Apple, Nike, and More Are Coming for Your Wrists

Nike FuelBand

Yep, you read that right — the biggest tech players, having taken over your phone, now want to get it synced up with the wristwatch you don’t wear.  From Sony to start-ups, various companies are hoping to turn around the waning popularity of the watch by introducing gadget-y versions that function as an extension of, and a complement to, a smartphone.

Nike, for instance, launched the FuelBand, which tracks a wearer’s daily activity and exertion, and easily syncs that data with their smartphone.  The Up, by a start-up called Jawbone, does the same thing.  (Though this watch is only compatible with the iPhone.)  On the other hand — no pun intended — it also lets you track your daily diet and sleep patterns.  Coming from a less sports- and health-oriented angle is Sony’s Smartwatch, which only works on the Android platform, but allows wearers to view email, Twitter, the weather, and other text-based media on their wrist.

Perhaps the most advanced of this high-tech crop of new watches is the all-encompassing Pebble, which raised $10 million on Kickstarter but hasn’t yet launched to the public.  Compatible with both Android and iPhone operating systems, the watch combines the activity-tracking capability of its more sports-oriented competitors with notifications for email, Facebook, Twitter, and the weather.  Plus it’s a music player. Oh, and last but not least, it’s aesthetic — wearers can download different watch faces to the device.  (That last feature pleasantly reminds us of the colorful, interchangeable watchbands of yore.)

And like its brethren, the Pebble also, you know, tells time.  After all, at their most basic level, these “watches” need to keep the wearer from having to dig for a phone to learn the hour.   With their many potentially useful functions, what do you think — would you want phone alerts buzzing on your wrist?  Or is your iPhone/Android/Blackberry, vibrating in your bag, enough already?