Are smartwatches the next big thing? | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 22.03.2013
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Are smartwatches the next big thing?

Samsung has confirmed that it's developing a smartwatch after weeks of rumours that Apple would also launch a smartwatch this year. Are smartwatches the new frontier? DW takes a look.

A smartwatch on a man's wrist (Copyright: Dan Race)

Smartwatch Smart Watch Uhr

A smartwatch goes beyond timekeeping. Its functionality can be compared to that of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) like Palm Pilots, which were popular in the early 2000s. But smartwatches can also include a camera, memory cards and WIFI capability.

The Pebble E-Paper Watch (above) was launched last year. It received a lot of attention as it is one of the most highly crowdfunded projects ever - raising more than $10 million to date. Pebble, which costs $150 (about 115 euros), allows the user to connect to a smartphone within a ten-meter (32ft) range. People who backed the project on Kickstarter with $115 or more got the first 200 watches at $99.

Connecting to a smartphone, allows Pebble to display incoming calls, email, text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter feeds, weather alerts, and it also has a vibrating alarm. You could say it's more discreet than a smartphone, so it could allow you to stay connected without appearing to be rude in meetings (or at the café with friends!).

Of course, the bigger players won't be left out.

Sony has launched a smartwatch (above), and Samsung is working on one as rumors continue to circulate about an imminent Apple "iWatch" release. But isn't it all a bit like the Casio Digital Watches of the 1980s - but with a few extra functions? At any rate, some users may not be willing to fork out an extra $100 for a device which is only an extension of their smartphone.

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