Smartwa(r)ches, the battle for your wrist

Although the concept of smartwatches is hardly new; only recently it seems every technology manufacturer wants to put their hand – no pun intended – into the mix.

From small start-ups like Kickstarter-success Pebble, to Sony’s SmartWatch 2, and a whole host of upcoming rumours...

Let’s start with the most notable, the Pebble. Funded through raising over a whopping $10m they’ve just announced selling 275,000 units; on which users have downloaded over one million applications to their devices.

It’s clear the interest is there, despite this iteration only having an “e-ink” display for visibility and battery life reasons; which many would think may appear outdated to most users.

Shipping with a colour display is Sony’s SmartWatch, now at its second version it features a 1.6 inch LCD screen along with a 220 x 176 resolution.

From the outside it certainly looks the most appealing; combining a colour display with Sony’s brand and design heritage it has a more serious and professional edge, which may in fact be its undoing.

The Pebble is new, it’s fun, and it isn’t necessarily trying to “run with the big boys” just yet.

It could almost be seen as an early concept which is showing the world what is possible, and has done extremely well; with more features and applications still being added.

But let’s be honest; there are three notable omissions who are yet to make their play.

You guessed it, the three tech giants; Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Starting with Microsoft, over at Redmond the boys and girls on the ‘Surface’ team are already supposedly hard at work on an interesting prototype; with an 80% translucent aluminium shell.

Google is hard to judge. Undoubtedly – and rumours point at - a smartwatch hiding away somewhere in testing over at Mountain View; yet the company is pushing their wearable ‘Glass’ eyewear product, which would surely replace the need for a watch?

Now we move on to the company most likely to have the most influential play into this market, Apple.

Notorious for biding their time and looking out for products which have interest, but sitting back and spending time to get them right, now could be the time for Apple’s oft talked about ‘iWatch’.

Extending the ecosystem to your wrist would open up a whole new world of opportunities for developers; connected to the rest of the iDevice and Mac line-up.

Yet it seems the company is in a sudden rush, perhaps due to the seemingly upcoming onslaught of competitors they do not want to be left behind. Despite actively hiring at a rapid pace supposedly for the project, it’s not thought ready for release until 2014.

What do you think about smartwatches? Do they have a future? Who will take the market?

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scott.tanzow
16 Jul 2013, 7:22 a.m.

Think about the mobile advertising potential here... especially on the Android side of the aisle. The possibilities give me a fiscal hard-on! Just wait until Airpush or MM let loose and start putting their innovation to work on ad formats for smartwatches. This may even be more effective/engaging than in-app advertising or SMS campaigns in some ways, not all, but some.

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