In smartphone's wake comes the intelligent watch

Feb 28, 2013 by Amelie Baubeau
An Apple iWatch displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. After the smartphone, the intelligent watch promises to become the latest hi-tech trend, allowing wearers to peek at messages and even take calls without touching their phones.

After the smartphone, the intelligent watch promises to become the latest hi-tech trend, allowing wearers to peek at messages and even take calls without touching their phones.

As speculation grows that Apple may be working on an iWatch, other players at the world's biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, including Japanese giant Sony, are already fighting for a place on customers' wrists.

Their target market is the person who's always glued to their , even in meetings or at the movies, or people who wish to monitor their heartbeat during exercise.

"The future in general is ," said Massimiliano Bertolini, chief executive of Italian firm i'm, as he showed off his flagship product, i'm Watch, at the industry event.

Available since 2011 and present in several European countries including Britain and Poland, it will go on sale in Spain's Corte Ingles department stores from next week, and could roll out with French retailers as soon as April, he said.

The smartwatch is an accessory to the smartphone, with which it communicates by technology.

It means you can leave your phone in your pocket as you answer or reject a call, peruse emails or read updates from friends on or Facebook.

The i'm Watch features its own applications, too, such as i'm Sport, unveiled Monday, which links with a detector to allow a jogger to check his pulse. Such functions already exist in specialised sports watches but not on watches that are linked to smartphones, Bertolini said.

Mobile phone and media player wrist watches at the Sony booth in the IFA trade fair in Berlin last August. As speculation grows that Apple may be working on an iWatch, other players at the world's biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, including Japanese giant Sony, are already fighting for a place on customers' wrists.

With a square aluminium frame, a 1.5-inch (3.8-centimetre) touch screen and a strap available in various colours, the watch has already found 30,000 buyers, 80 percent of them men aged mostly between 25 and 50.

"Seventy percent are users, 25 percent Samsung and the rest are other telephones using 's Android operating system," he said.

The company aims to sell more than 200,000 watches in 2013, notably by targeting women with publicity emphasising its design rather than its technology.

Italian-made, it sells for a minimum of 300 euros ($390) for the basic model and prices climb to up to 16,000 euros for a luxury version in silver or encrusted with diamonds.

That leaves plenty of room in the market for competitors such as Sony's SmartWatch, a square, Android-compatible rival for your wrist that sells for about 130 euros or the $150 Pebble, a rectangular, - and iOS-compatible offering by the company of the same name, which raised $10 million in three weeks on "crowdfunding" site Kickstarter to develop the product.

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User comments : 10

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VendicarE
1 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2013
Worthless
Noumenon
2.2 / 5 (9) Feb 28, 2013
I don't think such a device would sell well. You still have to lift your arm to look at it,... and that is not comatose enough.

An "iGlasses" display that syncs with your smartphone and projects its display "in front of you", with a mic and speakers, via bluetooth, would be the next logical step imo,.... of course this trend will eventually lead to our brains being kept alive in jars and connected to Hal.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (4) Feb 28, 2013
iGlasses?

Where is your Vision?

Apple will call it iEye.
DGBEACH
5 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2013
I haven't worn a watch since I got my first cell phone 15 years ago. It never needs winding, it always has the correct time, and it can even tell me where I am...AND I can see what's displayed on the screen.
This watch wouldn't even make a convenient hands-free for my cell, since i'd have to hold my hand near my face. Useless!
VendicarE
not rated yet Feb 28, 2013
I can't wait to see the Apple iRing.

It will glow blue when you have an Email so that you can read it on your iWatch after downloading it from the iPhone on your belt.
alq131
5 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2013
it will go with your iPee address
Aloken
5 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2013
This would've been a thing 20 years ago. Not now though
extremity
2 / 5 (5) Feb 28, 2013
Apple, you've done us good with the iPhone. Now, its time to step up to your potential. We don't want a clear iPhone or a watch that lights up and displays texts. We want holographic displays and we want more immersive augmented reality.
geokstr
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 01, 2013
I'm still waiting for my Holodeck.
gwrede
not rated yet Mar 04, 2013
Damn, just when I've learned to live without a wrist watch.