April 22, 2015 1:22 pm

Wearable devices are revolutionizing the way we are connected to the internet. From fitness trackers to Google Glass, wearable devices allow us to stay connected to our social networking sites, email accounts, calendars, and lifestyle managers by simply looking at our wrists or through a lens. There is hardly a time we are not connected to the internet in some way. Of all the wearable devices, the smartwatch is potentially the most popular, and it certainly has the most extensive background. Smartwatches combine the classic design and operation of a watch with the modern convenience of a smartphone, all in a small functional screen on your wrist. In anticipation for Apple’s release of the Apple Watch on Friday, April 24, take a look at the evolution and history of the smartwatch.

1972 – The first digital watch debuts. The “Pulsar,” made by Hamilton Watch Company, would later become a brand name acquired by Seiko in 1978.

1982 – The first “memorybank,” or user-programmable memory watch, is created by Pulsar. It can store 24 digits.

1984 – The first watch with a miniature keyboard and dot matrix display is the Seiko D409.

1985 – The RC-20 Wrist Computer is released. It has several apps, including memos and a calculator, and is touch sensitive.

1994 – Timex releases a line of watches called the Timex Datalink Smartwatches. It can be used to create appointments and store contacts with an early predecessor to MS Outlook.

1998 – Steve Mann invents the first Linus wristwatch and is named “the father of wearable computing.”

2000 – Samsung creates the world’s first smartwatch phone, which has an antenna, LCD screen, and an integrated speaker and microphone.

2000 – IBM collaborates with Citizen Watch Co. to create a “WatchPad” with features including a calendar, Bluetooth, 8MB of RAM and 16 MB of flash memory. The project is discontinued between 2001 and 2002.

2002 – The Fossil Wrist PDA is released and boasts the capability to store 1,100 contacts, 5,000 to-do items, 800 appointments, or 350 memos.

2004 – The Microsoft Spot smartwatches are released. They play music, display information about road closures, and deliver messages through FM radio signals. The project is abandoned in 2008.

2007 – The Sony Ericsson MBW-150 could be paired with a Sony Ericsson phone through Bluetooth and would notify the user by vibrating and displaying the name or number of the caller.

2009 – The Samsung S9110 releases a watch that is also a phone – sporting a touchscreen, Bluetooth, a music player, and email support.

2012 – A Sony smartwatch allows you to read email, send texts, and check notifications. It functions as a second smartphone screen.

2012 – The Pebble Smartwatch Kickstarter campaign starts and eventually raises over $10 million dollars, becoming the most funded project in the history of Kickstarter to that point.

2013 – A consumer device analyst suggests 2013 may be the “year of the smartwatch.” A media report reveals most consumer electronics companies are in the process of revealing a smartwatch. At the time of the report, the following companies were working on a smartwatch: Acer, Apple, BlackBerry, Foxconn/Hon Hai, Google, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.

2014 – The Consumer Electronics Show is a launch point for many smartwatch releases. Some call the CES show a “wrist revolution.”

2014 – The Samsung Gear S smartwatch gets favorable publicity due to its contoured design, which differs from the traditional flat surface.

2014 – Apple announces the Apple watch on September 9, for release in early 2015.

2015 – Apple Watch release date is set for Friday, April 24.

Smartwatches have evolved drastically over the past couple of decades. From students to businesspeople, consumers are itching to buy a smartwatch which will conveniently and fashionably keep them connected to what matters most in their lives. It’s clear smartwatches are here to stay and will only continue to become more sophisticated as researchers improve on their innovative designs.

Categorized in: