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The First (Attempt at a) Smartwatch

Seiko_35ABy now, many of you have probably heard about the next big thing (something that is expected to become very popular): the smartwatch. A smartwatch is like a smartphone, but worn on the wrist (the part of the body that connects your hand and arm). As with a smartphone, you’ll be able to check your email, take photos, and make phone calls with it. At least three large companies have announced that they are working on a smartwatch or have already introduced early versions, including Samsung, Sony, and Qualcomm.

But did you know that the first attempt at a commercial (made for sale) smartwatch was way back (a long time ago) in the 1970s by Intel? At that time, Intel — the computer microchip (the very small, thin part in a computer that allows it to work) company — bought a watch company called Microma Universal, which made the first LCD — liquid crystal display — watch. (Liquid crystal technology uses light and crystals to make it possible for us to see the numbers of a watch in the dark.) The hope and plan of the head of Intel, Gordon Moore (known also for Moore’s Law), was to develop and add other functions to the watch. Sadly for Intel, the technology hadn’t been developed yet to make the computer chip small and powerful enough to do more than display the time on the watch.

Gordon Moore’s plans didn’t get as far as he wanted and the entire enterprise (plan for the project) was considered a failure. Moore says that he wore the Microma watch on his wrist for many years to remind himself to stay out of (not get into or enter) the smartwatch business, calling it his “$15 million watch.” That’s how much the company lost when it tried developing the first commercially-viable (successful in selling) smartwatch.

You can hear Gordon Moore talk about this attempt by visiting this site. The interview is subtitled (with the words appearing on the screen as you watch) and there is also a transcript available. To see what that first LCD watch looked like, go to this NPR story.

In this day and age (current time) when many people use their cell phones to check the time, do you still wear a watch? If so, why and what kind? Are you looking forward to seeing or owning a smartwatch?

- Jeff

Photo Credit: Seiko 35A from Wikipedia

25 Responses to “The First (Attempt at a) Smartwatch”

  1. Willy Says:

    I don’t have a watch but I had it. I lost it so I don’t have it anymore. I find it very useful because reading time from your wrist is comfortable rather then I have to get my watch out my pocket every time I need to know the current time.

  2. Dan Says:

    Hello everyone,

    Yes, I did hear about this story on the news and various websites, but I did not follow that because I am not interested.

    I stopped using a wrist watch in the eighties. I do not wear anything like rings, bracelets, watches.

    Looking at everything I need on my phone is enough for my needs.

    Isn’t the display of a smartwatch too little? I see around many people with brick like phones with huge displays.

    With those things it easier going from small to big, but not the contrary of that.

    I do not know….we will see..

    Thank you guys, and write.

  3. Aécio Flávio Perim Says:

    Simply saying, why having this kind of device if you can have a wrist watch or a grandpa watch on the wall? Each device has each own use like the phone to transmit and receive messages, TV to see movies and read news, cars to drive. I do not see the use of these stuff. But if you like it you can buy one and be happy. It is up to you.
    Aecio, from the place where no one lives.

  4. pierre corso Says:

    hello,
    I have both watch and cell phone. They are necessary for our life today. It’s difficult to imagine living and working without them but I do not share the same idea for smartwatch. I like cell phone for its mobility and watch for its genious mechanism,specially old-styled watch. I feel like both devices represent their own eras ; creation and progress of world technology. Too bad to mix all in one device . Imagine you have only a smartphone and lose it, you won’t be able to check time nor call .

  5. Cauat Says:

    Dear Jeff,
    I hate electronics which life battery under 20hours…Every day I back home I have to charge my phone , my mobile power…I can’t image I have to charge one more smartwatch every day!
    I just wonder what kind of recoder you use to make the pocast mp3 for us to download? These day I almost use the SONY PCM-D50 recoder(becase it use AA battery with more than 50 hours using hours!) to listen to the podcast MP3. And I found it could contorl the speed…

    Best Regards
    Cauat

  6. Myo ko ko Says:

    Hi Jeff
    I’m scratching my head not knowing what to write here about this subject.
    Personally, I don’t want to own such a so-called smartwatch.
    I think it’s not a good invention to make a watch function like a smartphone does.
    Suppose you own a watch of that kind, and you want to make some phone calls, some textings on it,
    there you’ve got to squint at its tiny display.
    That can be a serious threat to your eyes in the long run.
    But we know everything has its pros and cons.
    So I will wait and see if these gedgets can find their places in the market.

