With the news that everybody from Amazon to Samsung and including Apple is reading a so called smartwatch, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Smartwatch is a new idea and a futuristic device. However, in reality, the concept of a watch that performs a multitude of other tasks is far from new. The Pebble Smartwatch is already on shelves and has enjoyed a number of updates to its stellar line up of apps.
Ten years after the release of the first digital watch came Game Watches from Nelsonic. These featured the likes of games like Pac-Man. The games were fully licensed and the combination between digital watch and portable gaming device meant that this was arguably the first forerunner to the modern smartwatch.
It was Casio, however, that really brought the concept to life. The Databank CD40 was launched in 1983, a year after the Nelsonic. It combined calculator with watch and was also one of the first models that allowed for the storage of data and information; another feature that will be present in the latest wave of watches.
At the turn of the 21st Century, it was IBM’s turn to try something different, selling the IBM Linux which featured 8MB of storage and offered an upgraded 12 hours of battery life. Later incarnations of the watch had a fingerprint scanner and an accelerometer making it truly advanced for its time.
The LG GD910 may be considered the first of the current generation of Smartwatch. It had a 1.4inch touchscreen and a 0.3mp camera as well as 80MB of storage. As a mobile phone it had budget specs but it was truly groundbreaking for its time.
The PebbleWatch hit shelves in January this year and it garnered a lot of attention. Not only is it an Android powered Smartwatch but it was launched thanks to its manufacturers gaining $10m in funding from the Kickstarter programme. Recent updates have seen a Golf app joining its incredible range of apps. Two-way interaction is expected in the coming weeks.
Reports and rumours show that Sony may be considering another attempt at the Smartwatch market. Amazon, Samsung, and Apple are among some of the other names being touted as the next brands to hit the shelves. The existence of the Android operating system has almost certainly made this possible and we should, as technology consumers, be prepared to embrace a range of other smart devices as the Internet of Things continues to grow.