As you read this, engineers are hard at work turning out what they hope will be the next tech mega-trend: eWatches. It’s smartphone-meets-fitness tracker-meets, well…watch. Sure, they’re new and so cool, but is an eWatch worthy of your next tech investment? Take a look at three getting big buzz right now and decide for yourself.
A Kickstarter success story all grown up, the Pebble watch uses an e-paper display so you can see the screen in direct sunlight. It pairs to an iPhone or Android phone, so you can see phone, text, and email notifications appear on your wrist even when the phone’s tucked away inside a bag. It even has great apps (yes, your watch will have apps!) including fitness ones like RunKeeper and my everything app, Evernote.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is the closest thing to a smartphone on your wrist currently out there—it’s basically the Dick Tracy watch come to life. Gear works in sync with a Galaxy phone; any messages or calls the phone receives will appear on the watch. That, plus a camera (I repeat, camera on your wrist) will have you pulling out your phone a lot less. And just to take it a step further, the Galaxy Gear Fit is the first eWatch with a curved display that hugs your wrist and tracks your heart rate and counts steps.
Google’s answer to eWatches is the Moto360, a seriously stylish option debuting this summer. It looks more like an analog watch (finally, one of these things looks like a pretty watch I’d actually wear), yet will be compatible with Google apps and the Android ecosystem. Fun addition: it borrows voice activation from the eGlasses, Google Glass, so Moto360 receives commands when you say “OK Google.”
Okay, so here’s my assessment: I have a Pebble watch, and I’ve tested others like the Galaxy Gear and this cool one from Cogito. My experience with Pebble has been really positive, and it definitely helps me untether from my phone a bit—I can set alerts to let me know what’s going on, and then opt to pick up my phone to respond if I want to. So that’s good. It also helps me get from place to place with calendar notifications…also good. But is it a necessity? I’m thinking no, not just yet. If it’s activity tracking you’re after, I’d opt for the slim profile of a fitness-only band.
These are still the early days of eWatches, so expect them to update quickly as brands come out with their own models, which Apple is rumored to be doing soon. For early adopters who have to have the latest and greatest, though, how can you resist? They’re definitely cool conversation starters, and tons of fun to wear.
It’s a trend to (ahem) watch.
Which eWatch would you wear? Tell me in the comments!