Smart Watches

They now have the ability to get it going with your smartphone – here's the next big gadget trend.

While you’ve been busy flaunting your new smartphone or mulling over which one to buy next, a revolution has been brewing quietly. 2013 is turning out to be the year of the smartwatch, and mark our words… you will be looking to snag one really soon.   Simply put, it’s an extension to your smartphone and provides another outlet for delivering notifications – emails, text messages, incoming call notifications and the like, to your wrist. But what’s the point, you ask. Well it’s all about convenience, making sure you don’t need to fish out your phone each and every time it buzzes. Then there are a few devices that extend this functionality to handling calls, controlling music, tracking fitness activity and letting you find a phone that’s slipped under the couch. Sony is one of the first big names to offer one, but Samsung has been the first to break its silence at the IFA show in Berlin.

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Samsung has beaten Apple to it. This smartwatch has a 1.6-inch screen, a 1.9-megapixel camera and a speaker embedded onto it to facilitate hands-free calls. It comes with 60 pre-loaded apps, but its functionality is hindered with its inability to for example compose an email or download music files. Still, at approximately Rs 30,000 (as per the £299 price announced for the UK market) it may not be affordable, but it is definitely hipster cool to be seen wearing one.  Price: £299 (for the UK market) ww.samsung.com 

Pebble Not really the first one to arrive on the scene, but definitely one of the most notable, Pebble was launched via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. It broke all records and achieved its $100,000 funding goal in just two hours and has since raised over $10 million. A lightweight plastic device that comes in five colors and latches on your wrist using a rubber strap, it sports a backlit, 1.26-inch e-paper monochrome screen and works with iOS and Android-based smartphones using Bluetooth. Boasting a seven-day battery life, it features changeable watch faces and apart from delivering notifications, also lets you control the playlist on your phone. Price: $150 www.getpebble.com   MetaWatch Strata Rocking a 25mm x 25mm reflective mirror display, this one boasts an ambient light sensor and is water-resistant up to 5 ATM. Compatible with iOS and Android, it does everything a typical smartwatch does – from delivering notifications to controlling music. The highlight of the interface is customizable watch faces utilizing widgets. The user gets a choice of four screens, each with space for four widgets. A bevy of colours are on offer, along with a couple of limited edition options priced much higher at $299. Price: $129 www.metawatch.com   i’m Watch With a choice of aluminium or titanium finishes and a slew of coloured bands, this quirkily monikered accessory comes in a chunky case and a sports a 1.54-inch colour TFT display. There’s 4GB of onboard storage and it runs i’m Droid 2, a customised version of Android with its own app store offering several apps specifically created for the device. Another notable highlight is the i’m Cloud system that lets you manage smartwatch apps and data via the web. Smartphone compatibility covers iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10. Price: Rs 13,999 www.imsmart.com   Cookoo If you prefer a conventional-looking watch rather than a geeky contraption tied to your wrist, the mentally off-kilter sounding Cookoo is for you. The smartwatch comes with a circular analog dial that uses a digital display for flashing notifications, and is powered by a standard button-cell battery unlike most others that use rechargeable batteries. It is only compatible with iOS at the moment, but offers full-fledged smartwatch functionality, including incoming/missed calls, Facebook and Twitter notifications, emails, low battery alerts, music control and the ability to locate your misplaced phone. Price: $129.99 www.cookoowatch.com   … and coming up

Sony SmartWatch 2 Sony’s wearable device is already in its second generation. Touted as the ‘second screen’ for your phone, it runs Android and works with other droid devices. Features include an aluminium casing, a 1.6-inch touch display, water-resistance and NFC pairing. It also lets you snap photos from your phone’s camera, handle calls, and control presentations, apart from dutifully notifying you of messages, emails and other events.  Price: To be announced Expected: September 2013 www.sonymobile.com   Kreyos Meteor Launched via the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, the Meteor is the only smartwatch that can boast of an integrated microphone and speaker, and lets you control its functions using voice or gestures. Apart from a few Dick Tracy tricks, it’s also got a six-axis accelerometer and gyrometer, built-in activity trackers and support for connecting to compatible fitness accessories. It is based on a 1.26-inch screen and can pair up with smartphones running iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8. Price: $169.95 ($149 if pre-ordered before October 31, 2013) Expected: January 2014 www.kreyos.com   androidly Technically, this isn’t a smartwatch. It’s in fact a full-fledged smartphone running Android 2.2 that can be worn on your wrist, and doesn’t need to be paired to another device to offer full functionality. Specs include a 2-inch 320x240 pixel capacitive touchscreen, a 416MHz processor, expandable storage and full range of connectivity options including WiFi and Bluetooth. It even has a 2-megapixel snapper and can run Android apps. The device is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, so you should be able to snag one for an amount lower than its pegged MRP. Price: $289 Expected: October 2013 http://an.droid.ly

- Deepak Dhingra

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