    Till last year, I wore a CASIO wrist watch with a digital display on it. I liked it a lot and I still have it with me.
    Sometimes I still enjoy putting it on.
    Well, days after days, wrist watches are losing their roles in a huge scale because people have got more devices to check the time on.
    Take me, I check the time on this tablet I’m writing now on.
    Jeff, what about you?

    Myo ko ko
    From somewhere between Paradise and Hell ; )

  7. Myo ko ko Says:

    Jeff
    Giving this issue a second thought,
    As an adult and being a single guy, I’d love to put one piece on, just to show off.
    No no, don’t take me wrong,
    I just want to be an up-to-date bloke, and see it as part of fashion and wanna put myself in a style!
    You see, we live with technology and we need to be technnically stylish! huh?
    That is all. ;)

  8. Ando Says:

    I am fond of the old things.

    I be fascinated by the sound of the old stem-winder.

    It is difficult for me to adapt the fast development of modem societ.

  9. Ben Says:

    I have to say I cannot imagine what the smartwatch look like.You know,people in my country are more willing to use
    smartphone with large screen which is convenient to read e-books,watch movies and play games like angry birds.
    However,what can you exactly do with a smartwatch?It is supposed to be small,which is not proper to do stuff like I mentioned
    above.Like Aecio says above,each device has each own use.Not every of us is James Bond.So we do not need our watch to have
    many different functions.And honestly,I am not looking forward to owning a smartwatch.

  10. Myo ko ko Says:

    Hi Aecio

    You asked me about paradise and hell.
    It’s a taboo thing to talk about here.
    I’ll tell you about them, though.

    first
    Close your eyes, my friend.

    Have you closed yours?

    Please tell me what you see.

    Oh, you see “nothing.”

    Yes, I know “nothing” about paradise and hell! ;)

    Yours
    Myo ko ko

  11. Aécio Flávio Perim Says:

    Myo ko ko, you are really incredible! Closing one’s eyes and seeing nothing! Of course no one can see anything with their eyes closed. For seeing one needs light and eyes, two inseparable things. This is a good idea! Good one! The difference between paradise and hell you can feel with your brain after hearing the stories people say about them. Don’t worry about foolish things. Live the life while you can, enjoy everything good and be happy. There will be birds shirping and colors shining above. Try it.
    Are you up to come and meet me in Brazil? Just come, but don’t wait long for the life is brief.
    Aecio from nowhere.

  12. emiliano Says:

    I am with Cauat, a smartwatch needs to be re-charged every three of four days and that is crazy. You need an usb conection in your pc. to
    plug the watch, once and again, and I hate to do that with a gadget like the iPad or other tablets that have a life so short when you use
    them for some hours.
    Now a watch?, no please.

    Sure the smartwatch should be always stoped without life at all and I can´t see the hour or nothing.

    By the other way they are nice and have a lot of functions that could be good if you are a busy woman or man that need to remember several
    subjects without taking out you phone from the pocket.
    Who knows? If they make a long life smartwatch it could be a good advance like they have been the smartphones after all.

    First wrist watch I had it was necessary to wind up it every day, usually at night, if you do not do that the watch will be stoped and it was
    very inconvenient.

    After a lot of years there were the authomatic watches or the quartz one that was incredible good and practical of using them.
    Seiko made the kinetic model that does not need batery as only with the movement of the arm the watch Works, that was incredible good.

    The first I had was very expensive but now are cheaper, in fact I have several watches because I like to collect them but usually if I am
    at home I don´t have any round my wrsit, but they are really beautiful.

    Some watches are really very expensive, for instance some TagHuer may cost 6000 euros or even more, just to not talk about
    Rolex or similar.
    When I was in London I was in Harrws and could see some watches that I have in my hands, some of then costs 30.000 pounds and
    more.
    I bought one that was down its price 50% or more. In fact once I went to pay it the man said me I have to pay more because there was
    a mistake about the price.
    I told him NO, I am going to pay the price it is showed and you have told me before. We were arguing five minutes or so, and once again
    I said to him that my rights wre to pay only the price it was sticked on the watch, the difference was about 200 hundred pounds.
    May you imagine?.
    At the end he said, just wait, and come the boss who told me you are right, you are going to pay the price that it is showed sticked on
    the watch.
    I have to wait and I could saw several watches that were very very spensive, and have then in my hands. I was a good chance to talk
    in English inside Harrows. Yes, very funny.
    The watch was an incredible Maurice Lacroix at a nice good price and it gave me something nice to remember inside Harrows speaking and
    arguing in English with the employers. Very polite indeed, me too, but very firm when I claim my rights to pay with the big discount.

    That´s all, and yes I like wrist watches a lot, I could have nearly forty? or may be some more, and even among them I have a TagHuer, but
    not a Rolex, it is very very expensive…..may be in future when I get a fortune from the lotery?

    Sorry, but I collect them…….Lucy, did you remember your note?

    Thank you Jeff, it is a nice topic.

    emiliano

  13. Lassana Says:

    Hi Everybody,

    I have heard speak of this new product where I work currently.
    One of my colleagues has spoken to me about this new technology.

    I am not interested by this project, call with his watch and take photo with it is not a good idea I think.
    The reason is that this kind of watch is too small to do all these things, I think.

    It’s also uncomfortable, I think.

    Moreover, Since I have a smartphone, I don’t have watch.
    I usually use my smartphone in order to see the hour.

    Having two devices in order to read the hour, I think that’s a lot.
    But this is my way to seeing things.

    See you soon Lucy and Everybody !

    Lassana

  14. Aécio Flávio Perim Says:

    Hello, Emiliano, after have read your story about smartwatch and wrist watches I became very confused. The best part is that you fought with the manager in order to get a bargain. Go, Emiliano! Use the best shot you have. Don’t give up.
    Aecio from the stage of boxers.

  15. Betty Says:

    Hello Everyone! Thanks Jeff!

    I would like to apologise for not showing up for a long time. The reason? Too much work and no time to write. Many times I wanted to just write three words – I am alive.

    Anyway, thanks all my friends who have mentioned my name and thanks for concern. I am alone in a big house in UK cleaning day in and day out, cutting back many over grown trees etc. I must be too tired that I washed my jacket with my old smartphone (HTC Wildfire S) in the pocket.

    I rang up the mobile phone insurance company to claim for insurance. They asked me to think again, because I would have to pay £50 excess while my phone actually may not be worth £50 after they repaired it. I think it would cost more than £50 to buy a new HTC wildfire S. But the phone is very hard to use compared to an iphone, so I decided to forget it.

    If they make Smartwatch, can they make sure the watch can stand being washed in the washing machine for one and a half hour? If so I will consider buying it.

    I have got a Samsung Galaxy Young now. The phone sales man must have sensed that I knew very little about Smartphones and he told me to take the Samsung Galaxy Young saying that it was a good phone.

    I would like to use a Samsung phone so that I can learn to use an android phone.

    Now I conclude that iphone is really a very good phone. I should consider buying an ipad sooner rather than later. I love apple’s “FaceTime” function. It is free international calls! It is so simple to use that it’s good for old people to keep in touch with other people.

    Hi Emiliano, reading your story is amazing. I should have watched you telling the staff in Harrods that you would pay for the price shown – you know your consumer’s right and you were right. Emiliano you are a very intelligent man. You know exactly where to go in London and you even bought something so special. Good on you.

    Sometimes I was told to pay for more than the price on the sticker, the staff in the shop said it was a mistake and I was not happy. But I just could not be bothered to argue with them. I did not argue last time because I was shopping together with my daughter. I did not want to embarrass my daughter so I just told the staff that they were wrong but I would pay for the item at the higher price. They apologized and got away with it.

    That’s all I want to say today.

    My apologies again for not writing a lot. Please don’t do as I do, please write and help this blog to continue to flourish.

    Best Regards

    Betty :)

  16. emiliano Says:

    He Betty, so nice to see you.

    Yes, it was very exciting, entering in Harrows so incredible site, so many beautiful things to buy but too many expensive.
    There are moments in life you can´t forget and this was one of them.

    I wanted to buy a perfume to Cuca and another for Isabel the woman and friend who was looking after Cuca at home
    while I was in London, so I bought two nice good perfumes for them, I bought also some food for that morningl, it was exquisite
    sweets and sándwiches and afterward I asked for the place where watches were sold.
    Incredible nice site and also the prices, very very expensive. You could see all kind of watches for men and women with jewels
    on them. Brilliants and so forth.
    Prices? 30.000 / 60.000 pounds some of them. Luxury every where and I was along watching everthing.
    Suddenly I saw a little site where some good watches were with high discounts, so withount any intention of buying a watch
    when I came into Harrows you could see Emiliano looking the watches and asking about the prices that were sticked on them.

    I saw one it was really good and nice, it was a Maurice Lacroix as I said before, elegant and not too expensive. I saw the Price
    the discount and asked the man about it.
    He said, yes a nice watch that has a good discount, it is an opportunity.
    No, I have not idea of buying a watch so good but changed my mind and asked the man if I could put it round my wrist, ohh
    that was definitive, I wanted the watch.

    Yes, I want it I said the Young man.
    O.K., mister said him and read the tag in the cash, oh sorry mister there is a mistake, the Price was wrong it cost just a different
    price.
    What is that, I said.
    Yes, mister, it costs 200 pounds (more or less) more that the price it is showed.

    Yes, it was my momment of practicing my English, I could remember ESL lessons and so many time without talking in a long
    conversation. I enjoyed the moment a lot smiling inside me about the subject. I could talk a good English, thanks Jeff.

    Sorry, I said him, my right it is to pay only the price it is showed on it and that you told me before so I am not going to pay
    anything more.

    For five or six minutes we were arguing in a very polite form, I said NO, only pay the price showed and he said SORRY the
    price is another it has been a big mistake, sorry, I am very sorry.
    I had this argue several times here in Madrid, so yes, I have some practice about the matter.
    But it was different, my first time in London, alone, my first time in Harrows and I wanted to buy an expensive watch having
    and argue with the seller. Incredible moment to remember always, yes I enjoyed that minutes so much.
    Finally the seller said he was going to talk with the boss, if you don´t mind please wait here a while.

    That´s all, so thanks ESL for the lessons, I could argue for a long period of time the same as talking afterward with the man.

    Yes, thanks to ESL I got a nice high quality watch from Harrows in my first visit over there.

    Thanks Betty, there is something to remember on my firs trip to Londong after so long time without moving from Madrid.

    emiliano

    My heart was bum,bum,bum, ecxited so much. Arguing in English inside Harrows, it was like a dream.

    Finally the two sellers come and said yes, you may pay the price you said, it is right, we have to look for the box and
    the warranty.
    So, I sit down and I was talking with the boss about watches and looking some of them really nice and quite expensive.
    It seems I was a rich man asking about so high quality watches. Really very nice argument and they were absolutely
    polite, the same like me.

  17. emiliano Says:

    Sorry, something happens with the note, please read the phrase of below after ….wait here a while… /…. My heart was bum, bum, ………..and so forth…..

    It could be that reminding the experience I am excited again. ja,ja, sure it is so., the trip to London was wonderful in all
    meanings.

    emiliano

  18. Myo ko ko Says:

    Phew!!
    OK, guys
    Now I’ve had a really big relief to know that one of our senior writers, Betty, is still alive! ;)

    Guys,
    We have five senior writers here.
    1) Emiliano from Spain
    who can write about his experiences in conjunction with the topics that our teachers bring in here.
    2) Dan from Italy
    who writes here about things as he sees them.
    3) Betty from Hong Kong
    who always says nice words and more often than not cheers someone up to write here.
    4) Peter from Canada, I think.
    who writes many things that make our heads spin because we have difficulty understanding his higher English!
    5) Tania from Romania, I think.
    who loves poems and quotes and sometimes bringing them in here.
    (Hey, Tania, Quotes are great, but don’t quote me on that! ;) )

    Well, Aecio from Brazil is in “waiting queue” to fill up the position (6) as a senior! ;)

    But of them, Peter and Tania are still missing.
    (It would be a good idea to put both of two on a ” Wanted List” ! :D )

    Conducting a survey here,
    Myo ko ko
    A boxer fan ( ‘Cause I dare not to go onto a boxer stage! :) )

  19. Wang Says:

    Hi all!

    Well Jeff, I’m quite sure that most of people who now are wearing a watch are indeed not to track the time. I believe that a wristwatch would tell time more convenient, more quickly than other devices such as a

    smartphone, a tablet…Why? It’s obvious that you just need to raise your hand a little bit up to your chest’s level and there you go. You can tell what time it is right the way by looking at the hour and minute hands.

    But with other gadgets, the first thing you have to do is to pull it out of its cover, then fire it on and so far. Eventually you will know the time but it probably takes longer to go thru all the process before getting to the

    point :P ehm, By this time, I’m gonna say I will come along with Myo! Not a bunch of people but neither the less, there are people who always want to show off their wealth, stand out among their peers via their stuff.

    A stylist is likely to use his/her clothes to impress customers. A businessman won’t waste a chance to influence his clients, his partners if putting on a polish outfit can help him gain some advantages. Or a pop star

    would never take a second thought on deciding whether the usage of his appearance enables himself to entertain his audiences or not.

    Nowadays, with the popularity and convenience of tiny and portable devices, It’s hard for a smart-watch to defeat its counterpart on the market unless it has some marvelous use. I bet those companies such as

    Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm have been milking every single nerves of its employees in order to create a competitive product against smartphones and tablets. I think a small smart-watch which is integrated a illusive

    keyboard or applied voice recognition techniques to do its task instead of using a touch-screen would at least create a craze in the society. Otherwise, with its small size I can’t imagine how those companies can expect

    their invention work out. Will I have to use my nails to roll up the screen on a smart-watch and open my eyes much more bigger in order to observe what is on its display. :D

    But again, who knows what is gonna happen! who knows that scientists can do! who knows whether technique hipsters will switch their minds over to this smart-watch later on? :D

    Nice to see your work again Emiliano, you better pay more attention to your health. You know, You will have to spend much more time to recover from illness than the youths

    Best regard!

    Wang

  20. Wang Says:

    Hey Myo, where are you living again?…for a long time I thought you are Japanese and by your name, I assumed you were a girl

    But now, by what is aforesaid by you up there, I disillusioned that my hypothesis was wrong :D

    Yes, You are right…I was psyched as seeing the name Peter dropped in your list above! Every time I see Peter’s penmanship I feel a bit dizzy

    Honestly to say, I had to look up many words in his writing, sound bored but I was really excited to do that cause I know I would gain plenty of interesting words :P

    Peter, where are you??? where are you??? :P Hope he wouldn’t forget our sweet home here :D

    But for conclusion, I would say I have been finding it interesting as reading you all here, your all works. It helps me to beef up my vocabularies and feel the pleasure as being in an English community :D

  21. Tania Says:

    Hi! This week, every night it is talking only about the smartwatch on our TV.
    It is a new and interesting gadget for teens or for the riches.
    Two or three years ago it was trendy to have a big wristwatch, not expensive, but it was trendy…
    But a smartwatch with a small screen with many apps… I see it like a new step in the high-tech , in the progress of the technology. A good thing for the mankind.
    Nobody said its price.
    I like the Wang saying: there are people who always want to show off their wealth.
    Many of politicians wear huge and expensive wristwatch, especially Rolex, one of the most expensive wristwatches.

