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This article is about smartwatches generally. For the Sony brand, see Sony SmartWatch. For the Microsoft technology, see Smart Personal Objects Technology.
Pebble, a 2013 smartwatch that communicates with the user's phone using Bluetooth
The WIMM One, wearable computer powered by Android.

A smartwatch (or smart watch) is a computerized wristwatch with functionality that is enhanced beyond timekeeping. While early models can perform basic tasks, such as calculations, translations, and game-playing, modern smartwatches are effectively wearable computers. Many smartwatches run mobile apps, while a smaller number of models run a mobile operating system and function as portable media players, offering playback of FM radio, audio, and video files to the user via a Bluetooth headset. Some smartwatches models, also called watch phones, feature full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls.[1][2][3]

Such devices may include features such as a camera, accelerometer, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, calculator, cell phone, touch screen, GPS navigation, Map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, watch, SDcards that are recognized as a mass storage device by a computer, and rechargeable battery. It may communicate with a wireless headset, heads-up display, insulin pump, microphone, modem, or other devices.[citation needed]

Some also have "sport watch" functionality with activity tracker features (also known as "fitness tracker") as seen in GPS watches made for Training, Diving, and Outdoor sports. Functions may include training programs (such as intervals), Lap times, speed display, GPS tracking unit, Route tracking, dive computer, heart rate monitor compatibility, Cadence sensor compatibility, and compatibility with sport transitions (as in triathlons).

Like other computers, a smartwatch may collect information from internal or external sensors. It may control, or retrieve data from, other instruments or computers. It may support wireless technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. However, it is possible a "wristwatch computer" may just serve as a front end for a remote system, as in the case of watches utilizing cellular technology or Wi-Fi.


Early years[edit]

The first digital watch, which debuted in 1972, was the Pulsar manufactured by Hamilton Watch Company. "Pulsar" became a brand name which would later be acquired by Seiko in 1978. In 1982, a Pulsar watch (NL C01) was released which could store 24 digits, making it most likely the first watch with user-programmable memory, or "memorybank" watch.[4] With the introduction of personal computers in the 1980s, Seiko began to develop watches with computing ability. The Data 2000 watch (1983) came with an external keyboard for data-entry. Data was synced from the keyboard to the watch via electro-magnetic coupling (wireless docking). The name stems from its ability to store 2000 characters. The D409 was the first Seiko model with on-board data entry (via a miniature keyboard) and featured a dot matrix display.[5] Its memory was tiny, at only 112 digits.[4] It was released in 1984 in gold, silver and black.[6] These models were followed by many others by Seiko during the 1980s, most notably the "RC Series":

During the 1980s, Casio began to market a successful line of "computer watches", in addition to its calculator watches. Most notable was the Casio data bank series. Novelty "game watches", such as the Nelsonic game watches, were also produced by Casio and other companies.[citation needed]

Seiko RC series[edit]

The RC-1000 Wrist Terminal was the first Seiko model to interface with a computer, and was released in 1984.[5] It was compatible with most of the popular PCs of that time, including Apple II,II+ and IIe, the Commodore 64, IBM PC, NEC 8201, Tandy Color Computer, Model 1000, 1200, 2000 and TRS-80 Model I, III, 4 and 4p.

The RC-20 Wrist Computer was released in 1985 under the joint brand name "Seiko Epson".[7][8] It had a SMC84C00 8-bit Z-80 microprocessor; 8 KB of ROM and 2 KB of RAM. It had applications for scheduling, memos, and world time and a four-function calculator app. The dot-matrix LCD displayed 42×32 pixels, and more importantly, was touch-sensitive. Like the RC-1000, it could be connected to a personal computer, in this case through a proprietary cable. It was also notable in that it could be programmed, although its small display and limited storage severely limited application development.[5]

The RC-4000 PC Data graph also released in 1985, was dubbed the "world's smallest computer terminal".[5] It had 2 KB of storage. The RC-4500 (1985), also known as the Wrist Mac, had the same features as the RC-4000, but came in a variety of bright, flashy colors.


