Samsung ushering new era of smart watches, wearables

Smart watches used to be something only seen in the movies. James Bond had several smart watches with laser-cutters, miniature cameras, two-way radios, grappling hooks, and other cool spy gadgets. But are smart watches about to become the next big thing?

Developments in the smart watch industry have picked up in recent years, with several big players making moves.

Sony’s Smartwatch was introduced in 2012, and featured a touchscreen interface with Android. It was recently replaced by the Smartwatch 2. This device serves as an accessory to your smartphone. You can communicate with your phone through the Smartwatch 2, freeing up your hands. It is very good for receiving reminders or messages without having to take the phone out of your pocket.

Samsung released the Galaxy Gear in September, compatible only with certain Galaxy smartphones. Unlike Sony, Samsung included a built-in microphone and speaker, allowing you to make phone calls directly through the watch. The Gear also has a 1.9 megapixel camera, as well as integration with certain apps.

There is also the Pebble smart watch, compatible with both Android phones and iPhones. It’s fairly basic compared to other smart watches, giving you notifications and integration with certain apps, but no fancy touchscreen.

We should expect Apple to release an iWatch based on patents in recent months.

There is a good possibility that smart watches could one day replace our phones. Society seems to be moving in the direction of wearable technology. Phones are very important nowadays, and also very vulnerable. Short of gluing your phone to your hand, the next best option is to wear it on your wrist.

Should we buy them? Well that depends on the price. Pebble retails for $150, Smartwatch 2 for $200, and Gear for $300—significantly more expensive than a standard digital watch retailing around $30. If these smart watches get outdated every couple of years like most technology, it could be very expensive to keep wearing one. Additionally, the batteries do not hold for nearly as long as a regular watch, so you’ll need to charge it every few days to a week.

They maybe worth it for some, but for others it may only seem like a cool tech toy.