Will Smartphones Bring Wristwatches Back in Vogue?

What does the post-Pebble era have in store for Patek Philippe’s 1868 invention?

Will Smartphones Bring Wristwatches Back in Vogue?

While scouring around the web for interesting anecdotes on the hugely popular smartphone revolution, I came across this interesting tidbit about how the iOS and Android powered mini monsters killed the wristwatch and how they could probably end up restoring its pride of place too.

No prizes for guessing that the game changer in the ‘Life of a Wristwatch’ is Pebble, the ubiquitous ‘smart-watch’ (MS Word doesn't yet recognize the word spelt without a hyphen), which shipped the first of its 21st Generation watches just over a week ago.

What went out of fashion as a result of people telling time off their mobile phones is all set to make a grand return, writes Mike Elgan in Datamation.com. Given the insatiable appetite for newer features among mobile phone users, the time for smart-watches taking on the role of a second screen is just round the corner. Elgan writes that Apple and Google will set the trend going.
For the uninitiated, the Pebble smart-watch is an e-paper Watch with a 1.26 inch 144x168 pixel b/w LCD display with backlight, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer, ambient light sensors and an accelerometer. It communicates with and Android and iOS devices using Bluetooth. (Read The Verge.com’s review right here).
The concept of using a watch to connect with the smartphone came from Eric Migicovsky who raised money via the crowd-funding Kickstarter platform to successfully launch the product, days after announcing it at the CES 2013 confluence of consumer technology giants in the Las Vegas.
If smartphones could be the second screen to television, why should it surprise us that a wristwatch is playing the same role for the mobile?
Elgan goes on to list out five strong reasons why the very same phones that took the sheen off wristwatches, will restore its pride of place in the months ahead. The reasons are listed below (Click Here for the full story): 
  1. The Multi-Screen Functionality: Gone are the days when devices wouldn’t talk to each other. Elgan says that wristwatches will soon show text messages, caller IDs, emails and a host of other stuff that your cellphone receives as a matter of routine. 
  2. Wearable Computing: Ever since we read about Google’s Project Glass, there is general consensus that information can be served even more directly to our eyes than currently possible. Given that such eyewear-based computing could be expensive, the next best option should be a smart-watch.
  3. Voice Interaction: The writer feels that Apple’s Siri made a breakthrough in this technology and the next step would be to talk into your watch, get your smartphone to compute and then feed the answer back to your wrist. Tap the watch, instead of the phone, says Elgan. 
  4. The Flexible e-Paper: Smart-watches aren’t a new phenomenon, but past editions have suffered from bulk and poor battery life. This is where yet another Kickstarter project codenamed the ‘CST-01’ arouses interest. Developers are building the world’s thinnest wristwatch that one wraps around the wrist, thanks to ‘flexible e-ink’ technology. 
  5. Bluetooth 4.0: Reduced power consumption for a Bluetooth connection is good news, feels Elgan. What makes the smart-watch incredible is the lower-power e-ink screen and the latest Bluetooth working in tandem with the fact that all the processing is happening on a smartphone. 

Looks like the smart-watch will be to the smartphone what the fast-disappearing mouse is to the desktop and laptop.

Tags : Mobile Phones, Gizmos, smartwatch


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