The world’s 1st smartwatch was underrated. Few believed it was revolutionary to wristwear world.
Humans have been tracking time for centuries. And the technologies used to do that have certainly evolved over the years.
In the 1500’s, German locksmith Peter Henlein invented the very first portable clock. Essentially, it was the world’s first pocket watch. And it wasn’t until the 20th century that people started to wear them on their wrists. Particularly in the United States, people considered wristwatches to be a feminine piece of jewelry only worn by women. Many men also thought that because they were so small, they must be inaccurate.
Times changed, though, during the First World War when soldiers began to attach pocket watches to their wrists for convenience. After this, pocket watches gradually began to go out of style and wrist watches became mainstream for men and women.
However, with the further development of technology late into the 20th century, watches became even more advanced. In 1998, inventor Steve Mann created a much more advance watch. His invention had a videophone, the “WearCam GNUX.”
Now, there are smartwatches available alongside traditional watches. And with each decade, they become smarter and can do more things. Many even consider them more of a tech product as opposed to a luxury jewelry product. But which brand is responsible for the very first smartwatch?
Other Early Smartwatches
There are several other early smartwatches that could be considered some of the ‘first’ invented. One of the first watches to hold data was the NL C01, created by Pulsar in 1982. Another watch, the Data 2000, had enough storage for 2,000 characters. It could also connect to a keyboard attachment, where users could enter information into the watch.
Seiko actually dominated the market in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. They had several releases such as the Seiko RC-1000, the Seiko Receptor, and then the Seiko Reputer in 1998.
Other tech companies still tried their hand in the smartwatch market. Casio released the JC-10 in 1990. This watch was one of the firsts to have health functions such as step monitoring, calorie tracking, and distance tracking. In 1994, they also developed the VivCel VCL-100 which was a game changer. This watch could notify the wearer when their phone was ringing. Although it could not take the call, this technology was essentially the first push notification function on a smartwatch.
The First Watch To Make A Phone Call: Samsung
In 1999, the world would finally see the first smartwatch that could make a phone connection. Samsung advertised its ‘SPH-WP10’ as capable of “90 minutes of continuous call time and 60 hours of standby time.” The watch’s design was a small, cell phone shaped piece attached to a wristband. Although this watch did not take off in the mainstream, it pushed the limits for what smartwatches could do.
Modern Smartwatch Renaissance
Modern smartwatches of today look much different than the world’s first smartwatch. And that is definitely for the better. Currently, the smartwatch market is undergoing a renaissance.
Technology experts attribute this current wave of interest in smartwatches to the influence of the Pebble Watch. Pebble’s Kickstarter campaign took off like wildfire in 2012. It was then clear to the tech world that there is a demand for a smartwatch that can connect to a smartphone.
After Pebble, Apple, Samsung, Fossil, Garmin, Timex, and many other brands now have smartwatches available for sale. Additionally, one in six people have a smartwatch. That number is also expected to explode over the next few years. This will give tech companies and brands the opportunity to tailor their smartwatch features to match specific user needs. For example, Apple now has more advanced health applications that appeal to older individuals. Whereas Garmin has a range of tactical smartwatches designed with the military, hikers, and outdoorsmen in mind.