While a stylish time piece on its own is a wonderful thing, a watch is designed for two things; to tell time well and to compliment one’s own style. As we move into this connected era, the watch is evolving into something that goes beyond the realm of timekeeping and into something that seems born of childhood dreams of being Dick Tracy. The smartwatch idea is not a new one and has in earnest been around for quite some time; however usage of the ipod nano as a watch ignited the fuse what would become a public awareness explosion in 2012 as the Pebble watch became the face of Kickstarter as it raised in excess of $10 million of public funding. While the Pebble isn’t the only smartwatch out there, it has become the face of a new movement of interconnected devices.
What makes a smartwatch so smart you might ask? The brains of the smartwatch comes from a wireless connection (usually Bluetooth) to your smart phone. Using this connection most of these devices are able to control functions on your phone such as playing music, checking email, getting weather and text alerts in addition to telling the time. As stated before, the smartwatch isn’t a new concept but the lower entry price, the proliferation of smartphones, and the new-found stylishness of many of the newer smartwatches on the market have made them very visible and desirable to the average consumer.
The Pebble watch became an internet darling with its clear and crisp e-ink screen and the corresponding smartphone apps which allow owners to customize the watch to their own sensibilities and style. The style of the Pebble is a simple one that features watches and bands of various colors. Its appearance while sleek is very casual in nature. While it works well with your everyday attire, it probably won’t be your first choice to compliment your tuxedo at that random black tie event. With its ability to be customized and its deep integration with the dominant smartphone platforms, the Pebble is certainly at the head of the pack when it comes to the current iteration of the smartwatch.
Then Touch Time by Phosphor bills itself as a smarter watch and not a smartwatch. The offering by Phosphor does not offer the interconnectivity that the Pebble does, but it offers a very crisp e-ink display that is similar to Pebble. The watch does offer a host of applications built into the device that seek to offer users a more robust or “smarter” experience when wearing a timepiece. Unlike the Pebble, Touch Time offers metal bands in addition to the standard silicon ones. In our opinion, this makes the Phosphor a more versatile timepiece.
A third smartwatch that is on the market is the Metawatch. Metawatch offered its smartwatch in two flavors; the Strata and the Frame. The Strata’s design is more akin to a sportswatch. Its face is a bit more protruding than its more expensive sibling the Frame. Both the Strata and the Frame offer the same tethered connectivity for iOS and android devices(read this great review of the Strata @scrumptyous1 by here). For a more professional everyday watch, the Frame is the one that fits the bill.
The Pebble, Touch Smart, and the Metawatch are not the only smartwatches in town. There are credible and stylish devices from Sony, i’m Watch, Cookoo, and many others on the market. Most of the current offerings range in price from $150 to $300 (some are a little lower) for most base model smart watches. This firmly putting them in the realm for most anyone who is willing to venture out on a limb to replace their traditional timepiece. With their connectivity and integration with all other tech aspects of our lives, only time will tell if smartwatches eventually become the focal point of the public’s timekeeping needs or if they will only remain the jewel of a fringe portion of the tech obsessed.