2014 Sony Mobile announced the third generation of its smartwatch series, the Sony Smartwatch 3 powered by Android Wear.[35]

On September 9, 2014, Apple Inc. announced its first smartwatch called Apple Watch to be released in early 2015.[36]

Features and applications[edit]

As with other sport watches, the GPS tracking unit can be used to record historical data. For example, after the completion of a workout, data can be uploaded onto a computer or online to create a log of exercise activities for analysis. Some smart watches can serve as full GPS navigation devices, displaying maps and current coordinates. Users can "mark" their current location and then edit the entry's name and coordinates, which enables navigation to those new coordinates.

Although most smartwatch models manufactured in the 21st century are completely functional as standalone products, many of the devices that are manufactured now are required to be paired with a mobile phone running the same operating system, this allows the watch to run not only as a watch but a remote to the phone. This allows the device to alert the user to communication data such as calls, SMS messages, emails, and calendar invites.

Smartwatch Hardware comparison[edit]

Product SKU Announced Processor RAM/Flash Resolution Display Size (in) Weight (oz) Size (in) Battery (mAh) OS BT WLAN Cell GPS NFC Wireless Charging
Samsung Galaxy Gear[37] SM-V700 Sept 4, 2013 Single-Core 800 MHz Exynos4212[38] 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.63 2.6 1.45x2.23x0.44 315 Android 4.0 LE
Samsung Gear 2[39] SM-R380 Feb 22, 2014 Dual-Core 1 GHz Exynos3250 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.63 2.4 1.45x2.30x0.39 300 Tizen 4.0 LE
Samsung Gear 2 Neo[40] SM-R381 Feb 22, 2014 Dual-Core 1 GHz Exynos3250 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.63 1.94 1.49x2.31x0.39 300 Tizen 4.0 LE
Samsung Gear Live[41] SM-R382 June 25, 2014 Single-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226[42] 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.63 2.12 1.49x2.57x0.54 300 Android Wear 4.0 LE
Samsung Gear Fit[43] SM-R350 Apr 11, 2014 STM32F439[44] 160 MHz 128x432 1.84 0.95 0.92x2.26x0.47 210 Samsung 4.0
Samsung Gear S[45] SM-R750 Aug 28, 2014 Dual-Core 1 GHz 512MB/4GB 360x480 2 1.57x2.23x0.49 300 Tizen 4.1 bgn 2G/3G Yes
LG G Watch[46] W100 June 25, 2014 Quad-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226 512MB/4GB 280x280 1.65 2.22 1.57x1.83x0.39 400 Android Wear 4.0 LE
LG G Watch R[47] Sept 4, 2014 Quad-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.3 1.83x1.83x0.43 410 Android Wear 4.0 LE
ASUS ZenWatch[48] WI500Q Sept 3, 2014 Quad-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.63 2.67 1.57x1.99x0.37 410 Android Wear 4.0
Sony SmartWatch 2[49] SW2 June 25, 2013 Single-Core 180 MHz CM4 220x176 1.6 2.67 1.65x1.61x0.35 140 MicroC/OS-II 3.0 Yes
Sony SmartWatch 3[50] Sept 3, 2014 Quad-Core 1.2 GHz 512MB/4GB 320x320 1.6 1.34 1.42x2.0x0.39 420 Android Wear 4.0 LE Yes Yes
Motorola Moto 360[51] Moto 360 Mar 18, 2014 Single-Core 1 GHz TI OMAP 3 512MB/4MB 320x290 1.56 1.7 1.81x1.81x0.45 320 Android Wear 4.0 LE Qi
Apple Watch Sept 9, 2014 Apple S1 1.5x1.28x0.5 4.0 LE bgn Yes Inductive
Pebble Apr 11, 2012 Single-Core STM32F205RE 120 MHz CM3 128MB/4MB 144x168 1.5 1.34 2.45x1.42x0.45 140 Pebble OS 4.0 LE
Qualcomm ToQ Sept 4, 2013 200 MHz CM3 288x192 1.55 3.2 1.7x1.87x0.39 240 QCOM OS 3.0 WiPower

List of smart watches in production[edit]

Smart watches Company
Sony SmartWatch [52] Sony
SmartWatch 2[52] Sony
Qualcomm Toq[25] Qualcomm
Pebble Watch Pebble
Wearing Digital WEDA (Slap Band)[53] Wearing Digital
Ruputer Seiko
Timex Datalink[54] Timex Group USA
Garmin Forerunner Garmin
NikeFuel Nike, Inc.
WIMM One Wimm Labs
Motorola Motoactv Motorola
Motorola Moto 360 Motorola
MetaWatch Strata Meta Watch, Ltd
Samsung Galaxy Gear[52] Samsung
Samsung Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear Fit[55] Samsung
Kreyos Meteor Kreyos
GEAK Watch[56]  ?
i'm Watch i'm S.p.A
HOT Watch[26]  ?
Omate TrueSmart Omate
Z1 Android Watch-Phone  ?
Fashion S9110  ?
LG GD910 (limited edition) LG
Hyundai MB 910 Hyundai
ANDROID SmartWatch[57]  ?
LG G Watch[58] LG
Samsung Gear Live Samsung
Samsung Gear S Samsung[34]
  • While more are in production with current development, some companies are using popular outlets such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo to fund their projects.[59]

Smart watch comparison[edit]

Smart watch Company OS Android iOS CPU Type Bluetooth NFC Developer Options GPS Notify Link Loss Alert Notify Missed Call Notify Timer Notify View Content Call Conversation Find My Phone Voice Control Respond to Notifications Notify Sound Notify Backlit Screen Notify Vibration Ambient Light Sensor Gyroscope Magnetometer Multi-touch Accelerometer Water Resistance Clock Display Type Screen Size, Inches Screen Resolution, pixels Display Technology Average Battery Life, days Battery Capacity, mAh Battery Technology Case Diameter, mm Case Thickness, mm Wrist Band Width, mm Weight (main unit+watchband), g Wristband Options Replaceable Wristbands LED Flashlight
HOT Smart Watch PHTL Proprietary 2.3-4.2 5-7 Cortex M3 Processor 4.0 No Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Splash Proof Digital 1.26 Unknown Black and White ePaper 3 Unknown Unknown 54 8 24.4 Unknown Unknown No Yes
Pebble Pebble Pebble OS 2.3-4.2 5-7 ARM Cortex-M3 4.0 No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes 50m (5 atm) Digital 1.26 144x168 Black and White ePaper 7 140 Lithium-ion 58.4 11 22 121 White, Black Yes No
Pebble Steel Pebble Pebble OS 2.3-4.2 5-7 ARM Cortex-M3 4.0 No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes 50m (5 atm) Digital 1.26 Unknown Black and White ePaper Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes No
SmartWatch 2 Sony Micrium uC/OS-II 4.0+ No Unknown 3.0 Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown No Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Yes No Unknown No Yes Yes Splash Proof Digital 1.6 220x176 LCD 4 Unknown Unknown 58.6 9 24 123 Unknown Yes Unknown

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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