Ever since I got a cell phone, I barely use a watch for the actual purpose of keeping time. Checking the time on your phone goes hand in hand with getting notifications from apps. But with more and more smartwatches being produced, bringing these notifications onto your wrist switches the habit back.
A smartwatch is a digital wristwatch that is connected your smartphone. Its main function is to send notifications from smartphone to the watch via Bluetooth so owners do not have to take their phones out to see important notifications. Along with this most smartwatches allow the owner to see caller ID, control the music playing and check the weather.
Some brands of smartwatches have different, extra features. For example, Samsung Galaxy Gear has a 1.9-megapixel camera built in, and the soon-to-be-released Neptune Pine has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. Other features such as voice command can be found on Samsung Galaxy Gear and Martian Watches.
However, not every smartwatch works with every phone. While most smartwatches are compatible with the Android platform, Pebble and Martian are two of few smartwatches that have iPhone compatibility. Apple is rumored to be releasing an iWatch some time this year.
The advantage that I see from the smartwatch is how much more convenient it will make our lives. You do not need to take your phone out of your pocket just to see if there are new Twitter notifications. In social gatherings or meetings, you can look less rude while checking both the time and your incoming messages. Also, with most smartwatches being water resistant, you will not miss an important call when you swim. My favorite smartwatch advantage, however, has to be playing and changing music in the shower.
Nevertheless, getting immediate notification on your wrist also leads to a drawback. Sure, it is nice not to always carry my phone, but I do not think I actually need to be reminded of every single notification all the time (no pun intended). It might be nice not to be bothered from all the Facebook game requests when you swim or be reminded of a phone call during a concert. I have a feeling that smartwatches make our lives more bonded to our phone and to social media activity.
Some critics, however believe that the smartwatch is not a noteworthy development in technology. Since smartwatches are connected to smartphones via Bluetooth, having the devices more than 32 feet apart from each other will not cause the watch to show the notifications. A smartwatch is not a standalone device, making it nothing more than the smartphone’s external notification machine. In Christina Bonnington review of Samsung Galaxy Gear for Wired magazine, she calls it just a “$300 smartphone accessory.”
Still, there is possibly a bright future for the smartwatch. More technology companies are developing better and more useful smartwatches, and some are even trying to make them standalone devices, such as the Neptune Pine. It will have a 4G-network support and up to 64-gigabytes of storage, making it sounds like a tiny version of a smartphone. These advances raise the question: will the smartwatch replace the smartphone in the future? And how will we answer a phone call on a watch strapped to our wrist? Only time will tell.