Smartphones, smart socks, smart skin. It’s a world where we’re increasingly decked out in “smart” stuff, which can leave us feeling decidedly, um, NOT.
Watches have been pretty hi-tech for some time now (mechanical watches that are self-winding, watches that are solar powered, etc.) so what differentiates the smartwatches from these current watches?
Well, in terms of what the brands that make them are saying, it’s all about connectivity. Basically this means you’re wearing a portable connection on your wrist at all times, and this is what makes it smart.
It’s what took cellphones from calling bricks into webtastic devices, and now the wrist has its own version. Sure, you could y’know, use your PHONE, rather than laboriously navigate a mini wrist menu of apps and camera accessories, but smartwatches are considered to be an add-on to a cellphone, and not meant to stand on their own.
While smartwatches still lack an Oxford dictionary definition (unlike selfies for example) the premise itself is pretty simple. Using Bluetooth or WiFi, the watches pair with your cellphone/tablet to provide easy access to calls, messages, and offer a portable camera and a slew of apps (depending on the model).
They also tell the time.
So what’s the point? This in and of itself is debatable. We’re a generation that is used to permanent web access, and a wristwatch seems like a clunky way to provide this, considering the sleek beauty and ease of use of smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4.
Watches are considered adornments nowadays, and the release of a slew of Smartwatches actually takes the fashion world back 20 years, to chunky oversized devices that aren’t streamlined or stylish. Sure, the just announced Samsung Galaxy Gear comes in six colors and Sony has previously partnered with the London College of Fashion on designs for its Smartwatch. But considering we have watches with carbon coatings and scratch-resistant sapphire crystals this really doesn’t cut it.
So last season.
But smartwatches are not something to discount so easily.
Angela McIntyre, an analyst with Gartner, tells USA Today that people should pay attention. “The smartwatch is the first step in a wearable computer trend and will serve as the "hub" for other smart devices we wear. Heart-rate monitors, smartglasses, all could be operated through the smartwatch.”
So, what’s the latest in the SmartWhat world?