What is a “Smart Watch”?

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What is a Smart Watch?

A smartwatch 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.

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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.

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).

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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.

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. 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. Its memory was tiny, at only 112 digits.It was released in 1984 in gold, silver and black. 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.

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At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show a large number of new smartwatches were released from various companies such as Razer Inc, Archos,and several other companies, as well as a few startups. Some have begun to call the 2014 CES a “wrist revolution” 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 25 June 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. At the end of July, Swatch’s CEO Nick Hayek announced that they will launch a Swatch Touch with smartwatch technologies in 2015.

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.

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At IFA 2014 Sony Mobile announced the third generation of its smartwatch series, the Sony Smartwatch 3 powered by Android Wear. Also was announced the Fashion Entertainments’ e-paper watch.

On 9 September 2014, Apple Inc. announced its first smartwatch called Apple Watch to be released in early 2015. On 24 April 2015, Apple Watch began shipping across the world.

Apple’s first foray into wearable technology was met with considerable criticism during the pre-launch period, with many early technology reviews citing issues with battery life and hardware malfunctions. Once the Apple Watch was released to the general public, opinions quickly changed. Early adopters were eager to point out the satisfactory battery life in addition to a myriad of different features that performed better than expected.

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Though the Apple Watch was met with near universal acclaim, many still cited its ambiguous and unclear purpose in the daily lives of the general populous. Another large complaint by consumers was the inability for the Apple Watch’s sensors to detect a user’s heart rate or skin contact if they had tattoos on their wrist. This was met with a response from Apple acknowledging the issue, and stating that it makes sense, as the unit’s sensors were unable to directly contact the skin of the wearer.  In addition, after using the device for some time, users of the stainless steel Apple Watch model noted that there was scratching on the case of the watch.While skeptics were quick to call this discovery a manufacturing default, many pointed out that all stainless steel will sustain some form scratching, and that it was easily removed with standard metal polish. Overall, users of the Apple Watch have indicated that the wearable is the most advanced in terms of usability on the market today, and that they look forward to the development of the Apple Watch environment.

Apple Watch is a smartwatch developed by Apple Inc. It incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities as well as integration with iOS and other Apple products and services. The device is available in three “collections”: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition. The watch is distinguished by different combinations of cases and interchangeable bands. Apple Watch relies on a wirelessly connected iPhone to perform many of its default functions (e.g. calling and texting). It is compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running iOS 8.2 or later, through the use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Announced by Tim Cook on September 9, 2014, the device was available for pre-order on April 10 and began shipping on April 24, 2015