Credit for the first smartwatch concept doesn’t go to Apple. Long before the Apple Watch, Microsoft and Fossil introduced the first standalone smartwatch.
If you want to get more technical, you could claim that the 1982 Seiko TV watch was more similar to the first smartwatch. But it needed an adapter and a large receiver box. And it only showed grainy greyscale TV images.
Another watch that paved the way for the Apple Watch and modern smartwatches was the 1998 Linux Wristwatch, created by Steve Mann and launched by IBM. According to the fact sheet, it was “Designed to communicate wirelessly with PCs, cell phones and other wireless-enabled devices, the ‘smart watch’ will have the ability to view condensed email messages and directly receive pager-like messages.”
What’s the story behind the first smartwatch?
In 2004, Microsoft released its “Smart Personal Object Technology” (SPOT). This allowed users to access services such as news, weather, and stock information from their wristwatches. It was more personalized and independent of other technology than previous “smart” watches.
Microsoft’s Smartwatch quickly became a hit among tech enthusiasts and professionals alike. The device was packed with advanced features, allowing users to stay connected while on the go. It had a wide array of sensors, allowing it to monitor heart rate, steps taken, and other important health metrics.
Furthermore, it was one of the first smartwatches to feature a touchscreen display, making it easier to interact with apps.
Microsoft and Fossil actually collaborated on the first smartwatch. The Microsoft SPOT Watch had a monochrome 90×126 pixel screen and was accessible through a yearly subscription that cost from $39 to $59. The watches featured customizable watch face displays and were built on a new technology platform designed to improve the functionality and usefulness of everyday objects.
Not long after, watchmakers Citizen, Fossil, and Suunto all joined the project to create the first smartwatches.
What happened to Microsoft’s smart watch?
The device was well-received by users, who praised its versatile design and advanced features. It was also praised for its long battery life, which allowed users to stay connected for extended periods of time.
The Microsoft smartwatch was also quite easy to use thanks to an intuitive interface that made it simple to navigate.
Despite its success, the device was not a commercial success and was eventually discontinued in 2010. This was primarily due to the fact that it was too expensive for the average consumer and was unable to compete with the lower-priced rivals that had entered the market.
However, the device paved the way for the smartwatches that we have today. — WTF fun facts
Source: “Smartwatch timeline: The devices that paved the way for the Apple Watch” — Wearable