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Back in time: From ‘watch phone hybrids’ to smart watches – a 20-year journey full of changes

Today, smartwatches have become a device, a popular fashion item. We can see the products of Apple, Samsung, … idols on the road. However, the path to smartwatch today is not simple, learning about the history of this product line is also quite interesting.

You may remember two “3G watch phone” devices from 2009 – Samsung S9110 and LG GD910. Having a phone on your wrist is great, but they can’t run applications (not even the J2ME application). Texting on them is difficult, web browsing is impossible, they don’t have Wi-Fi and the battery is very poor. So what are their goals?

Sometimes, companies want to test everything before the technology at the time can keep up. Since S9110, it has been 10 years since SPH-WP10 (1999) – Samsung’s first watch phone launched – so it is possible that the company thinks it is time to take a new step.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

WP10 or “watch phone” can be considered very “true to the name” – it looked very much like a phone at that time, with an external antenna. It weighs 50g and is up to 20 mm thick, you can make 2G calls for up to 90 minutes right on your wrist.

WP10 appeared before the ubiquitous Bluetooth era, so unless you want to raise your hands to your ear to hear the call (and it might look weird in the eyes of everyone), you’ll have to use a wired headset.

Samsung S9110 and LG GD910 have at least solved this problem when it can be used with Bluetooth headsets. They’re just like any other phone, except they’re firmly tied to your wrist – it’s hard to forget or lose it and you don’t have to keep it in your pocket or at home when you’re out and about. the set.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

LG’s model even has a camera and uses a 3G connection to send and receive MMS – just imagine going out in 2009, taking photos and sharing instantly with friends without your phone, pretty Well, no, imagine doing it today, not impossible, but it’s not easy, even though we have another 10 years of technological progress.

Sony Ericsson LiveView released in 2010 is an early example of a smart band. Although it has a watch shape, but unlike real smartwatches, it is completely useless without a phone. LiveView is just a wireless display that displays the content that your phone transfers into it. It cannot even display the time itself, but needs to connect to sync with the phone.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Two years later, Sony just released the “Sony SmartWatch”, but the smart features are not yet built, it is just an improved version of LiveView. It was not until Sony SmartWatch 3 (sadly, also the last product of this series), that Sony took a leap to Android Wear. Sony SmartWatch 3 is one of the first smartwatches to be integrated with GPS receiver.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Motorola’s Motoactv is similar to LiveView. Launched in 2011, this is also a type of wearable device that needs to sync with a smartphone to work, but it has much more advanced fitness tracking features. ANT + allows it to connect to a speed sensor on a bike or to an external pulse sensor (can also use Bluetooth). Fitness tracking is still a major use case for smart watches. It does not have “applications”, despite supporting plugins for Facebook and Twitter.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

In 2013, Samsung tried making smartwatches again. The Galaxy Gear is a true smartwatch, despite the “Galaxy” brand, but it runs Tizen, has an 800 MHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

The Galaxy Gear has a 1.9MP camera that can record 10-second video clips at 720p. You can still read SMS, watch MMS and make calls with your watch (as long as your phone is within Bluetooth range).

And more importantly, there were apps. Galaxy Gear has 70 apps available at launch, including Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper.

A year later, Samsung launched Gear Live, running Android on the Snapdragon 400 chipset. But in general, the Gear watch (and more recent Galaxy watches) was running on Samsung’s own Tizen.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

In 2014, Samsung continued to launch Gear S with curved Super AMOLED screens, up to 2 inches in size and this is a device that shows the flexibility of AMOLED screens.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

LG also returned to this segment with the 2014 LG G Watch, which runs Android Wear and has a square LCD screen. The LG G Watch R is similar, though it has moved to a circular P-OLED display.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

The following year, LG launched the Watch Urbane, ran Android Wear and had a circular P-OLED display, but no calling and no mobile data. However, the LTE version supports 4G connectivity, but uses a different operating system, webOS Palm. Today webOS is still used on LG TVs, but unlike Samsung’s Tizen, webOS no longer appears on smartwatches.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

This is also not the first time Palm joined the smart watch. Fossil Wrist PDA since 2003 has run Palm OS (this is the precursor of webOS). It has a 160 x 160 black and white screen, touch enabled, but you have to use the stylus tucked in the wristband clip. It still supports handwriting recognition grafitti, this is not very useful because the only wireless connection on the watch is an infrared port. It is a great idea, but appears before technology is ready to perform properly.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Motorola introduced the Moto 360 in 2014 with a “mostly” screen – but there is a black border below the position of the display controller. With an affordable price and Android Wear, the Moto 360 is quite popular.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Huawei jumped into competition in 2015 with the Huawei Watch. The device has a protective Sapphire layer above the 1.4-inch circular OLED screen, which is a stylish Android Wear watch. It was a time before Huawei switched to its own wearable operating system.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

And of course, one of the most popular smartwatches in the world is the Apple Watch. Launched in 2015, this can be said to be the product that helped shape the smartwatch market. Apple sold 4.2 million Apple Watches in the first quarter and surpassed fashion watch sales.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Smartwatches have been popular in recent years. Some run the operating system based on smartphone software, others are more restricted. However, they come in all shapes and sizes, with different features and prices.

And they are independent of built-in LTE modems, so they can be used without a nearby smartphone. But to become a phone right on the wrist, the smartwatch is still limited, they are now only considered an accessory next to the smartphone.

Back in time From watch phone hybrids to smart watches a 20 year journey full of changes | Mobile

Smartwatches have small screens, so while improvements such as turning words into text make communication fairly easy, they’re still not suitable for browsing Facebook or watching Netflix. Maybe the foldable screen will change that, allowing the creation of “smart-watch-phones”.

Nowadays, it seems that the general design of smartwatches is leveling off because it temporarily serves what users need, but maybe 10 years from now, users’ needs will change and we will see completely smartwatches. other.

Reference: GSMArena

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