Telling time has just gotten complicated with the biggest names in IT like Apple and Google entering the wearable technology game with this cutting-edge companion piece for the smartphone. In the past, we managed our time – these days, our timepiece practically clocks what we do, how we should feel, and how we measure up, aside from being a media player and concierge rolled into one. In fact, SmartWatch advertorials can easily convince you that wearing one on your wrist can turn you into a “robotoid”; a superhuman who carves more “me” time by focusing more at work and playing smart with an unobtrusive, unpaid assistant working efficiently in the background.
From Limbo to Boom
The smartwatch is just beginning to regain its reputation from the flak that sent it falling from grace after the hype that surrounded its launch. Unlike smartphones that practically rendered the digital camera (and video cam) obsolete with its logarithmic growth, smartwatches were thumbed down for being stupid. However, the entry of the new generation of smartwatches that are intuitively integrated with smartphones to allow for seamless communication and cool apps that give you information on virtually anything is changing perception and driving sales up.
“Smartwatches Grow Up. The Apple Watch has real competition in Android Wear 2.0 making its debut in new LG watches and in Samsung’s Gear S3”
– Geoffrey Fowler in the Wall Street Journal
In fact, it is predicted to contribute the most to wearable tech sales with a projected sales of 141 million units in 2018, driven by demands in North America, Asia Pacific, and Western Europe (from Statista). Google’s Android Wear OS, Samsung’s Tizen OS and of course, Apple’s OS have made smartwatches more powerful and useful and Apple is so popular that iWatch accounted for just below 3/4 of global delivery.
Obviously, it’s not for everyone but as Verizon says, it is “sleek, stylish and doggone handy”. But I think that it was created for a person like me who is in the habit of misplacing phones, forgetting appointments, or take an inordinately long time to fish out a ringing phone from a capacious bag full of gadgets. Now I can answer messages on the fly!
Here are a few of 2017’s top choices that demonstrate how smartwatches are used and personalized according to your needs and preferences. Note that android watches like Andoid Wear can be paired with an iPhone (iPhone 5 and newer using iOS 8.2 or later) but with limitations on functionality.
Making Life Easier
Despite its many virtues, one huge drawback is that it is not a standalone device, with lack of connectivity reducing it to a mere fashion statement. It also has to be matched with a smartphone so you can kiss its value good-bye when the paired phone loses charge. It’s also erroneous to call it totally hands-free because not all apps are voice activated – but it is handier and not as distracting as a smartphone.
Smartwatches don’t make coffee but here are 8 top reasons why even non-techies should slap one on their wrist:
- Play multimedia with good sound and resolution;
- Allow you to send and receive messages, emails, voice memos, and calls (or mute them). Never lose a message with smart notifications. Some models have an independent antenna that allows you to call even without the paired smartphone. A scheduler, calendar, calculator, and meeting apps let you create a virtual office anywhere you are.
- Can integrate with fitness apps to track activity and diminish bad habits (e.g slouching) through biofeedback. All models can track heartbeat, respiratory rate, and steps, with the more powerful ones able to provide a detailed workout program! And for the ultimate back-packer, smartwatches are waterproof, have GPS and can monitor terrain, as well as wind direction and velocity.
- Has a price range that suits your lifestyle, demands, and budget – from less than $100 to the $2,900 Louis Vitton model. Clearly, there’s a whole range of usability and price but steer clear of brands and models that have not been reviewed in reputable sites.
- The USB port for data transfer and charging is pretty standard but current models have a longer battery life which can be extended by 200% when in economy mode.
- Has time synch and weather forecasts – two very important features for travelers on the go.
- Has variable downloadable interfaces and interchangeable straps.
- Can snap photos and share (a step ahead of the spy camera of your youth).
Watch how it ranked third in the top must-haves in 2017 – will it do as well in 2018?