Like gadgets out of the old Dick Tracy comics, wristwatches that do everything from providing notifications from smartphones to giving live updates on stocks and sports are making a push to be the next must-have electronics. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
Recently pegged for obsolescence along side things like the cassette tape or rotary phone, wristwatches are not going down without a fight. Sure, consumers can pick up a smartphone to check the time, but a new wave of "smartwatches" that connect wirelessly via Bluetooth can can show notifications from smartphones with a lift of the wrist.
The Pebble watch is starting to ship, the most funded project to date on the social-funding site Kickstarter. But there are lots out there, from big companies like Sony and Motorola to small ones like Cuckoo or MetaWatch.
"It's really designed to give you what we call 'hands freedom,' a simple vibration in your watch and a glance tells you about an incoming notification whether you need to deal with it now or later," says Bill Geiser of MetaWatch. "You've got the ability to configure the face of the watch with time, date and certain kinds of widgets might be weather, stocks, sports or other information."
Many watches are open for app developers to write new software, from remote camera shutters to fitness functionality.
Yet it's still not certain whether consumers will just want to reach into their pockets to look at their phones rather than spend on smartwatches, and many wonder how well these first smartwatches work.
"Is it easier to look at your wrist rather than pull out your phone? I think so. But are these working as well as they should? Not yet. When you have something this small, the battery wears down fairly quickly. Also, it's connected to your phone so that battery wears down. So you're running out of battery almost immediately in some cases," says John Biggs of TechCrunch. "All of them have their pluses and minuses, so take a look and wait for a while. Give it a good year before you invest in a smartwatch."
Those who want to be early investors have to pay about $150 to $200 for one of these watches.