Pebble smartwatch

There’s been an amazing amount of rapid developments in smartwatches in the last couple of years or so. In addition to timekeeping and displaying alerts, smartwatches can measure physical activity, monitor pulse rates, skin temperatures and perspiration levels. This new level of intelligence already makes possible functions like pedometers, sleep analysis, calorie consumption and others. Sensors are cheap and trending cheaper, so more functions are on the way. We now have so-called ‘personal analytics’ which uses these sorts of measurements to let you track and improve health and fitness.

The best known smartwatch is the Pebble, a smash success for Kickstarter and shipping now. I have one, as do two others on staff here, so expect a review soon and follow-up articles as well. However, if you want to track fitness, it’s not ready – it has the hardware, but the software has not been completed yet. If they deliver on the promises made during the Kickstarter campaign, I think the Pebble will be the clear winner. A big “if,” though.

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Each of the current crop has its own set of limitations and drawbacks. A post by Matt Mullenweg has a nice rundown of the alternatives. He likes the Jawbone Up

Jawbone Up

and the Basis smartwatch:

Basis smartwatch

Matt says

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If I had to pick between the two I’d just use the Basis. The awkwardness of the device is outweighed by the richness of the data it provides. For right now I’m not choosing: I wear one on each wrist and compare the data. (It’s always within a few % of each other for things they both do.) If I were hiking in the woods for a week I’d probably just take the UP as its battery would last the entire time.

Head over and read his review to find out more.

There are lots of others, too – Nike Fuelband, Fitbit, Metawatch, EZ430 Chronos, to name just a few. As the category evolves and expands, we’ll be spending more time here covering it. Chime in here in the comments, and let us know what you think. Are they “smart” enough yet for you to wear one?

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