We asked ourselves, how can we best document the history of smartwatches while it is being written right before our eyes? Bring it to LIFE! Yes, it’s ALIVE!! Our smartwatch timeline will evolve with the latest and greatest happenings in real time! Don’t worry, we’ve documented the important steps that got us here, but we realize the most exciting time in smartwatch history is right now. We hope you enjoy and please share!
- Apple Watch Release Date
The Apple Watch is shipped to early adopters. The highly anticipated entry into the wearable space by Apple is expected to spur massive sales into a budding industry. The Apple Watch is being released in 3 models, Watch, Sport and Edition. The Edition is priced between $10,000-$12,000.
- Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is announced by Tim Cook via Steve Job's legendary statement "One More Thing...". This is the first time this statement has been used by Apple since Job's death and emphasizes that importance it places on its heavily rumored entry into the smartwatch market. Some analysts predict the Apple Watch will sell over 20 million units in its first year.
- Android Wear
Google announces Android Wear, its Android operating system designed for wearables such as Smartwatches. A significant announcement that aims to allow smartwatch manufacturers to focus on hardware design instead of creating a proprietary software package to execute the watch's "smart" functionality. The Android operating system, which is well established across many smart devices, opens the door for big brands that are familiar with its interface to enter into the smartwatch market.
- Pebble & Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding becomes a viable source of financial backing for smaller players to get into the market. The Pebble smartwatch raised $10.2 million on Kickstarter making it one of the most successful crowd-funded products ever released. The Pebble launched in July 2013, was carried by Best Buy and sold out within five days.
- The Wrist Rush
2012-2013: The smartwatch market gains traction and many companies begin working on wearable tech. The increasing exposure and press related to Google Glass fueled other areas of the market. As of July 2013 a huge list of companies are rumored – or confirmed – to be working on smartwatches including Acer, Apple, BlackBerry, Foxconn/Hon Hai, Google, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, HP, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Lenovo, Nokia and more.
2000: IBM shows off a prototype watch running the Linux operating system (version 2.2). It included 8MB of memory, an accelerometer, vibration motor, and a fingerprint sensor. IBM later began to collaborate with Citizen Watch to create the same device under the name “WatchPad”. The project was discontinued around 2001-2002. The WatchPad would have included a 320 x 240 QVGA display, Linux 2.4, Bluetooth, 8MB of RAM and 16MB of ROM. The estimated MSRP was $399.
1978 – 1980s: Seiko acquires the “Pulsar” brand name and produces several digital watch models with advanced features. The Pulsar brand later evolved into the RC series, which became more like the smartwatches we know today. The RC-20 Wrist Computer included an 8-bit Z-80 microprocessor, 8KB of ROM (storage) and 2KB of RAM. It also included a dot-matrix LCD display which was touch-sensitive. Future RC series models became more and more advanced, like the RC-4000 PC which was labeled as the “world’s smallest computer terminal”.
- Pulsar (NL C01)
1972: The Hamilton Watch Company produces the Pulsar (NL C01), which was essentially the first digital watch. The Pulsar could store up to 24 digits, meaning it had a user-programmable “memorybank.” The Pulsar was likely the first watch to include such functionality.
- Pop Culture
1960s - 1980s: Smartwatches began invading pop culture with Dick Tracy, but became even more prevalent in the 60's with Captain James T. Kirk speaking into his futuristic wrist watch and later in the 80's with Michael Knight calling KITT on his famous black watch.
- Dick Tracy - The Concept
1930 – 1977: Chester Gould created and wrote a comic strip about a resourceful police detective named Dick Tracy. Tracy made frequent use of a smartwatch like device that worked like a two-way radio or cell phone with advanced features.