There was a time when the closest thing to what we know today as a smartwatch was a micro television and two-way radio wrapped around Dick Tracy’s wrist. It’s safe to say we’ve come a long way since the 1960s comic strip. Now, smartwatches aren’t only a common part of daily vocabulary but also a common sight — not just in tech circles, but in the average office building and even on the fashion runway.
To start with a basic definition, a smartwatch is technically any computerized wristwatch with functionality that extends beyond basic timekeeping. The first digital watch debuted in 1972 and sold for about $2,000 (which, given inflation, would be about $12,000 today). Ten years later, another model was released that could store in its digital memory a whopping 12 digits.
Fast-forward to today. Smartwatches now contain independent operating systems, monitor our heart rate, give us directions across the country, and interact seamlessly with other devices in our homes. That would be impressive, even if these watches were hunks of plastic and glass strapped to our forearms. Truly remarkable, however, is the fact that these timepieces have reached the level of high fashion. There is a smartwatch out there for every lifestyle — but which is the right one for you?
The Pebble Smartwatch was born after a booming Kickstarter campaign that raised over $10 million, followed by almost a year of grass-roots enthusiasts working out kinks to get this watch to market. At $79.94 on Amazon, it’s one of the more affordable smartwatch options out there. With a sleek design and simple functionality, this watch gives you notifications on your wrist — no muss, no fuss. If you’re looking for bells and whistles, this may not be for you, but with a loyal tech following and nothing but open road ahead for development, there could be big things for this watch in the future.
Chinese electronics giant Huawei just released a new watch specifically designed for the fashion-conscious. The Huawei Jewel features the functionality you’d expect in a smartwatch, from GPS and music to voice recognition, but that tech is housed in an elegant rose gold-plated body, complemented by Swarovski crystals circling the face. While this model may be a bit large for those with particularly slender wrists, will anyone really notice after seeing the gems?
The Apple Loyalist
In a seemingly Apple-dominated tech-scape, there is one smartwatch that really needs no introduction. According to PC World’s recent rundown of the best smartwatches on the market, the Apple Watch represents just that — with a beautiful design, several different iterations for those skewing more fitness-conscious or fashion-conscious, and Apple’s typical amazing array of associated apps and add-on gear, this smartwatch sits on the top of the pile. That said, the price is also on the top of the pile, weighing in between $500 and $1,000 for current standard models.
There’s no doubt that as the average person becomes more connected, wearable technology will continue to develop. In a few short decades we’ve gone from a single comic book gumshoe and his two-way radio to everyday people wearing the world on their wrists. What’s next? We’re excited to find out.