Welcome to the future – but is the future ready for Smart Watches, and are they ready for us, now? Will they become just one more thing that we have to keep a charger handy for? Do you really want to have a conversation on your watch (think “James Bond”, maybe)? If Smart Watches are the wave of the future, what options are available, and which are the best? What ARE Smart Watches?
A Smart Watch is an additional interface for users to interact with their smartphones, and they’re often comparable to PDA devices. Many are effectively wearable mini-computers. They are used to display smartphone notifications, control a smartphone remotely, and track fitness and other gesture-related activities; as well as still keeping time. They offer features that vary from model to model, some of which include a camera, accelerometer, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, calculator, touch screen, GPS navigation, map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, watch, SDcards, and rechargeable batteries; along with cell phone interaction capabilities. In addition to cell phones, they may also communicate with a wireless devices (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS), heads-up displays, insulin pumps, microphones, modems, or other devices. Some Smart Watches can also function as portable media players, while still some offer full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls.
At this time, the market is still in its infancy and there is no Smart Watch that it can really be said is head and shoulders above the rest. It seems as though the race to get the products onto the market has caused manufacturers to provide buyers with incomplete product offerings. However, many of these can and will be improved with firmware and software updates. There are also quite a lot of Smart Watches, currently in development, that are due to be released by the end of the year – including those from very well-known electronic and computing names, such as Apple, Google, and Samsung.
The Pebble Smartwatch, designed as a stand alone smart device that functions in tandem with the user’s smartphone, is currently the crowd favorite. It has a battery life that will last for 5 -7 days, before needing to charge – which is done with a USB charging cable; and of course, includes Bluetooth technology. This offering is compatible with iPhone and Android operating systems – although it does seem to be more useful with iOS; but still offers a lack of useful software. That being said, it does have the ability to be upgraded through firmware and completed through software; and due to its popularity, it’s most likely that useful and productive apps will be available shortly. This timepiece sells on their website for $150.
Martian Passport Smartwatch is possibly the most elegant of the ones currently available. Unlike the Pebble, it is designed to be used simply as an extension of the smartphone. It has 2+ hours of talk time and 7 days of standby time, charges via USB to computer or power adapter, and has a charging time of 2 hours. It offers useful features, such as hands-free voice commands, messages and alerts display, smartphone camera control, call conversation, and shake to dismiss notification. It is compatible with both iOS and Android, and costs around $299.
The Sony Smartwatch 2 (SW2) has the possibility to be a real contender in this market, with a wide range of apps available, and a plethora of features, such as One-touch NFC (pair your SmartWatch 2 with your NFC phone by touching one device on the other), phone remote to make or receive calls, and text messages, emails, calendar, call log, and more. However, it is only Android-compatible. Normal usage gives you up to 4 days before you need to recharge it (low usage 7 days), and it charges with a micro USB charging cable. It is Water resistant IP57; with a smooth, scratch-resistant display, and costs approximately $150.
There are many other Smart Watches available, and you can bet that there will be more available soon. If you decide to give them a try, consider their specifications and your needs, when choosing the one that’s right for you.