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A smartwatch, generally speaking, is a portable computer strapped on your wrist. Like smartphones, these devices have a touchscreen, apps support, and most of them also monitor heart rate and other fitness functions.
But what actually makes a smartwatch smart? An operating system? The use of third-party apps? Or the fact that it can wirelessly connect to a smartphone to show your notifications?
The truth is, the smartwatch market is still on the rise. According to Statista, over 141 smartwatches will ship worldwide in 2018. That is a huge jump from 19 million smartwatches shipped in 2015 and 38 million in 2016.
Because smartwatches work with phones, we are generally facing the same situation as with smartphones. Some are designed for Android, some for iPhones only, whereas others work with Androids and iPhones. Of course, they exist some standalone smartwatches, such as the brand new (a probably best smartwatch) Apple Watch Series 4, which can even work independently of a phone, but most of them are designed as companion devices.
Back to the topic. As with smartphones, Google offers its software to a whole range of hardware manufacturers, while Apple strictly takes care of the hardware, design and onboard operating system.
The openness of Google´s Wear OS (former Android Wear) often leads to the fact that more third-party apps are available to use on the smartwatch. It doesn’t literally mean, more is better, but as an Android user, I like the number of apps in the store.
What Can Smartwatches Do
Regardless of the operating system, they all offer a wide variety of functions, where some will alert you when a new text or email is received, and others will allow you to read them. Some smartwatches offer social media functionality, some offer calendar functions, and some provide advanced fitness functions. This depends on the manufacturer and model.
Know your needs, style, and budget when choosing a smartwatch. Every smartwatch should display messages and notifications from your phone, this is their most important function. If you want more, look for the following features:
BATTERY LIFE: Believe me, you don’t want to recharge your watch every other hour. Always look for a device with a battery life long enough to get you easily through a day. Some models (usually outdoor smartwatches), can last for several days on a single charge, but these units have to make some compromises in their functionality (display, weight, sensors etc.)
APPS: We still haven´t such a wide range of apps as we have in smartphones, but some models now have more than thousands of applications available for use.
The Apple Watch is offering more than 20,000 apps, including MapMyRun, Uber or ESPN. You can do almost everything from the control of your smart home to order a taxi. All apps are available through Apple Watch App Store for installing.
Google´s Wear OS has thousands of apps optimized for its platform. A nice option is the ability to install apps directly on the watch – no need to have them on your smartphone.
TRACKING: In terms of basic tracking, many smartwatches allow you to track your walking, cycling and running. You can also use dedicated apps such as Google Fit to get more accurate fitness stats. Some models have also built-in sensors for monitoring your heart rate.
PERSONALIZATION: Most smartwatches today offer plenty of customization options before purchase – you can change the band color, material, or face color.
MOBILE PAYMENTS: A really nice feature. NFC, if you see this in the watch description, it means, you can use them to pay, even without a phone nearby. All Apple Watch models have Apple Play enabled, and Wear OS (Android Wear) devices support Android Pay function.
ANSWERING CALLS: In different smartwatches are different ways to answer the call. Some allow users to accept and decline calls as well as to connect headphones, some allow users to answer and carry out conversation directly from the watch.
Should You Buy A Smartwatch
To be honest, do research before you invest in the smartwatch. They can be a pretty expensive toy. There are also many different brands and models to choose from. Personally, I think smartwatches are worth buying. Many people say that they are smartphones on your wrist. You get lots of features in such a small device.