We have seen it only in movies. But now things are for real.
The SmartWatch is not a new invention but rather is an evolution of wrist computing technology, first introduced by Seiko with their ‘Pulsar’ range in 1982. Originally from Hamilton Watch Company, the brand name ‘Pulsar’ was later acquired by the Japanese Watch Company Seiko in 1978. That pulsar model was programmable. Seiko followed it up with more models and was futuristic enough to think of external keyboards for watched. Seiko’s launch of many such models was followed by the electronics company Casio. Casio introduced the concept of gaming in watches. IBM was interested too which is evident from their release of a prototype watch that ran Linux. The interest in developing SmartWatches slowly faded during Early 2000s probably due to the turbulent economic condition of World Powers during 2000s. It was only after the launch of Google Glass, the interest in wearable computing resumed with a bang – with Companies like Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and Apple working on various models.
Microsoft had pioneered the efforts in commercial connected SmartWatch as early as 1994 by tying up with Timex. Timex Data Link SmartWatch was certified by NASA as space ready and one such model was worn by Commander Willian Shepherd during Space Expedition 1. Few other astronauts have worn these watches during space expeditions. But as usual, Microsoft was slow in furthering such technology. In a sense their efforts on commercially viable connected SmartWatches predates all others. They once again had an early start in late 2007 and early 2008 with their SmartWatches based on SPOT technology. But they discontinued the ongoing efforts and has not looked back until a plethora of Android based SmartWatches were launched. However, if Microsoft would launch a SmartWatch it would be interesting given its strategy on engaging OEMs to actually manufacture the SmartWatch based on their Software. That means, we would have SmartWatches coming from Seiko, Fossil, Casio and others – all running a variant of Windows. However this is just my thought.
Fossil launched a SmartWatch during 2003. The SmartWatch ran PalmOS. However the reception was poor due to the size and appearance of the SmartWatch.
MOTOACTV was a SmartWatch that used to be sold by Motorola until it was discontinued in early 2013.
Samsung Galaxy Gear is a SmartWatch which runs a scaled down version of Android. This SmartWatch can work with a range of devices including Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition(must update to Android 4.3), the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note II. The US launch is expected around October 4th of this year. However it would be launched in 140 countries a couple of weeks earlier. The launch price is expected to be around $299. Samsung was able to rope in Pranav Mistry as a Director of Research in 2012 and he was instrumental in spearheading this initiative.
Sony SmartWatch is due to be released during the early October. It would run on Micrium uC/OS-II.
Apple seems to have paused or slowed down their efforts on creating iWatch. However the Company would release their own variant of SmartWatches sometime later. Apple has filed almost 80 Patents related to SmartWatch technology.
Pebble Technology is a little known startup that has launched Pebble – a SmartWatch. It was able to raise $10 million through crowd funding. Pebble runs a customized FreeRTOS. It has sold over 85000 units as of July.
Qualcomm would be developing Toq – a SmartWatch which may be launched during October 2013.
i’m SmartWatch is another Android based SmartWatch that is available. The device boasts similar capabilities with majority of SmartWatches.
SmartWatch – The showdown
Samsung Galaxy Gear vs Sony vs Pebble vs i’m
|Brand||Samsung Galaxy Gear||Sony SmartWatch||Pebble||i’m|
|Processor||Exynos Single Core 800MHz||IMX233|
|Graphics||ARM Mali-400 MP4|
|Display||1.63 in 320×320 277 PPI Super AMOLED||1.3 in 128×128 65K Color OLED||144×168 LCD||1.54 in 240×240 220 PPI TFT|
|Storage||4GB OnBoard||8 Apps||4GB|
|Camera||1.9 MP||No Camera||No Camera|
|Battery / Backup||315 mAh (25 Hours)||450mAh (48 Hours)|
|Waterproof||< 1m (Can Wash hands)||5 atm (50m) (Can Swim)|
* This post will be updated. Keep Checking often.