I have always been a fan of smart watch, to me a watch is a very personal possession that does more than tell a time- it display wealth, status and aspiration.
I became more obsessed with watch when I discover the functions and capability of a smart watch. I remember my brother’s white friend took us from Ndop to Lake Nyos just by using the GSP on his smartwatch. Since then I have turn to fine out and explore almost everything about this beautiful tiny piece. And if you are like me you might be asking yourself the following questions
• What is a smart watch
• Brief history
• What are the functions of this little machines
• What are the advantage and disadvantage of this little machines
• How do I chose a perfect one for me and my family
• Which are the top brands that manufacture this product
What is a smart watch?
A smart watch is a mobile computer designed to be worn on the wrist. Like smartphones it gives atomic clock accuracy, allow you to read text massages, use touchscreens, Bluetooth for connecting and syncing data from the watch to the phone, inbuilt GPS and often record your heart rate and other vital signs. There are also smartwatches that can make and receive calls directly from the watch, this type of smartwatch are regarded as standalone smartwatch.
Brief history of smartwatch
In 1972, the Hamilton Watch Company and Electro/Data Inc. developed the first digital watch, an LED prototype named Pulsar. Wrapped in 18-carat gold, the Pulsar was sold for $2,100.
Adjusted for inflation, that number comes closer to $14,000 today. Though users had to press a button in order to see the time, the Pulsar virtually revolutionized the field of watches and paved the way for its smart successors. One could even argue that this was a pivotal point in smartwatch history.
Then in 1983, Japanese firm Seiko released the T001 which featured a portable TV receiver that was linked to the watch and a 1.25 inches screen divided into two separate areas.
The top one was reserved for standard watch features like showing the time and setting alarms but the bottom part was used for video output. During that same time, Seiko released the Data 2000, A year later, the similar RC-1000 was released with a substantial new feature. This watch was equipped with an 8-bit Z-80 microprocessor, 2KB of RAM, and 8KB of storage. It included applications for scheduling, memos, world times, and a calculator.
In 1995, Microsoft and Timex developed the Timex Datalink 50. The watch was the stepping stone of the rise of smartwatches. It was the first watch able to communicate with PCs wirelessly.
In 1998 Steve Mann designed and developed the very first Linux smartwatch, after presenting the watch, he was rightfully applaud as the “father of wearable computing”.
1999 Samsung introduce smartwatch to the android market and also where the first to develop a watch capable of a phone call with an integrated speaker, microphone and was capable of a 90 minute of talk time.
Fossil released the Fossil Wrist PDA in 2003. It was also able to interface with PCs and ran various applications.
2007 the Sony Ericsson MBW-150 was released with a Bluetooth, it was able to pair with a phone and notify users with notifications such as; incoming calls, text messages and even controlling music’s.
2009 The Samsung S9110 device was released, it featured a 1.76-inch touchscreen and included a built-in MP3 player, voice recognition, and Bluetooth connectivity.
In 2014, Apple finally drops the Apple Watch. The watch came in three styles; Sport, standard and luxury edition.
Each model was available in two sizes. (38mm and 42mm)
Fast forward to now, while the smartwatch industry is still in its infancy, there are hundreds of smartwatches meeting the demands of consumers but new and emerging technologies like Corning’s flexible Willow Glass, Bluetooth 4.0 and more power-efficient processors and displays are providing the potential for the development of more advanced, longer-lasting smartwatches than those currently available.
FUNCTIONS OF A SMARTWATCH
Curious about exactly what a smartwatch can do? Today’s smartwatch can do quite a whole lot of things, they have become an on the go gadget for a variety of uses.
It’s an advancement beyond the basic functions of a watch. They have a great number of features that make it simpler to finish specific tasks, and people find it more helpful to retrieve information from their wrist rather than tie up both hands with their smart phones.
Below are some practical uses of a smartwatch:
Fitness Tracker – A smartwatch have sensors built into it to automatically detect a user motion and tract his/her activity such as running health applications, tracking steps, tracking heart rate, sleep monitoring and any other sensor-related features.
Time Telling – The modern day smartwatch has not drifted away from the basic function of a watch which is to tell the time. A smartwatch tells time in a different way from the traditional watch except for hybrid smartwatches which have analog display. Most smartwatches use digital display to tell time, the most popular ones are LCD, OLED and AMOLED technologies which includes monochromic and multi-color display types.
Navigation – Getting around an unknown city while travelling is much easier with a smartwatch. Directions are sent to your wrist, telling you when and where to turn next.
Notifications – A smartwatch let you follow up on updates that keeps popping on your phone to be displayed on wrist. With this type of convenience, you have a device that makes life easier and makes you more organized.
Entertainment – Most smartwatches come with onboard storage space as a result smartwatches are fast becoming entertainment hubs.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SMARTWATCH
ADVANTAGES OF SMARTWATCH
There are many advantages to owning a smart watch, if there was no advantage of owning a smart watch I don’t think they will exist at all.
- Tells the time and even more
Just like a traditional watch, a smartwatch still tells the time, lets you set alarm, show calendar and also offer something a little different i.e. quick access to notification
- Quick access to notification
This is probably the most important function of a smartwatch. People are obsessed with their phones, and often check for notifications, including emails, texts, updates, and so on, but with a smartwatch all your notification are deliver straight to your wrist and safe you the stress of dipping your hand into your pocket every couple of minute to check your phone.
