Time up for wristwatches?

HANS WILSDORF would surely have nodded his approval, had he been alive today. The Swiss watchmaker and founder of Rolex was a strong votary of the wristwatch at the turn of the previous century, when many ridiculed him and those pitching for the time piece to be taken out of the pocket and strapped on the wrist.

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Published: Tue 28 Aug 2012, 9:51 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:43 AM

In the early part of the 20th century, only women wore ‘wristlets’ on their wrists and many men who proudly sported watches in their pockets disdainfully remarked that they would rather wear a skirt than a wristwatch. Fortunately, time and technology forced them to adapt to the latter and not the former.

Nearly a 100 years after watches became popular on wrists — including those of men — exciting new possibilities are being thought off by leading technology companies, who while not wanting to clutter you with gadgets, want to link that watch wirelessly to your handsets, tablets and other devices. Wristwatches, if you’ve noticed, are almost alien to teenagers who prefer tracking time on their mobiles or laptops. So is it time up for these devices and will they meet the same fate as cassettes and vinyl records? Not if it can be helped.

The race for the wrist is already on as tech giants including Apple and Sony, besides several start-ups are working out ways to wirelessly connect the ordinary wristwatch to their high-tech gadgets. California-based start-up Martian Watches has just launched wristwatches that not only tell you the time but enable you to read text messages from the mobile (kept in your pocket or handbag), answer calls while you are driving or lugging the shopping cart, or take your voice commands.

As of now these wristy gadgets will not replace smartphones, but will enable you to access them while you are busy doing something else and do not have the time to lift up the device and speak into it, or place it near your ear. Bluetooth technology enables smartphones to interact with the wristwatch, which can support both iOS and Android phones, even enabling wireless access to Siri and Android 
voice commands.

Wearable computers have not really taken off despite many companies launching bulky gadgets that had to be worn around the wrist. However, ‘smartwatches’ — like the Sony Smartwatch, an Android watch that enables you to discreetly attend to your smart phones without disturbing others — or the Martian watch are becoming popular and promise to transform personal communications and computing.

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