We look at some of the best smartwatch concepts out there.
With Samsung and Sony both launching high profile smartwatches and the likes of Apple and Google rumoured to be working on their own, smartwatches look set to take off in a big way.
If you like the idea of a smartwatch you could always go out and buy one today, but you might be better off waiting for one of the many rumoured smartwatches to arrive. Wondering what’s on the way? Well not much is known for sure, but there are a lot of concepts and rumours floating around and we’ve detailed them below.
It’s been rumoured for a while that Apple is working on a smartwatch and while nothing has been confirmed that hasn’t stopped it becoming the most hotly anticipated smartwatch around.
All we really have to go on so far is rumours, but Apple has trademarked the name ‘iWatch’ in a number of countries, while Tim Cook commented during this year’s All Things D that “the wrist is interesting”, which surely means the company is at least thinking about a smartwatch.
More promisingly, Korean news site The Chosun Ilbo reported back at the beginning of October that industry sources had told them that a prototype iWatch with a 1.5 inch flexible screen had already been made, though that Apple was also considering a 1.3 inch or 1.4 inch screen.
A flexible screen would certainly make sense for a device that’s wrapped around your wrist, and with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Round now breaking cover it doesn’t seem all that unrealistic.
A recent concept of the iWatch incorporates the flexible screen idea, along with a user interface that looks a lot like iOS 7 as found on phones and tablets. It’s certainly a stylish concept and if Apple products are anything it’s stylish, so the final device may yet look something like this.
It’s strongly rumoured that the iWatch will feature Siri, which would also make sense, since touch screen controls are likely to be limited on a screen that size, so voice control is an ideal alternative. It’s also thought that it may include Apple Maps and may even come with a fingerprint scanner.
It’s not known when (or even if) the iWatch will launch, though if it’s coming this year it will probably be announced tomorrow (October 22nd) alongside the new iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2.
Never one to let Apple enter the market uncontested, Google is also thought to be working on a smartwatch. Given that many of the current smartwatches, including the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Sony SmartWatch 2, run Android already it’s not a stretch to think that Google might come out with one of its own.
Along with Apple, Google is also probably the most likely company to actually get it right and turn the smartwatch from a niche curiosity to the next big thing in tech.
As with Apple’s iWatch, nothing is really known about Google’s smartwatch, if it even exists, but T3 has come up with a compelling design concept, which includes a stylish black, white, purple or red band and a seemingly quite high resolution display.
The concept features Google sync, so you’ll get alerts and messages on your wrist. It also features Google Now to bring you the information you need, when you need it, calls can be answered from it and it warns you when the maximum proximity from your phone has been reached.
Whether any of these futures will make it into the watch remains to be seen, but Google Now is heavily rumoured to be a core component of the device and we may get to see the real thing sooner rather than later as it’s rumoured that it will be announced at the end of the month, alongside the Nexus 5.
To be honest we’re not entirely convinced that HTC actually is working on a smartwatch, though the company will certainly be eyeing the market. However whether or not an HTC smartwatch is actually in production, there is at least one concept floating around.
The concept consists of a black screen with a white band and red detailing. The mix of colours works well and certainly seems like a combination HTC might go for.
What’s more surprising is the sheer size of the thing, as while no dimensions are given it looks quite a bit larger than any existing smartwatches. That could allow it to have a bigger battery and make it easier to operate but it also risks looking ridiculous on wrists, not to mention weighing your arm down after you’ve worn it all day.
The concept is just an image, so there’s no feature wish-list, but there is a hole on the watch, which is presumably either a camera or a microphone and there are also some visible speakers. We can’t imagine watch speakers sounding great, but if any company knows how to make a decent set of miniature speakers it’s HTC.
While the HTC Watch might just be wishful thinking for now, there is some evidence pointing towards a Nokia smartwatch. That evidence takes the form of a patent for a “multi-segment wearable accessory” that the company has applied for.
It’s a lot more out there than any of its competitor’s concepts, featuring multiple separate screens around the watch band, each of which can display different information or applications. Alternatively an application can be expanded onto multiple segments of the watch if you want to see it in more detail.
It consists of six physical screens, which can each be individually added or removed from the watch band, so whether the base device would come with all six or just one or two is unknown.
Beyond the physical design of it you can see from the patent image that the lock screen looks a lot like a Windows Phone 8 screen. Whether that means the watch will run Windows Phone 8 or not is unknown as it would need Microsoft’s go-ahead.
It’s an interesting idea but we’re not convinced anything will come of it. Patents get filed all the time, but the wilder ones rarely become reality.
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By Simon Thomas on 21st October, 2013