You can listen to music, watch video, take pictures and more with a smartwatch. When it comes to entertainment, there’s really no point of comparison between a smartwatch and an ordinary watch
This is what caught my attention with smartwatch when my brother friend took us on a trip from Ndop to Lake Nyos just by using the GPS on his smartwatch
- Health and fitness
Even though I have never use a smartwatch for this purpose but staying fit and healthy is a responsibility and there is no better way to do that than wearing a flexible and fascinating watch on your wrist that can track your activities, thinking of taking a fitness tracker or a pedometer, you can replace it with a good smart watch. What exactly can a smartwatch do? It can count steps, distance, calories, heart rate, pulse rate, sleep and some even go beyond this to calculate other important metrics you might need.
Disadvantages of a smartwatch
- Limited design
To me a watch display wealth, status and aspiration but lot most smartwatch aren’t exactly the most stylish things on the planet. It’s true that companies are improving on this as time goes on, but many smartwatches still look like toys strapped to your wrist.
• Limited number of phones and tablets are compatible with the smart watches out today
• The biggest issues is limited battery life. Typically, smartwatches can only be used 1 to 2 days after a full charge. Some don’t even last for one day, especially if you use power-hungry features. If you forgot to charge it, you’ll end up having a dead watch the next day. Additionally, you won’t be able to use some features like sleep tracking if your watch runs out of juice while you’re sleeping.
Below are some of the complain/disadvantage that people gives which I find invalid
- Screen size: the size is ok with me it is a watch not a television.
- Some say it can’t replace our phone, for good sake it is a watch it was not meant to replace our smartphone.
How to buy the perfect smartwatch for you.
Smartwatches have become so common so much so that every company have their own unique version of it, with all the options it can be difficult to select the best. During my first porches of a smartwatch I did really poor, so I had to do some finding and I came out with the following on how to buy the perfect smartwatch for you.
Checking a smartwatch compatibility is the most important part of buying a smartwatch. Imagine you buying a watch just to get home and realize you can’t use it.
Connections are generally made via Bluetooth, but compatibility varies between operating systems. For example an apple watch will connect only to iOS powered devices, Samsung is somehow flexible. Samsung allows its watches to pair with mobile other than their brand but certain features in the watch can only be unlocked when paired with the company’s respected mobile phone. So you have to make sure the smartwatch you are buying is compatible with your device.
This is the second on my list, do you want to know why? This is because when I first porches my first smartwatch I never check the spec compatibility nor even the GPS that drew my attention to it, I went straight for the best design I could fine and as you may think it was a hazard and I am sure there are many people like me out there. Before you go for that nice looking watch Just make sure the belts of the watch can be swapped with new ones later on and if third-party watch belts can be installed easily onto the device.
Other than telling time this is probably the main reason you are getting a smartwatch for. There are smartwatches in the market which will show you notifications from all social Medias or any other app while some will only alert you if you receive phone calls or messages but won’t do the same if you are receiving a request in Messenger or WhatsApp. So be sure to look for the watch which will alert you on every notification you will receive in your smartphone.
The screen is going to be a key factor with two variants being offered in the market. Each option has its strengths and weakness. You will have to choose between an AMOLED display and a LCD screen. As for me I go for Amoled display all the time. That is because it offers a better viewing angle and better color visibility. The only lack in this display is that it consume more power than LCD.
There are three options in the market as of now, one being touch, other being buttons of some sort and the last one being the combination of touch and buttons.
- eHealth tracking
If you are a fitness person you may want your smartwatch to double as a fitness tracker.
Heart rate and GPS are some of the most useful features offered in a smartwatch.
The heart rate monitor can get a reading of your heart rate when you feel that your blood pressure is going up while a GPS allows you to see your location in real time in a map and also allows its user to find a place which is unknown to the user. Some smartwatch don’t have this feature but most can be downloaded so make sure to check on that before going for one.
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Top manufactures of smartwatches
Smartwatch have gain a huge market over the pass years with so many different manufacturers. After doing some research I came out with the following top 5 brands that are dominating the global smartwatch market it is in no particular order.
Apple is at the top of the smartwatch market with a unique modern design and stylish look, for instance the Apple Watch Series 5 offers the best combination of style, message handling, app selection, battery life, and activity tracking of any smartwatch for any platform. And with the addition of an always-on display, Apple has solved one of the last remaining issues we’ve had with the Apple Watch since its introduction.
• Samsung inc
Samsung is one of the leading global brand in electronic manufacturing and digital media. I am not really a fan of apple so as you may guess Samsung is my favorite brand of smartwatch
Garmin is the most popular pick among runners, it is the king in GPS tracking.
Fitbit track every part of your day there are notable for their huge strides in the fitness tracking business. Fitbit however has manage to dominate the wearable market through a combination of marketing savvy and compelling software
Fossil is another brand that has made some giant stride in the smartwatch market. Fossil has launched more than 150 touchscreen smart watches, hybrid smart watches, and activity trackers in 20 languages throughout 40 countries for brands including Diesel, Chap, Emporio Armani, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Skagen, and Misfit.
There are other notable brands like Huawei, Xiaomi/Huami, Mobvoi, LG and many more