After smartphones come the smartwatches: IT companies — and, perhaps, even some traditional watch companies — are bringing intelligent watches onto the market, and the demand for them is growing. Scroll down for a primer on these groundbreaking devices, including the latest news on the long-rumored Apple smartwatch which was finally launched on September 09, 2014.
What can smartwatches do?
The smartwatch, which is worn on the wrist like a normal watch, connects with the smartphone in your pocket using Bluetooth and sometimes NFC. From there, the watch receives both important and less important data: On the display, the buyer can check the time, of course, as well as data such as the current weather situation. However, notifications regarding incoming emails can be much more important, for example. The smartwatch can also be used as an additional control unit for some mobile phone functions: Music can be controlled using the watch without the smartphone having to be removed from the pocket, and calls can be received just by raising the arm to the ear.
Small problems that muddy the overall picture
Of course, smartwatches can’t do everything, and the products from the various manufacturers are subject to many limitations. For example, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, introduced in 2013, can only be paired with a few available devices, including the Note 3 and Note 10.1. The very small size is also troublesome for the company: An integrated camera can, for example, take 720p videos, but due to the limited storage space, these cannot exceed a maximum length of ten seconds. The watch also loses all of its “smartness” if there is no compatible device nearby; the Galaxy Gear then only displays the time – an expensive affair given the recommended retail price of $299. Samsung has since introduced newer models such as the Gear2 and Gear2 Neo, which offer standalone music players.
Time to charge my watch…
There’s obviously a big problem in terms of the battery life. People who have only had to charge their cell phone in the evenings will have to do the same with their smartwatch in future. The Galaxy Gear battery only lasts for one day, after which the device, which has a 1.6-inch touchscreen, must be recharged. This fact did not go down too well with the South Korean company’s customers. It doesn’t have to be like this though: A smartwatch called Toq from chip manufacturer Qualcomm can last for several days thanks to energy-saving display technology and can also be recharged wirelessly. When compared with the Samsung watch, the slightly smaller display (1.55 inches) must be taken into consideration.