The time might be ripe to give in and strap on a smartwatch, writes Chris Griffith
It’s more than 20 years since the first smartwatches appeared but a fair proportion of society still is uncertain about their merits. The first of the modern wave came in 2012 when Pebble Technology raised $US10.3 million to produce a watch that would display not only calendar entries, but messages and emails from a user’s smartphone. Others came and went. Samsung, LG, Sony, and Motorola produced them.
However, it was not until the release of Apple Watch in April that interest was aroused. Starting at $499, Apple Watches, with a plethora of designs and an array of designer watchbands, redefined smartwatches as beautiful pieces of jewellery, rather than clunky electronics tethered to your wrist. As with Pebble, users can monitor emails and messages from their wrists, access cutdown versions of apps they already for use on their phones and monitor activities and exercise all on one device.
But now the opposition is fighting back. Samsung recently announced the beautifully designed Gear S2 (pictured). A long, hard press to the watch face lets you choose alternative watch designs that can be tailored to show information such as calendar appointments and weather. A four-option menu lets you call or message contacts, access apps, settings, and voice dictation. Samsung decided not to use Google’s Android Wear operating system. Instead its uses its own Tizen OS. It weighs 47g, has a circular display with 360x360 pixels resolution and four gigabytes of internal storage.
The other is Huawei Watch by the big Chinese phone maker, which caught the eye of journalists when it was first showcased in March. But, it isn’t cheap, ranging from $499 to $749 depending on your choice of watchband. Huawei Watch has a 1.4-inch AMOLED sapphire crystal display with 400x400 pixel resolution, is 13 mm thick, and weighs from 51 to 131 grams depending on the band.
If these quality entrants can’t convince you of the merits of this new form factor, then nothing will.