In 1999, Samsung launched the world's first watch phone, the SPH-WP10. It had a protruding antenna, a monochrome LCD screen, and a 90-minutes of talk time with an integrated speaker and microphone.[9]

Linux watch[edit]

The first Linux Smartwatch[10] was presented at IEEE ISSCC2000, 2000 February 7, where presenter Steve Mann was named "the father of wearable computing".[11] This Linux Smartwatch also appeared on the cover and was the feature article of LJ Issue 75.[12]

In 1998, Steve Mann invented, designed, and built the world's first Linux wristwatch,[13] which he presented at IEEE ISSCC2000, 2000 February 7, where he was named "the father of wearable computing".[11]

See also Linux Journal,[14] where Mann's Linux wristwatch appeared on the cover and was the feature article of LJ Issue 75.

In June 2000, IBM displayed a prototype for a wristwatch that ran Linux. The original version had only 6 hours of battery life, which was later extended to 12.[15] It featured 8MB of memory and ran Linux 2.2.[16] The device was later upgraded with an accelerometer, vibrating mechanism, and fingerprint sensor. IBM began to collaborate with Citizen Watch Co. to create the "WatchPad". The WatchPad 1.5 features a 320 × 240 QVGA monochrome touch sensitive display and runs Linux 2.4.[17][18] It also features calendar software, Bluetooth, 8 MB of RAM and 16 MB of flash memory.[19][20] Citizen was hoping to market the watch to students and businessmen, with a retail price of around $399.[20] However, the project was discontinued sometime around 2001–2002.


The Fossil Wrist PDA, running Palm OS c.2003.

American-based watch company Fossil, Inc. released its Fossil Wrist PDA running Palm OS.


Microsoft releases the SPOT smartwatch. SPOT stands for Smart Personal Objects Technology, an initiative by Microsoft to personalize household electronics and other everyday gadgets. The watch was supposed to offer information at a glance where other devices would have required more immersion and interaction. The SPOT Watch had a monochrome 90×126 pixel screen.[21]


In 2009, Samsung launched the S9110 Watch Phone which featured a 1.76-inch color LCD display and was 11.98 millimeters thin.[9]


Consumer device analyst Avi Greengart, from research firm Current Analysis, suggested that 2013 may be the "year of the smartwatch", as "the components have gotten small enough and cheap enough" and many consumers own smartphones that are compatible with a wearable device. Wearable technology, such as Google Glass, may evolve into a business worth US$6 billion annually and a July 2013 media report revealed that the majority of major consumer electronics manufacturers were undertaking work on a smartwatch device at the time of publication. The retail price of a smartwatch could be over US$300, plus data charges, while the minimum cost of smartphone-linked devices may be US$100.[22][23]

As of July 5, 2013, the list of companies that were engaged in smartwatch development activities consists of Acer, Apple, BlackBerry, Foxconn/Hon Hai, Google, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba. Some notable omissions from this list include HP, HTC, Lenovo, and Nokia.[23] Science and technology journalist Christopher Mims identified the following points in relation to the future of smartwatches:

Acer's S.T. Liew stated in an interview with British gadget website Pocket-Lint, "... I think every consumer company should be looking at wearable. Wearable isn’t new … it just hasn’t exploded in the way that it should. But the opportunity’s for billions of dollars’ worth of industry."[25]

HOT Watch Curve model by PHTL features a unique directional speaker and microphone on the strap allowing for calls to be answered directly on the watch as sound would bounce off the palm of a hand and into an ear.
HOT Watch directional speaker and microphone module embedded on the strap. Magnetic charging pins at left.

As of September 4, 2013, three new smartwatches have been launched: the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony SmartWatch 2,[26] and the Qualcomm Toq.[27] PHTL, a company based in Dallas, Texas, US, completed is crowd-funding process on the Kickstarter website for its HOT Watch smartwatch in early September 2013. PHTL explained that the purpose of its device is to enable users to leave their handsets in their pockets or bags, as the HOT Watch has a directional speaker for phone calls in both quiet and noisy environments.[28]

In a September 2013 interview, Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky stated that his company was not interested in any acquisition offers,[29] but revealed in a November 2013 interview that his company has sold 190,000 of its smartwatch model, the majority of which were sold after its Kickstarter campaign closed.[24]

Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside confirmed that his company is working on a smartwatch device at the time of a December 6, 2013 interview.[30] Woodside showed an awareness of the difficulties that other companies have experienced with wrist-wearable technologies and explained:

There’s clearly gonna be something that changes on your wrist, how it works and what exactly it is is something our teams are working on hard. Whatever it is, it has to compete with what works now ... We can’t have something fragile, we can’t have something that needs to be charged everyday. You’re going to have to have some functionality that’s just killer otherwise why spend the money on yet another product.[24]


At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show a large number of new smartwatches were released from various companies such as Razer Inc,[31] Archos,[32] and several other companies, as well as a few startups. Some have begun to call the 2014 CES a "wrist revolution"[33] because of the amount of smartwatches release and the huge amount of publicity they began to receive at the start of 2014.

