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Smartwatch Explained: What It Is and How it Works

Saturday, October 24, 2015


One of the very first smartwatches made was the one made by Microsoft called UC-2000, which was a digital watch released in the early 1980's that could be programmed in BASIC via its keypad. Having said this, Digital watches with built-in computer functions have actually been around since the 1970s, and brands such as Casio produced watches that could store bits of information and even let you play some basic games.

What is a smartwatch?
Smart watches are digital watches that can run apps and play back all sorts of digital media, like audio tracks or radio streamed to Bluetooth headphones. Most smartwatches have touchscreens, which allow you to access functions like a calculator, and they are designed to link directly with other devices such as your smartphone's Internet connectivity.

The Internet connectivity is what really puts the "smart" in "smartwatch", as Internet access enables a smartwatch to receive message notifications and GPS navigation as well as place calls or send messages via the smartphone's Bluetooth connection.

Some smartwatches are really "smart" and actually can  serve useful purposes such as the sport smartwatch which lets you track your lap times, distance and route; and can also monitor heart rate. Microsoft is certainly one of the pioneers of the smartwatch technology and in early 2000's they introduced a technology called Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT), which didn't really take off but the idea of the smartwatch lived on.

What makes smartwatches tick?
  Smartwatches are basically mini-versions of smartphones that you can wear on your wrist. Smartwatches are generally developed to work with specific smartphones and particular mobile phone platforms such as iOS and Android so a smartwatch will not work with any smartphone. A prime example of this is the Samsung Galaxy Gear which only works with select Samsung phones like the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3.

Some of the most popular current smartwatches include the Sony SmartWatch 2, which features a 1.6-inch square touchscreen that recognizes typical gestural commands, including swipe and pinch; and it's water resistant and has NFC capabilities, in addition to Bluetooth.

Personally, Pebble (see Pebble Smartwatch review) is one of the best makers of smartwatches because they do not attempt to duplicate the functions of a smartphone but rather make a stylish smartwatch with changeable watch faces that change the look of the smartwatch with just a press. A smartwatch that is most certaily trying to be a "smartphone on a wrist" is the Goophone Smart Watch which has a 1.5-inch screen, a 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 2-megapixel camera. It is truly a smartphone crammed into a wrist-mounted body!

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