Wrist fac­tor

The time might be ripe to give in and strap on a smart­watch, writes Chris Grif­fith

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up -

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.



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