Digital Crave

Are ‘smartwatches’ a smart buy?

Digital Crave

View gallery

.

We've seen smartphones, smart TVs, smart cars and smart homes. So why not smartwatches?

You don't need to be Dick Tracy to see the appeal of adding extra functionality to your wrist — be it text messaging, video calling, GPS tracking or customizable apps.

In fact, it's already here.

Sure, it's been a few years since Timex first introduced Ironman with Data Link, the company's first watch to combine a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a multi-function sport timekeeping device. And then there were the Fossil SPOT watches that operated on Microsoft's wirelessly-connected Smart Personal Objects Technology. Ahead of its time, perhaps, as these technologies failed to gain mainstream appeal.

Today, however, there are many high-tech wristwatches debuting — though some seem more promising than others.

The Sony SmartWatch ($149.99), for example, pairs with a nearby Android smartphone via Bluetooth, through a free app downloadable from Google Play (formerly Android Market).

Setting up the color SmartWatch was straightforward enough, as was selecting what supported apps to download -- though be aware the 1.3-inch OLED touchscreen might be smaller than you realize. In fact, the screen doesn't fill up the entire watch face. And the screen can be somewhat hard to read in bright sunshine unless you cup the top of the screen with your other hand.

As you'd expect, this 0.5-ounce smartwatch lets you read texts, emails and social networking updates from sites like Facebook or Twitter. Plus, it supports about 60 other apps, too, including Google Maps, Weather and Gmail. To swap between installed apps, simply swipe left or right between them.

The smartwatch also vibrates to let you know when a call is coming in and you can control music on your smartphone while it's tucked away in a purse or pocket. Some of the apps seem a little ridiculous — for example, who wants to snap pictures with your Android smartphone via the watch? — but others are more appealing, like a quick glance at the weather or reading a text and tapping to reply with a preset message like "Call you shortly."

The dust- and splash-proof SmartWatch ships with a black silicone wristband, but five additional colors are available for purchase: white, pink, mint, grey and blue. Battery life lived up to its promise of up to an entire week between charges; a small USB cable is included with four "teeth" that clamp onto the back of the watch face.

BlackBerry users, on the other hand, might consider the inPulse smartphone watch (from $99). Also available for Android devices, this wireless smartphone accessory for the wrist lets you read emails and texts, see caller ID and calendar alerts. Smartwatch apps range from ways managing presentations (going forward and back through PowerPoint slides) and games (like Cavern) to world clocks, stopwatches and multiple digital clock skins to customize its appearance.

View gallery

.

In fact, the maker of the inPulse watch, Allerta, is also working on a new smartwatch, Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android. Due out later this year, the product has raised more than $10.2 million dollars from supporters via KickStarter -- the most money ever raised on the popular crowdfunding platform.

Check out the original KickStarter video pitch on the Pebble here: Pebble: E-Paper Watch

While the number of Pebble pledgers is quite remarkable -- roughly 69,000 in total -- some may question why we need an extra screen in our lives. That is, if the smartphone replaced the wristwatch, do we really need to reintroduce it again? Are we that lazy we can't pull out our smartphone? And in many cases, these watches require a nearby phone to work.

Personally, I do like how some watches let you control the music on a tucked-away smartphone, offered by the Sony SmartWatch and iPulse, as well as the now-defunct Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Bluetooth Watch. And I also thought it was a good idea products like the Helium Digital Wristband Communicator would vibrate if you walk too far away from your phone — ideal for forgetful types.

Not all smartwatches are wireless either. ThinkGeek has its stainless steel MP4 Watch ($89.99) that lets you watch videos, listen to music, see photos and read e-books. There's also the ThinkGeek USB Hidden Flash Drive Watch ($49.99), which holds up to 8 Gigabytes of files on a discrete USB connector hidden behind the face.

View gallery

.

Finally, those how own a 6th generation iPod nano might opt for an iWatchz accessory (from $24.95), which turns the square-shaped portable media player into a wristwatch. In fact, the iPod has 18 different watch faces to choose from, ranging from analog and digital options to Disney and The Muppets characters. This hands-free accessory is also perfect for those who'd like to exercise while listening to their music (with album artwork), plus there's also a built-in pedometer, FM radio, stopwatch and support for podcasts.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      People
    • Aaron Hernandez's hidden sexuality fueled the murder of Odin Lloyd, police sources say

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Don't miss: Quora Question: Will the Senate Scrap the Filibuster for Legislation?

      Newsweek q
    • After Their Flight Attendant Made A Mum Cry, American Airlines Reacted Perfectly

      The days of "flying the friendly skies" appear to be long gone, but American Airlines is at least trying to fix the latest flight attendant controversy to go viral. On Friday, a flight attendant on board American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas heatedly scolded a female passenger travelling alone with two children for attempting to store her buggy in an overhead locker, reports ABC News affiliate WFAA in Dallas. When another male passenger came to the mother's defence, the flight attendant then reportedly got physical, threatening the man who had spoken up on the young mother's behalf before a pilot appeared and attempted to calm down the irate flight attendant.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted

      Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century. As National Geographic showed us in 2013, sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world's major cities.

