The rise of the smartwatch

First published: 12-06-2014

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'll have heard at least something about the much-speculated smartwatch. 

With whispers circulating the technology industry as to what these wearable devices may actually be able to achieve, it's likely they're only going to rise in popularity over the coming months as more companies work on them. 

Fossil recently announced it's starting to develop such a product, so let's have a little look at some of the rumours and facts surrounding this new form of technology.

What is a smartwatch?

Quite simply, it is a watch that is computerised and has functions beyond that of telling the time. 

They have been associated with personal digital assistants and the modern types that are being worked on at the moment are being considered as wearable computers. 

Just as the modern-day smartphone is like a personal computer, this will be like having such a machine on your person at all times. This invention does seem like the logical move as individuals frequently find themselves at a loss or slightly uneasy if they misplace or leave their smartphone at home. 

What are its capabilities?

If this device can do more than tell the time, then what are its features?

One key aspect is they are linked to the user's phone, which is why a lot of the companies creating them also ship such handsets. These timepieces can run mobile apps and can be an easy, non-intrusive way to check whether or not you've got any important messages to your phone. 

With a smartwatch, a quick look can answer this question, instead of the potentially rude action of going into your bag or pocket, getting out your phone and reading it. You can easily keep on top of things without constantly interrupting your life. 

There's also the trendy factor. With numerous technological advances recently - particularly the proliferation of smartphones and tablets - there's certainly an aspect of coolness about owning the latest gadget. This is especially the case seeing as the aforementioned two devices have had a radical impact on the way society functions and communicates. 

What does the future hold?

Only a handful of such products are currently out on the market, so the technological world is waiting with baited breath to see what inventive creations will be released in the coming months. 

Science and technology journalist Christopher Mimms forecasts the future of smartwatches will be big. In terms of their physical size on a wrist, he compared them to  "G-shock watches that are favoured by IT support guys and gym coaches". 

Battery life is proving to be a bit of an issue for some manufacturers, potentially because of the wealth of tasks the device is having to do. This is already thought to have pushed back the release date of some such watches and will clearly be something to watch out for in the future. 

The rumour mill is predicting smartwatches will be linked to health products, while any current feature of your smartphone could, theoretically, be carried out by this wearable technology. Given the recent rate of technological progression, this could be the start of something revolutionary. 

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