The watch is back and it's smarter than ever
Jul 17, 2013
Apparently not. It's a foregone conclusion that time will be back on the wrist again after a brief period hiding awkwardly on the smartphone. Market analysis from Canalys puts the smart watch market size at five million units shipped in 2014, when the idea really takes off, up by ten times today's figure and no doubt rising exponentially to tens of millions after that.
And the more they think about it, the more the big device companies think it's all a done deal. And the more they think it's a done deal, the more they worry that the other guy is going to beat them to it. There appears to be a fear frenzy.
So much so that Apple, long thought to have been working away at the watch but never producing a prototype good enough to get the nod from Jobs, is rumoured to be closing in on a launch date. Microsoft, Samsung and Google are also in the running: Samsung will have a watch as part of its 'wearable' technology line and Google has been developing an Android watch.
And while Sony has already produced one as has start-up Pebble, the majors are thought likely to be taking the concept a stage further.
But of course it's not a question of 'time'. The time will be there but - like many smartphones' actual phone - it will be a hygiene factor. Canalys points out that today's Sony and Pebble watches are mostly about interacting with the smartphone by displaying its messages, controlling its music and so on. The coming generation is expected to push way past that to offer an independent communications capability and even to orchestrate body sensors to monitor heart-rate, temperature and the like.
Apple is rumoured to be nearing launch (isn't it always?) and it has been nailing down the iWatch trademark around the world.
Microsoft is reportedly working on a 'Surface' smart watch with talk of it being made available in multiple colours and running an adapted version of Windows 8. Microsoft is looking to build in radios so it can be used independently of a smartphone.
Much will depend on design and not technology as this is jewelry. So might we see a diversity of styles, maybe even some 1980s retro?
If so I urge Casio to produce a smart watch version of its 1985 classic 'calculator watch' complete with tiny little calculator keyboard. Technology watches didn't really take off back then, but I'm hoping the watch revival will enable me to dust off my own old calculator watch - I still have it somewhere.