There existed watches since 1500 BC. Europeans, Germans, Philips, Romans had different ways to make the watches and were basically for taking a look at the time. Analog watches arrived in 1770, which had and still have an hour, minute, and second hands just like we have in a wall clock. Mechanical watches were invented a lot before and were sold for vast amounts of money, which people couldn’t afford.
People have been wearing digital wristwatches since the mid of 19th century; they used to have joy when they felt that time is moving with them. Understanding the complicated system and bringing it to the market was not an easy job. Manufacturers suffered multiple denials at first but then got in the flow and earned profits.
With the advancement of time, wristwatches got Strontium Aluminate (SrAl₂O₄), which made them even exciting. This compound was painted on the hands (hour and minute) and the digits of the watch. It glowed, which made people see the time even in the dark. Consumers were fascinated, and the average sale rate increased in the 1890s from let’s suppose 2000 units to 25000 units per week.
As we move further with time, the arrival of smartwatches took place. The first smartwatch was manufactured in 1998 by the famous company Seiko who still has sales touching the top bar in the Graph Sheet. Seiko Ruputer had 16 bit 3.6 Mhz Processor, 2 MB of Storage with 128 KB RAM. Yes, these specs look a lot vintage, but this thing performed very well in those days! Data entry had a clumsy but exciting method. The first one was through a tiny joystick, which was mounted on the bottom of the LCD monochrome display. The second method was to synchronize data from a PC through the software sold with it. It had two button cells to power it and weighed 52 grams. Seiko’s effort was in vain. They weren’t able to sell many units of this watch. The two main reasons for Seiko’s unsuccess were, first, the size of the screen, which made it awkward to display messages in text, and second the data entry method through the joystick, which was as difficult as entering a name in the arcade machine.
With the end of the 20th Century, 21st has seen a significant sale increasing from 25% in 1995 to 75% until 2010. It was all due to Asus, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, pebble, Fossil, Apple, Fitbit, and Sony. They were pondering over the years to create a user friendly, easy to use watch which could give the freedom to use them as an alternative to laptops or even mobile devices. Most of the companies listed above made their watches run on Android WearOS, which was started by Android Inc. and was dedicated to Smartwatches only.
Apple has had a habit of standing out of the crowd always, in every field. They have their watches with different architectures, design, and even Operating System! The specs of the 21st century’s available smartwatches are a lot dignified, or you can say more fashionable than Apple’s structure and framework. Moto 360, Asus Zenwatch, Huawei Watch, LG Watch, Fossil Q Series, Samsung Gear ran, and their successors even run on AndroidWearOS only; they have the specs 1GHz Processor, 4 GB Storage, 2-3 GB RAM, and they vary over the display sizes as well.
Apple Watch works on WatchOS, which gets new upgrades every year and is present with 78% of Americans and 89% of other worldwide consumers. What people like about Apple is that they integrate super cool technologies, which are mostly ahead of time in such small packages. Nobody ever imagined Heart Rate sensor, ECG monitor, and even haptic feedback with vibration motors, to be there in a wristwatch, calling, messaging, replying, navigating, listening, paying (with NFC), and controlling Apple devices from the wrist, which Apple made possible while keeping all the simplicity in mind. A wide range of swappable brands with all the models was also one of the inventions Apple has made. Moving on to a smartwatch framework, a smartwatch has a front end structure that displays all the data and takes all the commands we are giving it to the back end to process and give us the result back.
What’s next for smartwatches: Health, features, and more. The future is pretty excited after the launch of Series 5 and 6 in the same year by Apple Inc. With Android and other manufacturers who have WearOS on their watches are not rolling out any new products after some from Fossil, Seiko, Noise, Garmin et al. We can expect ECG and active BPM monitors on watches from Google and other partner manufacturers after their rival rolled out new and improved watches with even more epic features including ECG, Blood Oxygen monitors, irregular heart rate notifications and GPS + Cellular with an eSIM which is compatible even if you don’t carry an iPhone.
Battery life has been the worst part of almost every smartwatch until now; improved (2-3 day lasting batteries) are expected from the future watches with all the cool, minimal features they have been offering and will continue to provide decades with. Google, too, has work to do on the battery life front with Wear OS smartwatches. In March, Dennis Troper, head of product for Wear OS, told that the teams are working to optimize battery life by looking at and investing in three things: “the display level, the network routing or network traffic level, and then at the CPU level. Plus, Qualcomm is unveiling its new smartwatch platform on 10 September – earlier this year, Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm’s senior director of wearables, told us the new chips would provide better battery life and improved fitness support. (Qualcomm has, in the past, also excited the prospect of smartwatches getting smaller).
Fitbit and their new watches with the female health tracking feature have inspired their rivals for measuring menstrual health, diabetes with almost 98% accuracy in the results. Right now, it’s relatively useful for manually tracking periods, symptoms, and moods, etc., and getting alerts around what stage of your menstrual cycle you’re in. An excerpt from the website Wareable suggests the following facts.
Elsewhere, Fitbit just launched a Dexcom app for people with diabetes to see their glucose levels on their smartwatch (measured by a Dexcom device), so expect many more health app collaborations where that came from. Both the Ionic and the Versa smartwatches also include a light SpO2 sensor, a pulse oximeter, which measures blood oxygen levels. This could be useful for tackling disorders like sleep apnea, but right now, it’s not being used for anything – expect health tech fanfare when it is.
With the introduction of smart and intelligent sensors in the smartwatches as of 2020, the future isn’t far that we can have watches that do not need mobile phones to be connected with them for synchronization and provision of all the features.