Wearable technology is all the craze nowadays. Smart this, smart that. Almost any gadget that’s “smart” automatically earns the classification of a wearable device. But, what, technically, does it mean? For starters, let’s look at everything that you need to know about smart watches.
What does it do, and how is it different from a normal watch?
From the outside, smart watches don’t look that much different from standard digital watches today. That is until it lights up. It shows its true form as its screen menu is accessed, revealing that it is, in essence, tech accessory. Just as how smartphones are sometimes dubbed as pocket PCs, smart watches are overly simplified wrist smartphones. Most smart watches are designed to communicate with your smartphone via Bluetooth, enabling all of the functions that will be discussed briefly on some of the other questions below.
What about its interface? Is it the same as smartphones and tablets?
Yes… and no. Its interface is indeed somewhat similar to that of smartphones and tablets, especially with its touchscreen accessibility. However, a smart watch has its own developed OS, built to optimize the capabilities of the device. For the Apple Watch, it’s the watchOS, which is highlighted by its distinct ‘Carousel’ home screen that features circular app icons. For Android smart watches, we have Android Wear, which introduces the all-familiar Google Now interface when accessing its functions. Buttons are simplistic, access menus are given in large icons, and, overall, the screen is visually clean. As a standard watch, it provides several available watch faces, with some having very fun and innovative designs for a modern watch.
What are its uses? How are its functions used and optimized?
The answer to this is somewhat tricky, because as mentioned earlier, you use it intuitively like a small smartphone or tablet. But the main perk of a smart watch is its near-instant accessibility, meaning that information is given in one glance. Do you need to know the weather, check notifications, check the date and time, view your reminders? Voice interfacing also plays a key role in its functions, for activating and using various stuff like messaging, taking notes, or opening smartphone apps. If you have several tracking apps on your smartphone, then the chances are that some of them already have a compatible app for the smart watch that you plan to use.
Should I buy one, and would I need it?
Practicality-wise no, or at least you should still wait for the technology to develop further. As cool and as geeky the concept is, the applications for smart watches aren’t as clear and obvious as that for smartphones and tablets. For now, it is more of a ‘want’ than an actual ‘need’ to get one. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it out for yourself when you have the chance. If instantly sending text messages via your wrist, quickly taking voice-activated notes, or using various tracking apps is your cup of tea, and then you already have a good reason to try out a smart watch.