At Google I/O on June 25, 2014, the Android Wear platform was introduced and the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live were released. The Wear-based Moto 360 was announced by Motorola in 2014.[34] At the end of July, Swatch's CEO Nick Hayek announced that they will launch a Swatch Touch with smartwatch technologies in 2015.[35]

The launch of Samsung's Gear S smartwatch was covered by the media in late August 2014. The model features a curved Super AMOLED display and a built-in 3G modem, with technology writer Darrell Etherington stating on the TechCrunch website, "we’re finally starting to see displays that wrap around the contours of the wrist, rather than sticking out as a traditional flat surface." The corporation will commence selling the Gear S smartwatch in October 2014 alongside the Gear Circle headset accessory.[36]

At IFA 2014 Sony Mobile announced the third generation of its smartwatch series, the Sony Smartwatch 3 powered by Android Wear.[37]

On September 9, 2014, Apple Inc. announced its first smartwatch called Apple Watch to be released in early 2015.[38]

On October 29, 2014, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Band, a smart fitness tracker and the company's first venture into wrist worn devices since SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) a decade earlier. The Microsoft Band was released at $199 the following day, on October 30, 2014.[39]

Features and applications[edit]

As with other sport watches, the GPS tracking unit can be used to record historical data. For example, after the completion of a workout, data can be uploaded onto a computer or online to create a log of exercise activities for analysis. Some smart watches can serve as full GPS navigation devices, displaying maps and current coordinates. Users can "mark" their current location and then edit the entry's name and coordinates, which enables navigation to those new coordinates.

Although most smartwatch models manufactured in the 21st century are completely functional as standalone products, many of the devices that are manufactured now are required to be paired with a mobile phone running the same operating system, this allows the watch to run not only as a watch but a remote to the phone. This allows the device to alert the user to communication data such as calls, SMS messages, emails, and calendar invites.

Smartwatch Hardware comparison[edit]

ProductSKUAnnouncedSIM cardProcessorRAM/FlashResolutionDisplay Size (in)Weight (oz)Size (in)Battery (mAh)OSBTWLANCellGPSNFCWireless Charging
Samsung Galaxy Gear[40]SM-V700September 4, 2013noSingle-Core 800 MHz Exynos4212[41]512MB/4GB320x3201.632.61.45x2.23x0.44315Android4.0 LE
Samsung Gear 2[42]SM-R380February 22, 2014noDual-Core 1 GHz Exynos3250512MB/4GB320x3201.632.41.45x2.30x0.39300Tizen4.0 LE
Samsung Gear 2 Neo[43]SM-R381February 22, 2014noDual-Core 1 GHz Exynos3250512MB/4GB320x3201.631.941.49x2.31x0.39300Tizen4.0 LE
Samsung Gear Live[44]SM-R382June 25, 2014noSingle-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226512MB/4GB320x3201.632.121.49x2.57x0.54300Android Wear4.0 LE
Samsung Gear Fit[45]SM-R350April 11, 2014noSTM32F439[46] 160 MHz128x4321.840.950.92x2.26x0.47210Samsung4.0
Samsung Gear SSM-R750August 28, 2014nano-SIMDual-Core 1 GHz512MB/4GB360x48021.57x2.23x0.49300Tizen4.1bgn2G/3GYes
LG G WatchW100June 25, 2014 ?Quad-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226512MB/4GB280x2801.652.221.57x1.83x0.39400Android Wear4.0 LE
LG G Watch R[47]September 4, 2014noQuad-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226512MB/4GB320x3201.31.83x1.83x0.43410Android Wear4.0 LE
ASUS ZenWatchWI500QSeptember 3, 2014 ?Quad-Core 1.2 GHz MSM8226512MB/4GB320x3201.632.671.57x1.99x0.37410Android Wear4.0
Sony SmartWatch 2SW2June 25, 2013noSingle-Core 180 MHz CM4220x1761.62.671.65x1.61x0.35140MicroC/OS-II3.0Yes
Sony SmartWatch 3[48]September 3, 2014noQuad-Core 1.2 GHz BCM23550512MB/4GB320x3201.61.341.42x2.0x0.39420Android Wear4.0 LEYesYes
Motorola Moto 360[49]Moto 360March 18, 2014noSingle-Core 1 GHz TI OMAP 3512MB/4MB320x2901.561.71.81x1.81x0.45320Android Wear4.0 LEQi
Apple WatchSeptember 9, 2014noApple S11.5x1.28x0.54.0 LEbgnYesInductive
Pebble WatchApril 11, 2012noSingle-Core STM32F205RE 120 MHz CM3128MB/4MB144x1681.51.342.45x1.42x0.45140Pebble OS4.0 LE
Qualcomm ToQSeptember 4, 2013 ?200 MHz CM3288x1921.553.21.7x1.87x0.39240QCOM OS3.0WiPower

