Smartwatches – just how smart are they?
The Smartwatch – it seems that manufacturers are determined to make them the next big thing. Despite a disappointing reception of the Galaxy Gear (stylish & feature-packed but criticised for lack of compatibility among other things) Samsung have already announced plans to release a second. Sony is already onto their third generation of Smartwatch with the SW2, and it has taken them three attempts to come up with something that you might want to wear on your wrist (but at £150 a pop – it’s still unlikely to become a must-have item for anyone that doesn’t have money to burn). Even the Kickstarter funded Pebble, which seemed to spark the whole race for dominance in this nascent market (after being exponentially over-funded) is releasing the far more stylish Pebble Steel. So it would seem there here to stay…
But what are they actually for?
The main problem that Smartwatches face is that they are priced high and a lot of people don’t really see the point of them. At the moment, a Smartwatch is essentially a £100-£250 accessory for your Smartphone that allows you to check Facebook notifications, Tweets, texts, emails, etc. from the convenience of your wrist (the Samsung Galaxy Gear can also be used for making and receiving calls & features an in-built camera on the wrist band), but that is more or less it.
What’s next for the Smartwatch?
Pebble opened up their own appstore at the start of this month, optimised for wearable devices, which is an innovative step towards making the Smartwatch more useful. And with growing popularity of wearable fitness trackers (stealing the limelight & market share from the Smartwatch) it wouldn’t be surprising to see new models incorporate an element of fitness. There has already been much speculation that the eagerly anticipated Apple iWatch (expected by many later this year) will have a focus on health; with recent hires to the company including sleep analysts and bio-sensor experts. And it was reported by the Wall Street Journal towards the end of last year that Google (who have already thrown their weight behind wearable tech with Google Glass) have a Smartwatch in late-stage development so it’s certainly plausible that we could see two tech heavyweights join this burgeoning market and change it for the better.
Who remembers when the first camera phones started to appear (if you’re interested – the first cameraphone was released by Sharp in 2000) and heard people decry them as pointless? Granted –the picture quality back then was pretty poor and they were expensive but – with the growth of social media, advances in technology, and lower prices – over a relatively short period using your mobile has become one of the most popular ways to take photos (Facebook reportedly receives 350 million photo uploads daily, and Instagram is now the fastest growing social network). So…with that in mind – who’s to say what we’ll think of the Smartwatch in just a few years time and what changes it may bring.