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smartwatchA computer-based wristwatch that provides an extension to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Emerging in 2011, by 2015 there were more than 100 models on the market. A major smartphone advantage is handling phone calls and messages without having to extract the phone from pocket or purse, although not every model supports this feature. The Gear S was the first stand-alone smartwatch to have a unique phone number and make calls entirely on its own (see Samsung Gear S).
Smartwatches often include exercise apps for managing health (see fitness tracker) and may have built-in pulse sensors for reading the wearer's heartbeat. After only a few years in the market, fitness turned out to be a major inducement for a smartwatch. Where applicable, mobile apps are enhanced to synchronize with smartwatches.
In 2015, the introduction of the Apple Watch line made quite a splash as both a fashion statement and a smartwatch with unique features (see Apple Watch).
Throughout the 2000s, a variety of smartwatches emerged that were not synchronized with a smartphone (see Microsoft Smart Watch). See hybrid smartwatch, Samsung Gear, notification fatigue and personal communicator.
|Dick Tracy Watch (1946)|
|This two-way radio became synonymous with the comic-strip detective created by Chester Gould from 1931 to 1977. In 2014, the Dick Tracy watch became a reality. (Image courtesy of copyright holder Tribune Content Agency LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)|
|With Kickstarter funding, Pebble watches debuted in 2013 for iOS and Android. Their low-power monochrome screens last several days on a single charge. In 2016, Pebble was acquired by Fitbit. (Images courtesy of Pebble, www.getpebble.com)|
|Available for iOS and Android phones, 15 models of META watches came in three case styles in 2014. Battery life is rated at one week. (Images courtesy of MetaWatch, www.meta.watch)|
|A Fast-Moving Industry|
|Within a few years, a plethora of smartphones debuted. Unfortunately, the cleverly designed i'm Watch failed to meet expectations and was discontinued in 2014. (Images courtesy of Sony Corporation, Martian Watches and i'm S.p.A.)|
|Make Every Watch a Smartwatch|
|The Chronos disc attaches to the underside of any watch 31 mm or larger. Only 3 mm thick, it provides user-selected notifications with eight vibration patterns and seven LED colors, and it also offers fitness tracking. (Image courtesy of CHRONOS WEARABLES, www.wearchronos.com)|
|Getting Closer All the Time|
|Forecasting the future smartwatch, this Hitachi mock-up was created in 2000. Except for video calls, it's here now. (Image courtesy of Hitachi America, Ltd.)|