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If the past two years of the electronic industry was about getting shiny touchy rectangles in every person’s hand, 2013 seems to be the year where electronic manufacturers want to get even personal; get on user’s wrists. Ever since the Pebble watch was announced on Kickstarter there has been a lot of excitement among the fatigued tech users to own a ‘smartwatch’ that will relieve them from the vicious circle of pulling out the phone, unlocking it and checking out the notification updates every couple of minutes. The initial batch of Pebble shipments coupled with the Apple’s intentions to work on its own iWatch have added to the euphoria and now everyone wants a piece of the action. Apart from established players like Samsung and Google planning for their own smartwatches, Guoke, a Chinese manufacturer is also planning to launch the Bambook Smart Watch running Firefox OS according to CNet.

In the recently concluded Mobile World Congress where Firefox OS was unveiled to the world, a lot of critics mentioned it was a bit rough on the edges and not yet ready for prime-time usage.In fact, the Ubuntu OS pipped Firefox OS and won the Best of MWC award. So whether or not, Firefox will be ready to tell the time by the end of this year remains to be seen. If the speculated watch ran Firefox OS it will be a ‘mini smartphone’, syncing all the bookmarks, user passwords and other data stored on the cloud and the HTML5 based interface should be enough to get the basic things done.

So the question that looms large is why has the battlefield shifted from user’s pockets to wrists. For starters, the first true smartphone – the iPhone announced in 2006 was revolutionary. Nobody had seen or used such a seamless interface until then. Then came Android which created the market for budget smartphones. Though both iPhones and Android handsets have received significant upgrades in terms of processing speed, memory, battery capacity, display, etc all these features seem ‘evolutionary’ rather than ‘revolutionary’. Despite having it all, it’s human tendency to expect the next big thing and the humble watch seems to fit the category perfectly. Though smartphones help us stay connected all the time, sometimes we are inundated with more notifications than we care and have developed an obsessive compulsive disorder to keep checking the phone every couple of seconds . This needs to stop and that is what a smartwatch promises to deliver – display only the ‘important notifications’ and filter out the noise. As to how each speculated watch is going to handle it, remains to be seen.

It is quite clear that this year we are going to see a lot of smartwatches from various electronics manufacturers – known and unknown. Will Apple be able to repeat its success in this category?

May the best watch win!

Image credit: CNet

This article has been reproduced from Sridhar’s blog.


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