The Evolution Of Smartwatches
If you’ve been keeping up with the tech world in recent years and months, the chances are you’ll have heard of Google Glass, the eyewear which allows you to interact with the world around you, simply by looking in the corner of your eye (where the small display is). You can do simple tasks such as using Google search, taking pictures and videos, all the way through to Navigation, which is another key feature, and allows you to see directions in the corner of your eye rather than having to glance down at your phone.
Whilst the only wearable you may know of is Glass, there are actually many more less heard of wearables which are just as good, not only in the form of eyewear, but also smartwatches, and other wearables which can be clipped onto clothing, shoes, and almost anywhere else on your body.
At Google’s annual developer Conference, Google I/O, they announced a new smartwatch software platform ‘Android Wear,’ which supports many of the popular smartwatches on the market, and is closely linked with your Android smartphone, allowing you to access all of your apps.
In addition to being able to use the touch-screen on the smartwatches, you’ll also be able to interact with the smartwatches by giving voice commands, similar to Google Glass. The software will support round displays as well as traditional square ones.
Apple is expected to launch its own smartwatch over the coming months, rumored to be called the ‘iWatch.’ Many other technology companies have already launched their own smart watches, including the Galaxy Gear, LG’s ‘G Watch’, and Sony’s ‘SmartWatch,’ so Apple is really late to the game! This should hopefully mean they’ve had time to pack the watch full of features.
Over the coming years, I think we’ll start to see even more wearable technology being developed, and should expect to see wearables designed not just by the corporate giants such as Samsung and Apple, but also by smaller companies too. Many of these products are launching with the help of Kickstarter, which is a ‘crowdfunding’ platform enabling many smaller companies and individuals see their idea become a reality. If you visit Kickstarter.com, and do a search for ‘smartwatch’ or ‘wearable’ you’ll see many projects. One of the most successful Kickstarter projects and one of the first wearable smartwatches was the Pebble, launched in 2012, which gained just over $10million in funding through the site.
Where are wearables heading?
With prices dropping, it’s likely that in a few years, everyone will be making use, and it won’t just be restricted to use by those on the cutting-edge of technology.
Here’s what I’d personally like to see from smart watches before I consider buying:
Support for 3G/4G connections. – This would allow the wearable to work completely independently from a mobile device, since many smart watches currently on the market require a mobile phone to be wirelessly connected in order for them to function.
Increased battery life. is also an important consideration, especially with smart watches as users will likely want to wear them for at least a day without having to worry about charging them.
Lower price point. With the Google Glass currently retailing at £1,000 here in the UK, I’d like to see a lower priced device. Smartwatches are considerably cheaper, but understandably the cheaper devices such as Sony’s SmartWatch have more basic features.
I’m sure there are several others that you can think of. Let us know in the comment section below.
By Adam Owen