Smart watches are supposed to be the big new thing. Is there a market for them? Or is the mobile industry just fantasizing? A decade ago the first smart watches appeared, but never caught on. Today's smart watched do not really do much more than back then.
On I4U News we reported about the first smart watches over 10 years ago. Japanese watch makers Seiko and Citizen developed Bluetooth watches that worked with smartphones to display calls and messages. The photo shows the first commercially available Bluetooth watch, the Citizen VIRT. It was released in 2006, after years of trade-show prototype show-offs.
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Today's smart watches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony Smart Watch and the Pebble sport shiny graphical displays, but basically are not offering more functionality than the first Bluetooth watches. The experience is richer as today we have more messaging services than ten years ago.
Today's smart watches are still just companion gadgets that display calls and messages from your smartphone. Does the mass market need that? Are smart watches offering functionality that are reason enough to start wearing a (big!) watch again (many stopped wearing watches because the mobile phone shows the time)? In my opinion the answer to above questions is no.
I am still assume that Apple has come up with something new that will change the current smart watch concept. On the other hand I do not want to be tempted to replace my Tag Heuer Monaco with an iWatch.
While scanning through our archives for smart watches, I stumbled over the Fossil Palm PDA watch again. This touch-screen watch was revealed in 2002 and went on sale in 2003. The Fossil PDA watch appears smaller than any of today smart watches. Keep in mind that this was about a dozen years ago.