5 Tech Trends That Will Bring Back the Wristwatch: Page 2

The smartphone killed the wristwatch. And the smartphone will bring it back. It's about time.
Posted January 23, 2013

Mike Elgan

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4. The Flexible ePaper Trend

It's true that smart watches have been around for years. But they tend to be gigantic and suffer from limited battery life. Recent advances in flexible eInk will enable much thinner smart watches that use less battery power.

One recent project on Kickstarter is called the CST-01. It's not a smartphone-connected smart watch, but it's interesting for other reasons.

The CST-01 will be the thinnest wristwatch in the world, according to its developers. It uses a similar screen technology as Amazon's lower-end Kindle eBook readers. Because the screen is eInk, it's super readable in direct sunlight. And it's also flexible, enabling the display to wrap around the wrist.

The developers claim the watch will function for a month between recharging, even though it's got a much bigger screen than most smart watches are likely to have.

Flexible eInk technology will enable even the most full-featured smart watches be thin and light.

5. The Bluetooth 4.0 Era

The newish Bluetooth 4.0 radically decreases the amount of power a connected device needs. A special "low power mode" completely changes how something like a smartphone-connected wristwatch can function.

Unlike past wristwatches, which both consumed massive power and also needed to be turned on in order to interoperate, a new generation of Bluetooth 4.0-controlled watches can go into a super low-power mode for weeks if necessary, then wake up to display information coming from the phone.

The combination of low-power eInk screens and the low power mode of Bluetooth 4.0 -- and the fact that all the heavy processing is happening either on the smartphone or the remote servers that the smartphone is connected to -- means that connected wristwatches can work for much longer between charges.

Make no mistake about it. Smartphone-connected wristwatches are going mainstream, and will be supported by mainstream companies like Apple and Google.

If you asked me, I’d say it's about time.

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Tags: Google, Apple, smartphone, tech

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