Just like smartphones, smartwatches are continuing to gain massive acceptance as more people continue to opt for this brilliant piece of technology that promises to do more than your average wristwatch.
For starters, a smartwatch is an incredible and portable device that’s designed to sit on your wrist. Like smartphones, this device uses touchscreens, allows users to install third apps for improved functionality, and provides heart rate readings and other vital signs.
Thanks to great smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Wear (previously called Android Wear) models, more tech lovers are beginning to appreciate the usefulness of these mini-computers on their wrists. Plus, specialty smartwatches uniquely designed for outdoor activities are starting to replace bulkier adventure tool kits.
History of smartwatches at a glance
Even though digital watches have been around for many years- some with unique functionalities like unit converters and calculators, it wasn’t until 2010 before tech companies started building watches with smartphone-like abilities.
While Apple, Sony, Samsung, and other big names offer smartwatches with incredible potentials, a few start-ups deserve accolades for championing the popularity of conventional smartwatches. For instance, Pebble raised a whopping $20.3 million in funding for their first smartwatch in 2013.
Also, advances in silicon miniaturization paved the way for specialty smartwatches. Brands like Garmin, for instance, provided support for smartwatches like the Fenix, a unique smartwatch that is reputed for its rugged design, optimized sensors and trackers, and fitting for back-country expeditions. In the same vein, brands like Suunto built dedicated watches for scuba diving that are incredibly able to withstand extended time at significant depth.
How smartwatches work
Smartwatches are designed to perform even better than traditional wristwatches. While your traditional everyday watch is able to tell the time and date, most smartwatches deliver almost smartphone-like abilities. From location to weather information to heart rate to blood pressure level and more, smartwatches have shown so much promise.
Here are some things that your smartwatch can do:
Notifications: Smartphones that have been synced to smartwatches are able to display myriads of notifications to keep users alerted about important activities. That said, the type of notification displayed differ according to device. While some smartwatches connected to smartphones are only able to mirror the phone’s notifications on your wrist, other smartwatches only display notifications that are unique to the smartwatch on your wrists.
For example, the latest Apple Watch comes with a highly responsive fall sensor. If you were ever to fall while wearing this smartwatch, the watch would be able to sense your subsequent movement. If the watch cannot detect movement after a fall, it immediately sends out a series of notifications. And if you fail to respond to the notifications, the sensor may assume you’re injured and start sending multiple alerts to the authorities.
Apps: Besides displaying notifications, a smartwatch’s functionality can be significantly improved with several third-party apps. While app ecosystems differ for both Google and Apple environments, smartwatches with a dedicated purpose, such as scuba diving, biking, or hiking, need to support a number of apps required to accomplish the purpose for which they are designed.
Media management: As we mentioned earlier, smartwatches perform almost like smartphones, so it isn’t surprising to learn that these impeccable devices can be used for media management. When paired to a smartphone, smartwatches can be used to manage playback. For instance, when listening to your favorite music on an iPhone with your Airpods on, you can use your Apple Watch to control volume and change tracks.
Respond to messages by voice: Part of the reason many people love smartwatches is their voice messaging services. While smartphones are already able to perform this operation seamlessly, seeing the technology in smartwatches is mind-blowing. Modern smartwatches powered by either the Wear operating system or watchOS are designed to support voice dictation. How cool can that be?
Impressive fitness tracking: Even though hard-core athletes will fancy a dedicated fitness watch better than a smartwatch, most conventional smartwatches come with a heart rate monitor along with a pedometer to help wearers keep track of their workouts.
GPS: Another functionality we love about smartwatches is their GPS feature. With most smartwatches, you get a highly functional and accurate GPS that is able to track your location and provide you with location-specific alerts.
What are the types of smartwatches?
To cut to the chase, most smartwatches occupy two unique niches in the wearable market. On the one hand, we have conventional smartwatches like the Google-powered Wear devices as well as Apple watches, which are heavily reliant on smartphones and designed to replace mechanical watches
On the flip side, there is the specialized smartwatch that is exclusively designed for specific use cases. Think of smartwatches for hiking, riding, scuba diving, and flying, and you’ll know exactly what we mean by specialized devices.
Frequently asked questions
What is a hybrid smartwatch?
A hybrid smartwatch is a unique watch that looks, functions, and feels like a traditional watch. The only difference between this type of watch and your typical everyday wristwatch is that it comes with smartwatch functionality.
Is there any difference between a smartwatch and a Fitbit?
Fitbit is a dedicated tracker with functionalities that is very similar to smartwatches. What differentiates these two watches is that Fitbit is specially created to deliver more fitness-based features. As such, you’ll not find many of the advanced features you’ll typically find in smartwatches.
How much does a smartwatch cost?
Smartwatches go for different prices. While you can come across cheap smartwatches like the Letsfit Smart Watch that cost $30, you can find expensive models like the Apple Hermes Smartwatch that cost a whopping $1,299. More so, there are luxury watches that cost as much as $200,000.
Smartwatches have shown incredible potentials, little wonder why they are giving traditional wristwatches a run for their money. With a smartwatch on your wrist, you can keep up with important notifications, track fitness, install third-party apps for improved functionality, control your media, and do much more. If you don’t currently own one, now is a great time to add one to your collection.