When did the first smartwatch come out? It’s hard to keep track of when new technology comes out. You want to be the first one with the latest and greatest, but it’s tough to stay up-to-date on everything.
Smartwatches are a great example of this. They’ve been around for a few years now, but there are so many different models and brands that it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
Edon Lazaj has created a timeline of the history of the smartwatch so that you can stay up-to-date on all the latest advancements in wearable technology. Check out our comprehensive guide to find out. We cover all the basics, from what they are and how they work.
The first smartwatch is widely considered to be the Simon Personal Communicator, which was created by IBM in 1992. This device was able to send and receive emails, faxes, and pages, as well as make phone calls. However, it was also bulky, had a short battery life, and was quite expensive.
In 1999, Sony released the SmartWatch, which was one of the first wearable computers. This device featured a color LCD screen and could be used to control music playback on a connected Walkman. However, it too was bulky and had a short battery life.
In 2003, Fossil released the Wrist PDA, which ran the Palm OS and featured many of the same functions as a smartphone. However, it was not well-received by the public and was discontinued shortly after its release.
In 2007, Apple introduced the Apple Watch, which is considered to be one of the most successful smartwatches to date. This device features a range of health and fitness tracking capabilities, as well as the ability to make phone calls, send texts, and access email. However, it is still limited by its need to be tethered to an iPhone in order to function.
In 2015, Samsung released the Gear S2, which was one of the first smartwatches to run on the Tizen operating system. This device featured a rotating bezel that could be used to navigate its interface. However, it did not gain much traction and was eventually discontinued.
As you can see, the history of smartwatches is quite long and varied. These devices have come a long way in terms of features and functionality, but they still have a long way to go before they are perfect. It will be interesting to see how they continue to evolve in the years to come.
19 understanding smartwatches in history
Plus Four Wristlet Route Indicator in 1927
There’s no GPS built into this absolute beaut from the 1920s, but it would still help you get from A to B. The Plus Four Wristlet Route Indicator was designed for British orienteers, who would use it to pinpoint their location on a map.
Pulsar in 1972
Fifty years later the first all-electric digital watch arrived, thanks to the Pulsar. This was also the first watch to feature a LED display, which at the time was pretty special.
Seiko TV Watch in 1982
As worn by James Bond in Octopussy, the Seiko TV Watch arrived in 1982 complete with a miniature monochrome screen. It could even receive broadcast TV, although the image quality was pretty ropey.
Seiko Data-2000 in 1983
Slick looking, right? The Data-2000 could store memos of up to 250 characters, as well as phone numbers, which would appear on its digital screen.
Sinclair FM Wristwatch Radio in 1985
A damn shame that this never made it past the prototype stage, the FM Wristwatch Radio was the first wearable device to offer live radio streaming. The idea was that you could listen to your favourite station without having to lug around a separate radio.
Seiko MessageWatch in 1995
Not only could this watch display caller IDs, it could also receive and store short text messages of up to 40 characters.
Breitling Emergency Watch in 1995
Packing a distress signal that could be picked up from anywhere within 90 nautical miles, the Breitling Emergency Watch was designed for aviators and astronauts.
Linux Wristwatch in 1998
The ‘father of wearable computing’, Steve Mann built the first Linux-powered watch in 1998. It was capable of running a range of apps, including a text editor, calendar, and email client.
Fossil Palm Pilot in 2002
Fossil is looking to get back into the wearable tech game with its new Palm-powered smartwatch, but it’s not the first time the company has dabbled in wearable tech. In 2002, it released the Fossil Palm Pilot, which was essentially a Palm OS-powered PDA that you could strap to your wrist.
Microsoft SPOT in 2003
Microsoft eventually got into the wearable tech game in 2015 but, over a decade before, the company was already experimenting with smartwatches. The SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) watch was launched in 2003 and featured a range of apps, including news, weather, and stock updates.
Garmin Forerunner in 2003
Garmin has a pretty strong foothold in the GPS sports watch arena; it’s an area it’s been involved in for over 10 years. The first Garmin Forerunner was launched in 2003 and was designed for runners. It could track your distance, pace, and elevation, as well as your heart rate.
