Definition

smartwatch

Contributor(s): Alyssa Wood

A smartwatch is a wearable computing device that closely resembles a wristwatch or other time-keeping device.

In addition to telling time, many smartwatches are Bluetooth-capable. The watch becomes, in effect, a wireless Bluetooth adaptor capable of extending the capabilities of the wearer's smartphone to the watch. In such a case, the wearer can use the watch's interface to initiate and answer phone calls from their mobile phone, read email and text messages, get a weather report, listen to music, dictate email or text messages or ask a digital assistant a question. 

Other smartwatches are standalone devices and purpose-specific, for instance collecting data about the wearer's health or providing GPS capabilities. Such watches may have their own apps capable of gathering and tracking data about the wearer's heart rate or providing the wearer with walking or driving directions. 

Smartwatches available today include Sony SmartWatch, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Gear Fit, NikeFuel and Pebble Watch. Companies such as Apple and LG have also suggested that they have smartwatches in development. Proponents of smartwatch development commend the convenience that a smartwatch offers, while critics point out that most smartwatches are large and clunky and not very stylish or elegant. 

See also: bring your own wearables (BYOW)

 

 

 

This was last updated in May 2014

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I think it was a mistake to conflate the notion of a "small, wearable computer" with that of a watch. I understand, skeumorphism wants us to make it look like something we're already familiar with, but that same skeumorphism is going to make it difficult to see the value in it *beyond* that of a watch. It's limiting.
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