What is a Smart Watch?

It is one of the segments of the personal technology more growing, with new models, designs that retrieves the value of the wrist watch and add features to complement the smartphone.

Last week, this week and next. All are giving to the rhythm of the Smart Watches: those who presented Samsung and LG a few days ago; Motorola’s, which this week will, finally, price and date of sale; which – in theory- he will unveil Apple 9.

They are not the first, of course. Pebble, Samsung, Sony, LG, and Motorola (among others) already have several models in the market, trying to supply a public which – for now – doesn’t seem entirely convinced of the usefulness of a device of this type, though sales grow.

According to estimates by the consulting firm Canalys, the simpler version of the smart watch, bracelet for monitoring physical activity, is the most popular, both for price and for the clarity of its function (counting calories, heart rate, etc). Thus, Canalys they calculated that worldwide shipments of these devices grew a 684 percent between the first half of 2013 and the same period of this year; Fit and Jawbone are the part of the lion, with about 4.5 million shipped devices, against less than 2 million smart watches, a segment led by Samsung, Pebble and, to a lesser extent, Sony.

Earlier this year, it seemed that all manufacturers would introduce a bracelet for a workout; Today the same seems to happen with intelligent clock although, notably, traditional watch manufacturers have been fairly cautious to enter this segment; Swatch in theory will do so by 2015; Timex introduced a few weeks ago One Ironman GPS +, a watch with GPS and 3 G (i.e., separate connection) for extreme athletes.

 

Pebble Steel: one of the most popular, it has many applications and allows you to view notifications of Android, Windows Phone 8 iOSm and BlackBerry 10.

But does a smart watch make sense? What is it?

Smart, as the bracelet watches, give time, measured steps, calorie consumption and – in some cases – monitor heart rate, at the time that allow you to view the notifications that reach our phone on your screen of 1.3 to 2 inches (SMS. mail, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc). And, in some cases, interact with those notifications.

Also, see who is calling us (and decide if it is worth taking care of you), control the music playing smartphone, maps indications, operate as a hands-free wireless or add functions related to content that provides you with the smartphone. And allow you to change the design of the dial, display the hour using lyrics, unusual formats, etc.

In an extreme case (such as the Samsung Gear S) they can make voice calls and have independent Smartphone data connection. But they can also serve as support for patients with any disease (monitoring vital signs, reminders, etc). And there are those who see them as an alternative to the mobile wallet or as a method of authentication (to open doors, for example).

Thus they proposed it in Google:

 

They are great, but lack the key role

We are already on the second year – minimum – of modern smartwatches; and you could say that it is the second round once, already makes a decade, debuted the Microsoft SPOT.

As an idea connected clock is great, especially because recover a very convenient place to receive information, such as the wrist. A look and we know the time, or who calls us, or the sender of a message to determine if it is worth paying attention to the phone or not. But it seems to me that the smartwatch has failed, yet, to demonstrate what is so unique, what makes it a fairly superfluous accessory. It is not clear what is the killer app, its application that turns everything.

Maybe you don’t have it; He must fight the imprint of other devices that showed clearly – even with its initial technical impediments – its versatility. The laptop computer and the mobile phone have a clear utility: make something traditional, fixed, version can not. The original versions were heavy, limited duration, expensive. But the convenience was indisputable. The same with MP3 player: a device allowing you to dispense with cassettes or CDs. The first had a minimum capacity, but that was resolved relatively quickly.

 

Jawbone UP24: measuring steps, exercises, calories burned, sleep and meal schedules; includes alarm, wireless synchronization.

 

On the contrary: they can offer that you exceed the cell that carry in the Pocket, half a metre, and which is designed to be lightweight and compact? Especially when, if notification showing the clock is important enough, I’ll get out of the Pocket. That is the core point. Would I say this that smart watches are a failure? In any way. They seem great, but lack them something of evolution.

Price: they are rather expensive, but that will change (and a decent clock is not cheap); the battery life is, to which we are accustomed, a horror: 2 or 3 days (and in some cases lasts only one day) against a conventional watch that… lasts what lasts; It’s not even a point that will pay a close attention when buying a traditional clock. This will improve over time, although it is unlikely to be more than a week or two of autonomy in the short term.

Size: future will be a little smaller, more in the style of a normal clock – LG G Watch R appears to be on the right track – although complaints that are bulky will continue. It is unlikely that we will see a “female” version, with those tiny dials that often use the ladies; There would be how to display information (and as we are: female analog watches already avoid complications precisely for this reason). Yes are becoming thinner, a welcome feature.

Screen: a key issue is the screen: LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live have poor visibility in the direct light of the Sun; a screen better consumes more battery; Pebble manages to offer four or five days of autonomy by appealing to white and black, and the low resolution.

Fine control: missing some setting; the Pebble allows you to choose which contacts Whatsapp displayed on notifications, while the Samsung Galaxy Gear shows everything, including messages of groups; It is not always easy to silence him so that you are not vibrating in a meeting or in the cinema. What should show, not, and how, is a point that is still evolving, to specify what notifications contacts come to our doll, for example.

Compatibility: the Pebble work on Android and iOS, and there is no official applications for Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10; the first clocks of Samsung are only compatible with some Galaxy phones; the rest (LG G Watch, Samsung Gear S and Live, Motorola Moto 360, Sony Smartwatch, etc) support any mobile with Android. All, except the Gear S and the Timex, require a smartphone; they do not work more than as basic watch without it.

But there are things that will be solved as technology progresses. Good news is that more recent versions, in addition to being more compact and resistant to water, are paying attention to the design, a key issue for a device that makes time that is not used only for time, but plays an important role in personal aesthetics.

Prices

In the case of the bracelets, the equation between the usefulness, usability and price gives more clearly positive; they are more disimilados, more resilient, more clear at your convenience and cheaper: it is not the same spend 60 to $100 – United States – for a wristband that 150 to 350 dollars for a smart watch. In Argentina, the Sony SmartBand bracelet is priced at 1500 pesos; the SmartWatch 2, 4000 pesos; a Samsung Gear 2, 6400 pesos; Bracelet Samsung Galaxy Fit, 4300 pesos.

What is lacking, perhaps, is that which makes really superfluous to get my smartphone in your pocket, that great function that adds an indisputable value, that is more than a second screen. Perhaps the interaction by voice is the solution (very limited for now), but talk to the clock will not be less uncomfortable, socially, to talk to the phone without lead the device to the ear.

Or perhaps the fate of the smart watch or sports bracelet is to be that, one smaller companion, an accessory useful but not necessarily vital, as the hands-free Bluetooth, as the physical keyboard for Tablet, while we incorporate more technology to other parts of our daily outfit.

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