      Business Insider q
    • Man Who Cracked Missing Student and Teacher Case Says Teen 'Looked Depressed'

      "At first I thought they were on hard times and lost everything, then figured it out. It was twisted," Griffin Barry told Inside Edition.

      Inside Edition
    • Dear Abby: My late wife's sisters hating that I'm dating

      DEAR ABBY: My wife of 43 years died nine months ago after losing her four-year battle with cancer. I met a woman who had also experienced tragedy in her life, and we started seeing each other casually. When my wife’s three sisters found out, I became the outcast. Why do people think there is a set time to grieve? Life is too short to sit and pine. Memories will always be there. This woman has brought me out of my depression and sorrow. I can’t understand how people I thought cared for me could be so mean. I was told by the pastor and hospice counselor that grieving takes time, but what is enough time? I was also told to look at the marriages of these women. When I did, I realized that they were

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • Your Handy Guide to the 6 Types of Bikini Bottoms

      Just like how underwear comes in different styles, so too do bikini bottoms. The cheeky, the high waist, and the hipster are some terms you may have heard of. Not to get all technical, but when you shop for body-flattering swimsuits, you should be somewhat familiar with the different styles. They play a role in your overall look! Though bikini bottoms can be an amalgam of two styles (you can wear a high-waisted bottom that also has a deep-V cut), we've narrowed down the categories to six common selections. These are the ones you'll come back to time and time again. Hipster High-Waisted Cheeky High Cut Boy Short Classic Bikini

      PopSugar q
    • Airline to slap belligerent passengers who delay flights with hefty fines

      After one too many incidents involving belligerent customers -- who also happened to be members of parliament -- Air India announced that unruly passengers who cause a flight delay of up to one hour will be slapped with a hefty $7,750 (5 lakh in rupees) fine. Last month, a member of parliament was charged with assaulting a 60-year-old airline staffer with his slippers during an altercation that delayed an Air India flight.

      AFP Relax News
    • ITF launch Nastase investigation after Serena Williams comments

      (Reuters) - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has launched an investigation into Romania's Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase after the former world number one allegedly made a derogatory comment about Serena Williams' unborn child. At the Fed Cup draw in Constanta on Friday, Nastase, 70, was heard speaking in Romanian to one of his team members about Williams' baby. Williams, who confirmed her pregnancy through a spokeswoman on Wednesday, is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is white.

      Reuters
    • Aaron Hernandez's Sex Life Probed as Murder Motive, Police Source Says

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Don't miss: Quora Question: Will the Senate Scrap the Filibuster for Legislation?

      Newsweek
    • Man attacked by two pit bulls as he tries to save Jack Russell terrier

      A pit bull attack leaving both a man and his Jack Russell terrier severely injured was caught on camera. We want to warn you that some viewers might find the video hard to watch. The man who was viciously attacked by two pit bulls while trying to save his little dog spoke to FOX 11 about his terrifying ordeal. The incident happened on a dock at Catalina Island. The victim's daughter said her dad was walking his Jack Russell terrier when two un-leashed pit bulls attacked. The victim threw himself on his dog to protect him, but then the pit bulls started attacking the man. The agitated dogs turned on their owner, a woman seen in the video sitting down on the dock. The male victim and his dog both

      Fox News q
    • American Airlines Suspends Worker After Ugly Confrontation In Which A Mom Was Allegedly Hit In The Face

      In the latest dust-up on a U.S. plane, an American Airlines employee was captured on video saying to a passenger “C’mon, hit me,” during a tense showdown on a San Francisco flight.

      The Huffington Post
    • Man Attacked by 2 Dogs While Trying to Protect His Jack Russell Terrier

      A caught-on-video attack by two dogs on Catalina Island this week left a Huntington Beach man in the hospital and his Jack Russell terrier seriously injured.

      Tribune
    • Tad Cummins' Family Reacts To His Arrest

      The ex-teacher was charged with knowingly transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the intention to engage in sexual activity.

      International Business Times
    • I worked under a serial sexual harasser. I know the real reason Bill O’Reilly was fired.

      A demonstrator protests Bill O’Reilly outside of the Fox News headquarter in New York, New York on April 19.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

      Vox.com q
    • Kim Kardashian's Dress Is Completely See-Through (38 photos)

      From sweatshirts to slip dresses and all that's in-between, check back as we track Kim Kardashian West's ongoing street style looks. From Harper's BAZAAR

      Harper's Bazaar
    • Jessica Biel’s son has invented a totally new use for her fancy shoes

      Jessica Biel definitely has a fantastic sense of style, but now we know it’s really Jessica Biel’s son who’s the chic one in…

      Hello Giggles
    • UC Berkeley students threaten to sue over Ann Coulter visit

      The University of California at Berkeley students who invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus are threatening to sue the university if it doesn't find a proper time and venue for the conservative pundit ...

      Associated Press
    • Aaron Hernandez once told Ian Rapoport if you f--- me over, I’ll kill you’

      When Aaron Hernandez was being investigated for murder, NFL reporter Ian Rapoport saw an interaction he had with Hernandez years earlier in a whole new light.

      Sports Illustrated