• Subir Biswas

The Evolution of Smartwatch (2020) | Tech-Knowledge

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

A smartwatch is a wearable computer; It has various types, sizes looks, and functionalities. If we look back we'll be able to understand the evolution of smartwatch in the consumer market. With the time of growth in the electronics industry from the last 30 years, the application of that new technology also got changed. And it mostly affects the small types of equipment. Smartwatch is one of those and the best part is this can be used for health monitoring.

The modern smartwatches provide a local touchscreen interface for daily use, while an associated smartphone app provides for management and telemetry. The major of smartwatches released nearly a decade ago, starting in 2012. Some watches released before 2012 without an advanced OS platform like Android or Tizen, those are not considered as "smartwatches," instead we can say "digital watches.” And here the evolution from Digital watch to smartwatch.

Pulsar P1 Limited Edition (Year: 1972)

The first digital watch, which debuted in 1972, was the Pulsar P1 manufactured by Hamilton Watch Company. "Pulsar" became a brand name that would later be acquired by Seiko in 1978.

Casio C-80 Calculator Watch (Year: 1980)

During the 1980s, Casio began to market a successful line of its calculator watches.

Pulser NL C01 (Year: 1982)

In 1982, a Pulsar watch (NL C01) was released which could store 24 digits, making it most likely the first watch with user-programmable memory, or "memory bank" watch.

Seico Data 2000 (Year: 1983/84)

With the introduction of personal computers in the 1980s, Seiko began to develop computers in the form of watches. The Data 2000 watch (1983) came with an external keyboard for data-entry. Data was synced from the keyboard to the watch via electro-magnetic coupling (wireless docking). The name comes from its ability to store 2000 characters. Its memory was tiny, at only 112 digits. It was released in 1984. Looks odd with the keyboard but it was a sensation.

Timex Datalink (Year: 1994)

The Timex Datalink wristwatch was introduced in 1994. The early Timex Datalink Smartwatches realized a wireless data transfer mode to communicate with a PC. Appointments and contacts created with Microsoft Schedule+, the predecessor of MS Outlook, could be easily transmitted to the watch via a screen blinking light protocol.

World First Linux wristwatch (Year: 1998)

In 1998, Steve Mann invented, designed, and built the world's first Linux wristwatch, which he presented at IEEE ISSCC2000 on 7 February 2000, where he was named "the father of wearable computing".

Samsung SPH-WP10 (Year: 1999)

In 1999, Samsung launched the world's first watch phone, the SPH-WP10. It had a protruding antenna, a monochrome LCD screen, and a 90-minutes of talk time with an integrated speaker and microphone. In June 2000, IBM displayed a prototype for a wristwatch that ran Linux. The original version had only 6 hours of battery life, which was later extended to 12. It featured 8 MB of memory and ran Linux 2.2. The device was later upgraded with an accelerometer, vibrating mechanism, and fingerprint sensor.

IBM Watchpad (Year: 2001)

IBM began to collaborate with Citizen Watch Co. to create the "WatchPad". The WatchPad 1.5, a wristwatch-sized device measuring 65 by 46 by 16 millimeters and weighing 43 grams, runs Linux on a 32-bit ARM processor at a maximum speed of 74MHz. It has 8M bytes of DRAM and 16M bytes of flash memory, a speaker and a microphone.

Fossil Wrist PDA (Year: 2003)

In 2003, Fossil released the Wrist PDA, a watch that ran the Palm OS and contained 8 MB of RAM and 4 MB of flash memory. It contained a built-in stylus to help use the tiny monochrome display, which had a resolution of 160×160 pixels.

Microsoft SPOT (Year: 2004)

In the same year, Microsoft announced the SPOT smartwatch and it began hitting stores in early 2004. SPOT stands for Smart Personal Objects Technology, an initiative by Microsoft to personalize household electronics and other everyday gadgets.

Sony Ericsson MBW-100 (Year: 2006)

Sony Ericsson teamed up with Fossils and released the first watch, MBW-100, that connected to Bluetooth. This watch notified the user when receiving calls and text messages. Though the watch was not popular as it would only connect and work with Sony Ericsson phones.

Samsung S9110 (Year: 2009)

In year 2009 Samsung launched the S9110 Watch Phone which featured a 1.76-inch (45 mm) color LCD display and was 11.98 millimeters (0.472 in) thin.

Sony Ericsson LiveView (Year: 2010)

In the 2010s Sony Ericsson launches the Sony Ericsson LiveView, a wearable watch device that is basically an external Bluetooth display for an Android Smartphone.

Vyzin VESAG(Year: 2011)

Vyzin Electronics Private Limited launched a ZigBee enabled smartwatch with cellular connectivity for remote health monitoring called VESAG.

