Wearable Technology: Mobile Watches
There’s no doubt that mobile watches are becoming an increasingly popular gadget, especially when the price starts to drop to more affordable levels. However, as popular as the concept of wearable technology might be today, it isn’t really all that new.
Almost 400 years ago the Chinese produced a silver ring that incorporated a tiny, but perfectly workable abacus. Mobile watches, while certainly impressive in what they can do, are really not much more than a modern progression of an old idea.
Smartwatches aren’t such a modern concept either, the world’s first production watch phone was the Samsung SPH-WP10, which launched in 1999. The LCD screen was monochrome, an aerial had to be extended for use, and talk time was limited to just 90 minutes.
Wearable technology covers a wide range of products, from the infamous Google Glass concept, to fitness and activity trackers. However, it is the concept of a wrist-worn ‘watch’ with all the functionality of a modern smartphone that has got people excited. Wrist watches have been around for over 100 years, and in that time we have come to love their unobtrusive usefulness. The mobile watch is now poised to enjoy an even greater level of popularity.
Various smartwatches made their appearance over the ensuing years with varying degrees of sophistication. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the full capabilities of a smartphone were integrated into a wrist-wearable device, the TrueSmart, which was publicly launched in early 2014.
As with ordinary mobile phones, the main players of mobile watches are Apple and Android, and both have popular models available to buy. Because it is relatively early days for this technology, everything is not yet quite perfect, but it gets better with every new model. Price is also a consideration; these mobile watches can be quite expensive, compared to a smartphone with better functionality.
One obvious drawback of having a mobile watch is the small display. By its very nature, the mobile watch display will never equal the much larger display of a traditional phone. This is a limitation that you will simply have to get used to.
Screen sizes vary, but most of the models currently available have screens that range from about 32 millimetres to about 36 millimetres. Because of the small sizes of these screens, the companies involved have been concentrating on making the resolution as sharp as possible. This helps to overcome the size limitations to some degree, by making the most of the space available.
Most of the wearable mobile watches to date have taken the approach of actually looking like a traditional watch, rather than trying to look like a down-sized mobile phone. In fact, they usually show the time by default, using an hour and minute hand, though that seems to be more an afterthought, and they are indistinguishable from a simple good quality watch to look at.
The similarity stops there, though. Mobile watches can have all the functions of a modern smartphone, with GPS, Internet access, voice communication, text messaging, and more. They can have fitness tracking capabilities, monitoring heart rate and calorie burn as you work out in the gym. You can also expect a range of computing capabilities too.
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