Brace yourselves, really smart watches are coming.
As Samsung seems poised to unveil its new Galaxy Gear Smartwatch at its Unpacked 2013 event in Berlin today, we may be on the cusp of a new tech industry boom.
Long before Apple made tablets cool with the first iPad, other companies were making and marketing flat, touch-screen or stylus operated, portable tablet CPUs. Harnessing a powerful combination of this fanboy culture, adding in a dash of brilliant marketing, greattiming and perhaps a sprinkling of luck … and boom. Tablets exploded from a fringe accessory to a popular mainstream part of our every day lives.
Some think that “wearable tech” represents the next generation battleground for tech companies to innovate with products and devices. The Google Glass effort has a certain level of coolness and offers the futuristic immediacy of apps and features right on your face. However, the battle is really heating up in the production of wrist wear – the smart watch.
There are currently several smart watches on the market. The most popular is the colorful Pebble smart watch. Other current options include the Cookoo, the Casio G-Shock GB-6900, and the Citizen Eco-Drive Proximity. Apart from some typical notifications, heart rate monitors, and the ability to sync/locate your lost phone, none of these are particularly impressive. The Martian smart watch, Sony Smart watch, and I’m Watch are improved efforts for sale right now and they carry a heftier price tag, but have all fallen short of people’s expectations for a sleek looking and highly-functional smart watch.
Reports indicate, however that the present day kings of tech are poised to jump into the smart watch game. Apple is gearing up for their “iWatch” which will, of course, carry the beloved iOS mobile operating system and we can probably expect it to do everything that your iPhone currently does: from GPS navigation, to storing tons of music, to internet and email access, and of course the incredible catalog of apps. Rumors are also swirling about Google’s smart watch, with mass speculation about the size of screen, camera resolution, memory, and more. One major challenge is the need to pack all that smartphone information into a desirable small-ish wristwatch face. This will necessitate smarter technologies for voice and gesture recognition – a la Google Glass – to eliminate the need for typing.
If anybody can salvage and explode the potential in smart computer wristwatch software it would be one or both of the big tech powerhouses, Google or Apple.
This all sounds nice, but you might ask the following question: ”If I have a smartphone, why do I need a smart watch?”
Answer: In the immortal words of President Kennedy, “Why does Rice play Texas?”
You probably don’t NEED a smart watch, but if you’re not keen on strapping a computing devicedirectly to your face (or if you’re someone like me, who – at great expense – loses a phone once or twice a year) then perhaps strapping a smartphone apparatus to your wrist seems appealing! (I haven’t lost a wristwatch since ’93.) There’s also the opportunity to talk into your wrist, like Dick Tracy.
It’s only a matter of time before the release of an “all-in-one” smartphone/watch that is intuitive, lightweight, nice looking, and affordable. I think this device will make the pocket or belt clip-held smartphones of today seem somewhat cumbersome, prone to being misplaced or dropped and broken by comparison.
One thing is for certain, when Google and Apple come out to play, things tend to happen. I’ll be on the lookout for those smart watches as more information is leaked and released.