Motorola MOTOACTV (Year: 2011)

Motorola released MOTOACTV on 6 November 2011. It contains a number of hardware features and software applications tailored to fitness training. The watch can communicate with external devices over Bluetooth 4.0 such as pulse sensors and Bluetooth stereo headphones for music.

Then the time comes for a smartwatch. The smartwatch has a significant number of concepts and terms need to understand. I'll discuss those in detail like Power Consumption (Always-On), Components, Conditions, Sensors such as the Gyroscope, Tag Expressions, Layers, Resources, Notifications, Widgets, Apps in the next article.

We'll see the next level of evolution of smartwatches introduced from 2012 and the additions of new technologies in the wearable. See the details below.

Sony Smartwatch 1 (Year: 2012) & 2 (Year: 2013)

Going back almost a decade, the first popular smartwatch was the Sony Smartwatch, released in 2012, running the Android WEAR API on a 1.3" OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display. The Sony Smartwatch (Version 1) has been succeeded by the Sony Smartwatch 2 in 2013.

Pebble Smartwatch (2013)

By 2013, in response to the Sony Smartwatch, a start-up company named Pebble had developed a smartwatch in 2012 and released an affordable smartwatch by January of 2013. Pebble smartwatches could be connected to Android or iOS phones and were able to show notifications and messages which came into the smartphone on the smartwatch. Support for Pebble smartwatches stopped in June of 2018.

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch (2013)

Thanks to Sony and Pebble, 2013 turned out to be a huge year for smartwatches. In September of 2013, another major industry player, Samsung Electronics, released the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. It has a 320x320-resolution, 1.63-inch, Super AMOLED screen. Built with a single-core 800MHz processor, Bluetooth 4.0, Accelerometer; Gyroscope, but also pack everything you need to record HD video (at 720P) and still photos. It has a 1.9-megapixel camera, a speaker, and two microphones as well.

Neptune Pine Smartwatch (2014)

In 2013 Neptune announced the Neptune Pine Smartwatch. The Neptune Pine became available to users in 2014 and ran the full Android OS. It has a micro-SIM option. The watch will allow you to make calls and will even let you connect to a data network. The watch will come with a 2.5-inch display, 1 GHz single-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, a 5-megapixel camera, Speakerphone, Microphone, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS and GSM connectivity. The watch is said to come in 8, 16, or 32 GB memory variants. Other features offered by the watch are a Digital compass, Heart Rate Monitor, FM Radio and a full QWERTY keyboard, that has been designed to fit the 2.4-inch display.

Samsung Gear Fit Smartwatch (2014)

In April of 2014, Samsung released the Gear Fit Smartwatch, which had a slim, curved OLED screen and fitness tracking sensors, which are a popular smartwatch feature for users who like to track their fitness. Features include a Heart Rate Sensor, Pedometer, Exercise Modes for Running and Walking, Companion Modes for Cycling and Hiking, and Sleep sensor. Samsung Gear Fit features a slim 1.84" curved Super AMOLED touch display with 432 x 128-pixel resolution. A 210 mAh battery gives users 3-5 days of usage before recharging. The watch body measures 23.4 mm x 57.4 mm x 11.95 mm (0.92 in x 2.26 in x 0.47 in), has replaceable watch bands, and weighs only 27 g (less than 1 ounce).

LG's “G" and “R” Smartwatches (2014)

The LG's "G" Watch (model W100, also code-named Dory) is an Android Wear-based smartwatch announced and released by LG and Google on June 25, 2014. It is compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 or later that support Bluetooth LE. The G Watch "R" version features a round face using an OLED. These smartwatches used a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2 GHz CPU and 512 MB of system memory with 4 GB of solid-state (Flash memory) storage. The display was a 1.65 in (42 mm) LCD with an RGB matrix using a lower screen resolution of 280 by 280 pixels.

Samsung Gear S Smartwatch (2014)

Samsung released the Gear S in August of 2014, this smartwatch is untethered from the smartphone using 3G connectivity and has increased display quality using a 2 inch curved Super AMOLED display, with a 360 by 480 resolution. The Gear S is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor from Qualcomm and has half a gigabyte of system memory (512 MB) and 4 GB of SSD (Solid-State Data) storage (equivalent to a high-speed hard disk drive, or HDD). Accelerometer, a Gyroscope, a Compass, a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM), an Ambient Light sensor, a UV sensor (the Gear S is the only smartwatch which features one of these), and a Barometer. This smartwatch is a pretty amazing value for a couple hundred bucks, being the only smartwatch with a UV sensor on the market.

Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch (2015)

Samsung released the Gear S2 in 2015, which can be untethered from the smartphone using optional 3G connectivity and has increased display quality using a 1.2" 302 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) Super AMOLED circular display with a 360 by 360 resolution. The display features capacitive touchscreen input, dual microphones, and sensors for a Pedometer (9-axis sensor), PPG heart rate monitor, and ambient light sensor. The non-3G model can connect with Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) or Bluetooth LE. The Gear S2 also has a Speaker (available on the 3G version only). It is compatible with 20-mm width watch straps for Men who like larger-sized watches. The processor on the non-3G model is an Exynos 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, and the processor on the 3G model is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU.

Apple iWatch (2015)

In April of 2015, Apple unveiled the iWatch, with significantly lesser resolution than the 360 x 480 Samsung Gear S, at 340 x 272 pixels and 390 x 312-pixel versions. Apple smartwatches use the WatchOS 2 API to tether to the iPhone.

Huawei Watch (2015)

In September of 2015, Huawei released its Android Smartwatch. The Huawei Watch form factor is based on the circular design of traditional watches, 42mm AMOLED display. The screen's resolution is one of the highest (best) at 400 x 400 pixels at more than 285 PPI, although LG now has a model that features 480 by 480 pixels. This first Huawei Watch used a powerful 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. All versions of the original Huawei Watch had 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal data storage, along with a gyroscope, accelerometer, vibration motor, and heart rate sensor. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE but does not support GPS location.

Then the time comes for a smartwatch. The smartwatch has a significant number of concepts and terms need to understand. I'll discuss those in detail like Power Consumption (Always-On), Components, Conditions, Sensors such as the Gyroscope, Tag Expressions, Layers, Resources, Notifications, Widgets, Apps in a separate article.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Smartwatch (2016)

The successor to the Gear Fit came out in June of 2016 and was aptly named the Gear Fit 2. Compared to the Gear Fit of 2014, the Fit 2 has a new wristband and has an updated design, a built-in GPS, and an ability to automatically recognize different fitness activities. The Gear Fit 2 features a Barometer and a Heart Rate Monitor. It is compatible with Android phones running OS 4.4 or later. It uses the Tizen operating system and featured a 1 GHz CPU with a 4 GB SSD.

Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch (2016)

On November 18 of 2016, Samsung unveiled the Gear S3 Smartwatch, with 360 by 360 resolution at 278 PPI (Pixels Per Inch, a pixel density measurement) in a 1.3 inch Super AMOLED (round) screen. Samsung Gear 3 Smartwatches use the Tizen 3.0 OS and feature sensors for an Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, Heart Rate Monitor, Ambient light, and Speedometer. The Gear S3 has two models: the Classic and Frontier. The Classic has a silver watch case and black leather band; the Frontier has a black watch case and rubber band. Both are water resistant, rated IP68, and have GPS. One notable feature is that the bezel ring rotates as part of a user interface, although users can also navigate by swiping the screen or using the two buttons on the side. The Gear S3 features advanced 380 mAh wireless charging, using a WPC inductive charger.

Huawei Watch 2 (2017)

By April of 2017, Huawei had released its Android WEAR2 Smartwatch. The Huawei Watch 2 form factor is also based on the circular design of traditional watches, like many of Samsung's smartwatches. Huawei Watch supports a 45 mm (1.2 inches) AMOLED display. The screen's resolution is slightly lower at 390 x 390 pixels at more than 325 PPI. This watch uses a powerful 1.1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 WEAR processor. The Huawei Watch 2 has 768 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal data storage, along with a gyroscope, accelerometer, vibration motor, and heart rate sensor. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE but does not support GPS location. The watch uses a magnetic charging cradle, with a day and a half of battery life at 420 mAh. The Huawei Watch case is impressive and looks like a conventional analog watch, comprised of stainless steel with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the watch face front.

Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatch (2017)

In 2017 Samsung unveiled the Gear Sport Smartwatch, with 360 by 360 resolution at 302 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) in a 1.2 inch Super AMOLED (round) screen. Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatches feature a simpler and more durable exterior bezel and strap design, which is more optimized for use in sporting scenarios, but use advanced technologies such as the Tizen 3.0 OS and advanced sensors for Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, Heart Rate Monitor, and Ambient Light. The Gear Sport also features water resistance to five atmospheres (5 ATM) and weighs only 67 g. It uses the latest Gorilla Glass 3 standard and Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Apple Watch 3 (2017)

In September, 2017 Apple launched watch series 3. It is fourth-generation model of the Apple Watch. This model came with Retina OLED display with 2 sizes (42mm or 38mm case size). Runs on Dual-core S3 SiP. It includes an optical heart sensor for measuring your heart rate and heart rhythm and GPS to pinpoint your location. Additionally, it has facility of Accelerometer (up to 16 g-forces), Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor, Microphone and speaker with call facility (connected with phone) and NFC which allows the Apple Pay facility.