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Smartwatches Go Mainstream (2010 thru 2015)
WiMM One Android – First Android-powered Smartwatch (2011)
In 2011 WiMM Labs introduced its WiMM One Smartwatch which runs on an Android operating system. It is equipped with a low power processor, magnetometer, accelerometer and the capacity of up to 32GB of storage. Additionally, it pairs up with a smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. What makes this device special is it is the first Android-powered Smartwatch. Android combines out-of-the-box built in services, excellent graphics support and is a truly open source platform that allows developers the most freedom to test and create new applications. This platform has a very large number of applications and its usage is expanding rapidly. It is today’s most dominating mobile operating system.
Smartwatches Go Mainstream (2010 thru 2015)
After decades of research and development, technological failures and a long list of discontinued models the Smartwatch finally breaks through with success in the mainstream market. After the unprecedented success of the Pebble Smartwatch in 2013 scores of published articles focused on the Smartwatch and it suddenly became popular in the mass media (and is now a household name.) Companies such as Samsung and Apple (and many more) are funding research and development projects as the Smartwatch industry continues to expand. During the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show a large number of new Smartwatches were demonstrated and released. With the remarkable publicity given to Smartwatches during the event the media was referring to their popularity as a “wrist revolution.” High end Swiss watch companies such as Tag Heuer and Breitling enter the Smartwatch market as they do not want to be left out of this potentially explosive market. Fashion designed Smartwatches are starting to emerge, even from tech companies, as the mainstream market is accustomed to a more traditional designed watch style.
Pebble – The Smartwatch is Catapulted into the Mainstream (2013)
The release of the original Pebble Smartwatch is an amazing success (almost a modern Cinderella) story. Pebble Technology Corporation was not able to attract enough traditional investors so they turned to crowdfunding through a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Pebble raised more than 10 million USD pledged by more than 68,000 people and sold more than 70,000 Smartwatches in little more than a month when their original Smartwatch was released in 2013. This was the beginning of successful commercialization and mainstream acceptance of the Smartwatch. What makes the Pebble Smartwatch so alluring is that it is more about functionality than style. It allows users to quickly glance at text messages, emails, and incoming calls and can also relay messages sent via Twitter and Facebook. It also includes GPS functionality and has access to the Pebble app store (which gives users the choice of more than 1,000 downloadable apps.) Today, Pebble devices are one of best-known, popular and affordable Smartwatches on the market.
Moto 360 - Smartwatch with a Circular Design of Traditional Wristwatches (2014)
Motorola Mobility, LLC released it generation 1 Moto 360 Smartwatch in 2014. It is the first Android-wear Smartwatch with the circular case design of a traditional wristwatch. The Moto 360 marks the next wave of Smartwatch design by using elegant construction with a circular capacitive touch display and the thinnest possible bezel. It also features an all-day battery that charges wirelessly on a cradle rather than the need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
Samsung Galaxy Gear – “After all these years, it’s finally real.” (2013)
When Samsung first released its Smartwatch with its Galaxy Gear in 2013 it was an accompanying device for their Galaxy Note 3 product. It ran the Android OS which worked with a smartphone via Bluetooth. Although it was a quality product it received mixed reviews and did not sell as well as expected. Its third model release in 2014 featured an OS change from Android to Tizen (Samsung's homegrown OS.) Samsung designed an interesting marketing promotion with the release of two television advertisements (“Evolution” and “A Long Time Coming”.) These ads showed historical Smartwatch-like devices from popular culture including: The Jetsons, Predator, Star Trek, Inspector Gadget and, of course, Dick Tracy. Their resulting tagline was “After all these years, it’s finally real.” Samsung is now the Smartwatch industry leader.
