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21st Century Technology on Smartwatches (2000s)
IBM Linux Watch (Prototype) (2000)
One of the first Smartwatches to run on the Linux computer operating system was the IBM Linux Watch. This prototype was announced in June 2000. It was intended to enable developers and users to create new features and apps using the flexible and free Linux OS. It features 8MB of memory, wireless connectivity with personal computers, cell phones and other wireless-enabled devices, but only had 6 hours of battery life.
21st Century Technology on Smartwatches (2000s)
Smartwatches developed in the 2000s were able to function as standalone products with GPS, activity tracking, heart rate monitoring and various sports activity functionality. Digital wrist cameras, USB links and instant data receiving capabilities all came into existence. With all this new technology the Smartwatch industry did not have much success as most products that were introduced in the 2000s became obsolete before the end of the decade. The good news for Smartwatch development was that these breakthrough technologies and ideas were used in later models and many are still in use in today’s Smartwatches.
The world’s first digital camera Smartwatch was the Casio WQV-1 Wrist Camera released in 2000. It features the ability to take and store up to 100 monochrome 120 x 120 greyscale photographs that could be viewed on the screen of the watch or uploaded to a personal computer via an infrared link. Camera functionality on wrist-worn devices was not commercially successful during the 2000s. But, this innovative device proved wrist cameras are feasible and the technology is now commonly available on some of today’s Smartwatches.
Timex Data Link USB – World’s first USB Smartwatch (2003)
Timex developed the next innovation in mobile technology which was the world’s first universal serial bus (USB) Smartwatch. The Timex Data Link USB was released in 2003, and included two models: the Timex Data Link USB (dress) and the Timex Ironman Data Link USB (sports). Their operating functions were the same except the dress model is water resistant to 30 meters and the sports model to 100 meters. With the press of a button a primary time display can be chosen from three time zones. This Smartwatch also included a data protection feature that the user controlled through a personal password. It also improved data transfer rates, increased memory capacity, provided two-way communication between computer and watch and included customizable ‘wristapps’. Some ‘wristapps’ were factory installed and others were available through various independent software developers. They could be downloaded into the watch using the supplied software development kit installer that was developed by Timex. The Timex Data Link USB Smartwatches were a disappointment when they first hit the market mostly because they did not transfer data by being held up to a computer. But, due to their other historic technological functionalities they were generally accepted until Timex discontinued the Data Link line of Smartwatches in 2010 as newer technologies rendering them obsolete.
IBM WatchPad 1.5 – Crown-Driven Interface (2001)
IBM worked with the Citizen Watch Company in 2001 and developed the IBM WatchPad. It ran the Linux operating system and featured a monochrome touch sensitive display, a crown-driven interface and calendar-scheduling software with 8MB RAM and 16MB of flash memory. It was to be marketed as a wrist-worn personal digital assistant and had the capability of connecting with personal computers via Bluetooth. Fingerprint recognition technology was also included as an extra security feature. IBM and Citizen were targeting the student and business markets, but this Smartwatch never reached the retail shelves and remained a proof-of-concept. The good news for the Smartwatch industry is that this model’s innovative features have been contributory in the development of many later designs.
On-Line Articles about the IBM Linux Watch
On-Line Articles about the Casio WQV-1 Wrist Camera
On-Line Articles about the IBM WatchPad 1.5
On-Line Articles about the Timex Data Link USB
Microsoft SPOT – Smart Personal Objects Technology (2004)
Microsoft teamed with watch manufacturers that included Fossil and Swatch to design a touchscreen Smartwatch that was intended to offer information at a glance. The Microsoft SPOT which means "Smart Personal Object Technology" was released in 2004 to much fanfare and was equated to a revolutionary, smart and sexy device. Microsoft’s SPOT was an initiative to personalize household electronics and other personal gadgets. This Smartwatch had a monochrome 90 x 126 pixel screen. It initially required a subscription ($39.00 to $59.00 yearly fee depending on options) to Microsoft’s proprietary MSN Direct Network. It worked with Windows Messenger through FM radio signals and received news items including, sports scores, weather predictions, stock prices and headline news stories. One of the problems with this Smartwatch was that it could not send (broadcast) any information. When cellular broadband started expanding and gaining popularity Microsoft de-supported the platform in 2008. Because it relied on one-way FM radio waves to receive data it was rendered obsolete by superior cellular technology.
On-Line Articles about the Microsoft SPOT
Index of Selected Smartwatches Released during the 2000s
(This list is a ‘selection’ and does not include all 2000 - 2009 Smartwatches)