  22. Tania Says:

    Hi! I hate the violence, I do not like the box.
    I saw only Rocky, the 1976 American sports film which won three Oscars, including Best Picture and turned Stallone into a major star.
    I think all five sequels were on our TV but I can see such violent movies.
    I have not known that Sylvester Stallone is an American symbol for “Rocky”, all sequels written by and starring him.
    I associated him only with Rambo.
    I now appreciate more Stallone.
    He is a big, big cinema star.

    Hi! Reading Wikipedia about Rocky Balboa, I found out that Rocky was last seen visiting his wife’s grave saying
    “Yo Adrian, we did it”.
    In the Oxford American Dictionary , “y.o” means “years old”.
    Could I translate “I the old man, we did it”?

    Hi! May I practice my English with some Rocky Quotes?

    Rocky: If I Can Change, you can Change. EVERY BODY CAN CHANGE!

    Adrian: Rocky, why do you fight?
    Rocky: Because I can’t sing and dance.

    Hi!

    Rocky: Let me tell you something you already know.
    The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
    You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit;
    it’s about how hard you can hit, and keep moving forward.
    How much you can take, and keep moving forward.
    That’s how winning is done.
    No, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth.

    Hi!

    Rocky: But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody.
    Cowards do that and that ain’t you.
    You’re better than that.

    Hi! May I praise and the Romanian box?

    Lucian Bute (his nickname Mister KO) is a Romanian-Canadian professional boxer.
    He is currently the NABF light heavyweight champion and a former IBF super middleweight champion.
    He is currently ranked as the number 3 super middleweight in the world.
    Boxing record:
    Total fights 32
    Wins 31
    Wins by KO 24

    As an amateur , Bute won the bronze medal at the 1999 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Houston, Texas.
    In 2007, Bute became the third professional boxing world champion of Romania after Leonard Dorin and Mihai leu.

    Hi!

    Leonard Dorin is a Romanian-Canadian former boxer, the WBA Lightweight World Champion from 2002 to 2003.

    Hi!
    In the boxing field we use the same words: box, boxer, amator, profesional, campion, perseverenta, runda finala, ring.

    The First (Attempt at a) Smartwatch
    20 View Post

    Hi!
    In “Rocky IV”, Rocky fights with Drago .

    Is the same name with El Drago, the dragon which is the fire symbol, a toy for children?
    I saw and a company with this name.

    The First (Attempt at a) Smartwatch

    Hi!

    Mihai Leu known as Michael Loewe is a Romanian former professional boxer, a former WBO Welterweight Champion.

    Total fights 28
    Wins 28
    Wins by KO 10.

    Thank you for your patience reading my lines.

  23. Tania Says:

    Hi!
    And now, some nice lyrics by Leo Sayer.

    “I love you more than I can say
    I’ll love you twice as much tomorrow
    Love you more than I can say.

    I miss you ev’ry single day
    Why must my life be filled with sorrow
    I love you more than I can say.”

  24. Tania Says:

    Hi!
    And Dorothy Parker Quotes:

    “And love is a thing that can never go wrong
    And I am Marie of Romania.”

    “Men seldom make passes
    At girls who wear glasses.”

    Hi!

    “Some men break your heart in two,
    Some men fawn and flatter,
    Some men never look at you;
    And that cleans up the matter.”

    “Experience” by Dorothy Parker

  25. Heba Says:

    I don’t wear watches anymore. If I want to know the time, I just check my phone. I think most people who still wear the watches do consider them as an accessory.