On-Line Articles about the WiMMOne Android Watch
On-Line Articles about the Pebble Smartwatch
On-Line Articles about the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch
On-Line Articles about the Moto 360
Apple Watch – Long Anticipated Smartwatch Blasts onto the Market (2015)
After many rumors, going back to 2011, Apple Inc. announced its first Smartwatch in September of 2014 and named it the Apple Watch. It was initially thought that Apple would call their Smartwatch the iWatch (which they keep under wraps and was somewhat of a mystery for several years.) The Apple Watch was actually released in April of 2015 and Apple considers it to be a fashionable device that can compete with traditional wristwatches as well as other Smartwatches. One of its more popular features is its digital crown that acts similar to a home button. When the crown is turned back and forth it will zoom in and out of the screen allowing for a much clearer view of the app icons. It also features Apple Pay which is a mobile payment service that allows users to make on-line payments. There were whispers around the Smartwatch industry that it was to be “the Smartwatch to Revolutionize the Industry.” The jury is still out on just how revolutionary the Apple Watch really is, or will be, as many other Smartwatches continue to sell better. There are three models: Watch Sport (38mm $349.00; 42mm $399.00), Watch (38mm $549.00 to $1,049; 42mm $599.00 to $1,099) and the Watch Edition (38mm & 42mm ($10,000.00 to $17,000.00).
On-Line Articles about the Apple Watch
Tag Heuer Connected – the First Luxury Android Wear Smartwatch (2015)
Obviously, high end watch manufactures will not be left out of the Smartwatch market. Tag Heuer released its first Smartwatch in 2015 called the Tag Heuer Connected. It is limited to 1000 pieces and has a list price of $1500.00. Interestingly, Tag Heuer is branding it with a ‘Swiss Engineering’ label because many of its components come from the United States and it is manufactured in China. It does not meet the ‘Swiss Made’ requirements so the next best thing, according to Tag Heuer, is to state it is of ‘Swiss Engineering’. To extend the lifespan of this Smartwatch Tag Heuer has stated it will be upgradeable. Here is a new and interesting concept in the watchmaking industry: if an owner does not want to upgrade the Smartwatch Tag Heuer will convert it into a mechanical movement for the same cost of $1500.00.
On-Line Articles about the Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch
Breitling B55 Connected – Smartwatch with Traditional Timepiece Roots (2015)
In March of 2015 the Breitling Watch Company announced they are entering the Smartwatch market. Their first Smartwatch is called the Breitling B55 Connected. It is aimed at pilots and includes flight time logs and countdowns to 'mission start'. The high end Swiss watch manufacturer is staying with its traditional timepiece roots as it incorporates both digital and analog displays and uses Breitling's SuperQuartz movement that has the capability to keep time up to ten times more accurately than standard quartz technology. It is Swiss-made and has Smartwatch-style notifications, which alerts users to incoming calls, texts and social media messages. The chronograph movement is Breitling’s highly respected Caliber B50 which was announced in 2014. It connects to a smartphone with Bluetooth and has settings for a second time zone, alarms and incorporates reminder vibrations. The list price is $8900.00.
On-Line Articles about the Breitling B55 Connected Smartwatch
Index of Selected Smartwatches Released 2010 thru 2015
(This list is a ‘selection’ and does not include all 2010 - 2015 Smartwatches)
Peeble Time Round – Smartwatch (2015)
The Pebble Time Round mysteriously reduced functionality that made the original Pebble Smartwatch so polular. It can’t be worn for swimming, the battery life has been reduced to only 2 days, and it can’t run all the apps that the original Pebble Smartwatch can.
That said, it is a very light and comfortable Smartwatch. It has a case diameter of 38.5 mm across. It comes in silver, black, and rose gold, and has various straps (10 different styles in 14 mm or 20 mm width).
On-Line Articles about the Pebble Time Round Smartwatch
Besides the battery boost, this Smartwatch has an all-steel body. But otherwise it has the same functionality as the Pebble Time that was released a few months prior to this model.
The price is $299 (which includes two bands: one leather, and one steel.)
On-Line Articles about the Pebble Time Steel Smartwatch
Asus Zen Watch 2 – Smartwatch (2015)
The focus of the ZenWatch 2 is choice as it comes in two sizes, three colors and 18 different straps. Asus is approaching the evolving Smartwatch market in a smart way (by focusing on price and personalization.) At $149 the Zen Watch 2 is attractive to most budgets.
