By Jim Karpen on Wed, 03/20/2013
I’ve never used a smart watch, so naturally it’s been hard for me to get psyched about the rumored Apple iWatch. I've had a hard time imagining how it would be useful to me. However, after reading AppleInsider's favorable review of the Pebble watch, which is now on the market and is iPhone compatible, I’m beginning to see how convenient a gadget like this could be.
The Pebble's hardware receives a lot of praise in the review. The highly readable display, even in sunlight, is 1.26 inches with a resolution of 144 x 168 pixels. It uses backlit e-paper technology and has a resolution of 144-by-168 pixels. The backlight is off by default, but if you're in the dark and need to see the watch face, you simply flick your wrist to turn on the backlight.
An Extension of Your Smart Phone
Smart watches are "connected devices;" that is, they rely on connecting to your iPhone or other smartphone via Bluetooth for a lot of their functionality. They are essentially wearable computers that are an extension of your smartphone. When checking your phone for the time, or to see who’s calling or texting, you no longer need to fumble in your purse or pocket; you simply look at your wrist — or other wearable device. Google Glass will have all this and more.
The AppleInsider review explains how the Pebble works with your iPhone. If you get an incoming call, the Pebble displays the caller ID. You tap an icon to either refuse or accept the call. Similarly, if your iPhone receives a notification such as an alert or text message or email, it displays on your watch face. The Pebble vibrates to alert you that it's there. A couple minutes after displaying the call or notification, the Pebble display automatically reverts back to the watch face that you've selected.
You can also use the Pebble to control your music and as an alarm. There are six built-in watch faces to choose from, and you can download more via the free Pebble Smartwatch app.
Apps Exclusively for Smart Watches
Pebble is actually a platform that's open to developers to create additional apps. A developer has already created an app that lets you control iTunes, PowerPoint, and Keynote via the Pebble. You can likely expect many more features to be added, such as calendar, stocks, weather, and a gauge that indicates your iPhone's battery status.
Yesterday Reuters reported Samsung is working on a smart watch intended to compete with Apple's rumored iWatch. It will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with. Inevitably it will come out with some sort of wearable computer; it certainly has a lot of patents. It's fun watching the wearable computing trend develop. I'm betting it will be more than a passing fad and will become a major market.