What Consumers Apparently Want: the Smart Watch

by Istvan Fekete on June 24, 2013

Alongside the growing number of smartphone users, the demand for wearable computing is on the rise as well. Aware of this trend, tech companies are doing their best to come up with products that meet consumer demand. One of them is the controversial Google Glass (which, by the way, was banned from Google shareholder meeting — interesting, right? Inventors ban their own product . . .), which got its share of attention. However, due to privacy concerns and the funny fact that you are speaking to your glass in public (sic!), the new wearable gadget that seems to capture the interest of multiple tech companies is the smart watch.
The smart watch concept isn’t new: in popular culture, 1940s character Dick Tracy had a two-way wrist radio; and in the 1982 TV series Knight Rider, Michael Knight (played by David Hasselhoff) wore a two-way communication wrist watch.

In real life, Seiko was the among the first to develop such a device, the 1984 RC-1000 Wrist Terminal, a wristwatch that was compatible with most of the popular PCs of that time.

IBM prototyped a wristwatch running Linux in 2000. The original version had six hours of battery life, and featured 8 MB of RAM. In a collaboration with Citizen Watch Co., the 1.5-inch WatchPad was born, featuring calendar software, Bluetooth, 8 MB of DRAM, and 16 MB of flash memory.

These projects were discontinued after a while. Fast forward to today, and we can see that consumers are in need for smart wristwatches to fill a void in their interconnected lives.

And as we might imagine, tech companies are preparing their reply in the form of a product: we have seen the founders of the Pebble smart watch raising more than $10 million from Kickstarter backers, and the first Pebble watches reached consumers earlier this year. The watch is compatible with iOS and Android.

But developers of a smart watch for Windows Phone seem to enjoy the same success: Secret Lab’s Smart Watch project has raised more than $100,000 in just 12 hours on Kickstarter.

Apple and Samsung are also rumoured to be entering the developing smart watch market, but Sony has already given a teasing glimpse of its upcoming smart watch that will be introduced this week at the Mobile Asia Expo 2013.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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{ 1 comment }

GeoTel June 24, 2013 at 6:25 am

I wonder if there will be a point where the wearable/carryable market will become over saturated. I want less widgets, not more. Instead, I would be open to smarter, more functional items. I don’t need my watch to do all the same things as my phone. It would need to have a unique twist to make it worth having another electronic device with me at all times.

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