List of smart watches in production[edit]

Smart watchesCompany
Sony SmartWatch [50]Sony
SmartWatch 2[50]Sony
Qualcomm Toq[27]Qualcomm
Pebble WatchPebble
Wearing Digital WEDA (Slap Band)[51]Wearing Digital
Timex Datalink[52]Timex Group USA
Garmin ForerunnerGarmin
NikeFuelNike, Inc.
WIMM OneWimm Labs
Motorola MotoactvMotorola
Motorola Moto 360Motorola
MetaWatch StrataMeta Watch, Ltd
Samsung Galaxy Gear[50]Samsung
Samsung Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear Fit[53]Samsung
Kreyos MeteorKreyos
GEAK Watch[54] ?
HOT Watch[28] ?
Omate TrueSmartOmate
Z1 Android Watch-Phone ?
Fashion S9110 ?
LG GD910 (limited edition)LG
Hyundai MB 910Hyundai
ANDROID SmartWatch[55] ?
LG G Watch[56]LG
Samsung Gear LiveSamsung
Samsung Gear SSamsung[36]
Microsoft BandMicrosoft

Smart watch comparison[edit]

Smart watchCompanyOSAndroidiOSCPU TypeBluetoothNFCDeveloper OptionsGPSNotify Link Loss AlertNotify Missed CallNotify TimerNotify View ContentCall ConversationFind My PhoneVoice ControlRespond to NotificationsNotify SoundNotify Backlit ScreenNotify VibrationAmbient Light SensorGyroscopeMagnetometerMulti-touchAccelerometerWater ResistanceClock Display TypeScreen Size, InchesScreen Resolution, pixelsDisplay TechnologyAverage Battery Life, daysBattery Capacity, mAhBattery TechnologyCase Diameter, mmCase Thickness, mmWrist Band Width, mmWeight (main unit+watchband), gWristband OptionsReplaceable WristbandsLED Flashlight
HOT Smart WatchPHTLProprietary2.3-4.25-7Cortex M3 Processor4.0NoYesNoYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesNoYesYesSplash ProofDigital1.26UnknownBlack and White ePaper3UnknownUnknown54824.4UnknownUnknownNoYes
PebblePebblePebble OS2.3-5.05-7ARM Cortex-M34.0NoYesNoNoYesYesYesNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYesNoYes50m (5 atm)Digital1.26144x168Black and White ePaper7140Lithium-ion58.41122121White, BlackYesNo
Pebble SteelPebblePebble OS2.3-5.05-7ARM Cortex-M34.0NoYesNoNoYesYesYesNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYesNoYes50m (5 atm)Digital1.26UnknownBlack and White ePaperUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownYesNo
SmartWatch 2SonyMicrium uC/OS-II4.0+NoUnknown3.0YesYesYesUnknownUnknownNoYesUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownUnknownYesYesNoUnknownNoYesYesSplash ProofDigital1.6220x176LCD4UnknownUnknown58.6924123UnknownYesUnknown

See also[edit]


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