The Zen Watch 2’s screen is covered in a 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3 panel, and measures 1.63 inches on the larger watch, and 1.45 inches on the smaller one.
The body looks slim and stylish, but the huge bezel surrounds the screen.
On-Line Articles about the Asus Zen Watch 2 Smartwatch
Fossil Q Founder – Smartwatch (2015)
Some of the negative press on Smartwatches has been the fact that they are a piece of tech first, and a fashion accessory second. In 2015, the market began to change thanks to stylish watches like the Huawei Watch, Apple Watch, and second-generation Moto 360. Yes, tech companies are not usually identified as fashion designers but they are starting to make an impression with fashion statements on their newest Smartwatch releases.
Look at the Fossil Q Founder, a Smartwatch that’s way ahead of the game, because it puts style before Smarts. The stainless steel Founder is priced at $295, and this Smartwatch has an optional brown leather strap for $275 if a metal band is not to your liking.
On-Line Articles about the Fossil Q Founder Smartwatch
LG Watch Urbane – Smartwatch (2015)
This Second Edition of the LG Watch Urbane come in stainless steel (44.5mm in diameter - with a thickness of 14.2mm.) And, the battery has been boosted from 410mAh to a whopping 570mAh.
This Second Edition of the LG Watch Urbane is fully round, and has a sporty design, so it gets plenty of style points.
One of Android Wear's best features is to use Wi-Fi to connect to your phone remotely, even when you're not in the same room (or locality). The LG Watch Urbane needs an Android phone to be turned on in order to receive notifications, calls, or run Internet-connected apps. It can't connect to Wi-Fi on its own to get messages, unless the phone is turned on somewhere and is also receiving data.
On-Line Articles about the LG Watch Urbane Smartwatch
Samsung Gear S2 – Smartwatch (2015)
The new Gear S2 is far more attractive than Samsung’s earlier, chunky rectangular models that looked like a miniature cell phone strapped to the wrist. It is the first round Smartwatch from Samsung.
It has a brand new user interface, and works with nearly any Android smartphone.
The Gear S2 has a rotating bezel that surrounds the display, and acts as the main interaction point with the watch. It lets the user quickly and easily navigate through the S2’s menus and screens.
On-Line Articles about the Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch
Hyetis Alpha – Smartwatch (2015)
One of the most interesting elements of the Hyetis Alpha is its approach to being a Smartwatch. Hyetis apparently developed its own in-house operating system known as ChronOS that they say is compatible with both Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems. The operating system is based on FreeRTOS, and according to Hyetis even the programming of the operating system for the Alpha was done in Switzerland. As a Smartwatch, the Hyetis Alpha will offer notifications and the ability to dismiss incoming calls. It isn't trying to compete with the Apple Watch or Google Android Wear devices - mostly because they really can't. The Hyetis approach to the Smartwatch is that people want the watch to exist less as a second screen to their phone and more as a personal and environmental sensor device - which the Hyetis Alpha appears primed to be, with lots of interesting features.
On-Line Articles about the Hyetis Alpha Smartwatch
Kairos T-Band - (2015)
Keep your favorite traditional wristwatch and turn it into a Smartwatch with the Kairos T-band. Smartwatches began as early digital wristwatches and eventually evolved with functionality including simple notification extensions of a smart phone. Later, it evolved into counting your steps, calories, and sleep patterns. Now, there are more and more app support where you can control music, turn speech to text, GPS navigation, and also remote starting your vehicle. More recently a lot of attention has been given to the health benefits of a wearable device. The ability to constantly measure your heart rate, sweat, stress levels, etc., can help analyze your body in a manner we have never seen before.
But there's just one problem. Watches expresses who you are. Not everyone is a techie and may not want to wear a watch with the same brand that makes refrigerators.
On-Line Articles about the Kairos T-Band