Nike+ Fuelband in 2012
A jump into this decade now and the hugely successful Nike+ Fuelband. This was one of the first fitness trackers that really caught the public’s attention and helped pave the way for devices like the Fitbit.
The Fuelband could track your steps, calories burned, and distance covered, as well as monitor your sleep.
Sony SmartWatch in 2012
At a glance, the Sony SmartWatch doesn’t look too different to the devices of today. It was one of the first smartwatches to be powered by Android and featured a range of apps, including Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail.
Pebble in 2013
Back in 2013 the Pebble smartwatch campaign was the most successful Kickstarter ever. The device went on to become one of the most popular smartwatches around, thanks to its long battery life and water-resistant design.
Samsung Galaxy Gear in 2013
The Gear that kickstarted Samsung’s smartwatch assault, this device was announced at IFA 2013. It was one of the first smartwatches to feature a built-in camera and, despite its rather limited app selection, it was a pretty impressive piece of kit.
Samsung Gear Fit in 2014
The original Gear did pave the way for some great Gear devices though and the Gear Fit is one of our favourites. It’s a fitness tracker first and foremost but, thanks to its colour touchscreen display and smartwatch functionality, it’s much more than that.
Moto 360 in 2014
Android Wear was announced in March 2014 at the Google I/O conference and the Moto 360 was one of the first devices to run the new operating system. It was also one of the most stylish smartwatches around, thanks to its round design.
It was followed up by a Moto 360 2 in 2015 and Moto 360 Sport in 2016, which added GPS tracking to the mix.
Samsung Gear S in 2014
A huge, cuff-like smartwatch, the Samsung Gear S was a technological showpiece that carved out a loyal niche. It was one of the first smartwatches with built-in 3G connectivity, allowing you to make calls and send texts without being tethered to your phone.
It was followed up by the Samsung Gear S2 in 2015, which ditched the 3G connectivity in favour of a more compact design. The Gear S3 was announced in 2016 and is due to launch later this year.
And the last one we have on this list is Apple Watch.
Apple Watch in 2016
The first Apple Watch was announced in September 2014 and went on sale in April 2015. It was one of the most hotly-anticipated smartwatches ever and, despite some early teething problems, it’s gone on to become a huge success.
A second-generation Apple Watch was announced in September 2016 and is due to go on sale later this year.
So, as you can see, the history of smartwatches is a long and varied one. The first smartwatch can arguably be traced back to 2002 but it wasn’t until 2012 that the category really started to take off. Since then, we’ve seen some amazing devices, from the fitness-focused Fuelband to the all-singing, all-dancing Gear S3.
And it’s not just about the hardware either; smartwatch software has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Android Wear might have had a rocky start but it’s now a fully-fledged platform in its own right, while watchOS and Tizen have also made great strides.
The future of the smartwatch is looking bright and we can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store.
F.A.Q when did the first smartwatch come out
When was the first smart watch launched?
The first smartwatch can be traced back to 2002, when the ‘Pulsar P1’ was launched. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that the category really started to take off. Since then, we’ve seen some amazing devices, from the fitness-focused Fuelband to the all-singing, all-dancing Gear S3.
Who was the first smartwatch invented?
The first smartwatch was invented by a company called ‘Pulsar’. The watch was called the ‘P1’ and was launched in 2002.
When did the first Android watch come out?
The first Android smartwatch was the ‘Samsung Galaxy Gear’. It was announced in 2013 and was one of the first smartwatches to feature a built-in camera.
How much did the first smartwatch cost?
The first smartwatch, the ‘Pulsar P1’, cost around $1000.
Although the exact origins of the smartwatch are unknown, it’s clear that this type of wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular. As new and more innovative models hit the market, it will be interesting to see how this trend continues to develop. If you’re curious about when the first smartwatch came out or are considering purchasing one for yourself, be sure to check out our latest blog post on the subject.