Fashion ‘ing’ TIME

In my last blog we spoke of how tech magnets are collaborating with smaller labs in order to create health care products for a mass market. The array of products that are on the verge of hitting the mass market are large, but there are very few that have made the actual breakthrough.

Through this blog, I would love to underline how the smart watch has evolved over the years. From being a simple lot that is equipped with mere primitive functions, the smart watch has now got an absolute head up on the health circuit. Owing to miniaturization and encompassing a multitude of smart health oriented features, the product is gradually becoming a must have gadget for one and all. Let’s take a walk back in time and see how watches have evolved over the decades.

Have you found yourself enticed by the laboratory arena of the older Bond Films? What fascinated me the most; are the watches that could perform an infinitude of the most unimaginable tasks. It was perhaps at that time creators dawned on their thinking caps and invested their energies in designing the most extraordinary smart watch tuning with times. The concept of the smart watch has been lurking around the technological horizon since the early 70’s. However the same were equipped with very primeval capabilities, (initially) barring the ability to track health.

Microsoft staged the official release of the very first smart watch in 1984. The UC-2000 was programmed using the BASIC language and controlled using a keyboard. The next attempt was made in 2002 (again by Microsoft), using SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology). Though it had attractive features as the Bluetooth, and accelerometer, the poor battery life, bulky design, and blinding price tag served as a serious pitfall.

There were other brands like Fossil, and the Citizen (in conjunction with IBM) that created watches that could be synced onto a computing device and were capable calculating, storing data, incorporating the world clock, had a couple of games, and perform could a few other basic functions.

As the Internet era boomed, users found themselves glued to the screen of their computers and tablets. This later also translated in the extensive use of smartphones. But the smart phone cannot really go fishing or hiking. So what does one do next? The idea was to remain connected. This meant, syncing of routine activities onto a single device that could be accessed anytime, anywhere. After understanding the need to stay connected and also learning of the psychological hazards associated with the phone, technologists came up with an inventive way of keeping smartphones at bay, and yet being connected to the world around. All thanks to the development of the cloud technology and advanced sensors.

By 2008, the smart watch’s popularity saw a sudden upsurge as, Sony Ericsson powered the very first smart watch (MBW-150) that could be synced with their smartphones. The watch was paired with the phone using Bluetooth. The watch would vibrate, notifying the wearer upon receiving an incoming call or a message. The league of discoveries continues, as brands like Samsung (S-9110), created smart watches earning the title of being the thinnest in its category.

Perhaps very unknowingly Apple entered the smart-watch league in 2010, when the I-Pod Nano was out in the market. The intended music player did a lot more than just playing back MP3 tracks. With sensors imbedded within the pod/watch fulfilled the needs of monitoring heart rate, even counting on calories burned by the user. While this was perhaps Apple’s ‘oops’ discovery, there were other brands that seemed to want to pull their socks up, and win the rat race.

Newer brands like Fitbit and Pebble made their presence felt by luring the smart watch market, using attractive prices, design, and features as their yardstick. These brands pretty much shook the existence of other steadfast brands and ruled the market. Apple took slower but surer steps. When it launched in April 2015, it played the role of the game-changer, making creating waves not only with its existing users, but tapping on a whole new segment too.

Every Apple enthusiast keenly awaited the launch of the Apple watch in April 2015, and it pretty much delighted its users. The watch is much in sync with the phone. It offers receiving and sending messages, social media notifications, calendar, reminders, email support, maps, stock reports, remote for the apple TV, photo viewer, world-clock, wallet (giving you insight on credit cards and flight details), Siri (a voice command system that can recognize and carry out an array of complex tasks), a comprehensive activity log (that gives details on numerous activities), A third part workout application, display customization, and most importantly you can control simple things like the air-conditioner, or even the gate to your apartment using this beauty. (Phew!) The list indeed seems endless.

In tough competition with Apple, are three other brands, namely, Fitbit, Pebble, and Motorola (Android) smart watches.

In 2012, An American brand named Fitbit, surfaced its product in the global market. According to critics the products were seriously dedicated to tracking health and monitoring routine activities. The Fitbit ‘TRACKER’ was the first product launched by the company. It intelligently uses the three-dimension accelerometer to sense movement. The device astutely calculates the heart rate, water and food intake, weight, giving the wearer a detailed account of the same.

The newbie on the block, Fitbit BLAZE, launched recently, in January 2016. Some of the path-breaking features comprise of; connectivity to GPS, on screen workouts, colour touch screen, and an advanced heart rate meter. Some of the other essential features include; tracking multiple activities, text messaging, call was received, all day activity and sleep tracking, and last but not the least music control. The Fitbit is compatible with both the Android and the IOs devices. The watch also boasts of a five-day battery life, and can be stylized with a hoard of accessories that are now available in the market.

A Pebble on the other hand features with a unique design, and in not controlled using touch screen at the same is designed using a monochrome screen, that is often seen on e-books of the like of Kindle paperback. The watch is compatible with both IOs and Android devices. It can track your sleeping activity, take and receive text, calls, and other alerts onto your watch. The boon is the battery life. The watch takes only 15 minutes to take up to one day of battery life, and can last one a full seven days. Today the watch is the thinnest and the lightest watch present in the market. And records state that it indeed does a lot more than an Apple watch.

The Moto 360, is one of the smartest watch, running on Google Android. The watch boasts of being the toughest sort, and resistant to water too. One can search, check emails, tweet, text, call and check the weather – even using their own voice. The pedometer and the heart rate monitor are the best, as proclaimed by researchers. The phone looks wonderful, complete with a premium build, however, the pitfall lies in the poor battery life. The wireless charging and ambient light sensor sets the watch apart from the rest of the brands.

While Smart watches are beginning to take over the market, there are many reasons as to why the same is being resisted too. The primary reason for smart-watches not doing so well are owing to lack of design features, and the constant requirement to charge the same. In spite of the pitfalls in present day smart-watches, the sales of this variant are expected to pinnacle to a staggering $373 Million, by 2020.

As I key off I will now keep you abreast with trending health products or monitors, one can use at home, in my next blog. Till then tick on!

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