The arrival of smartphones and tablets put tremendously powerful computers in our palms and since then they have become an inseparable part of daily life. But sci-fi Hollywood flicks have always shown wearable technology as a definitive sign of "future". The future, as it turns out, was 2014.
When Google debuted the awkward-looking Google Glass two years ago, we were blown away by the possibilities wearable devices possessed. Today, Glass has slipped away from public imagination and a new wearable technology has taken centre stage -- the smartwatch. Smart watches aren’t new, but 2014 was the year when the big players finally threw their hats in the ring. First Google announced Android wear, a version of its mobile operating system designed specifically for watches. Android Wear is powerful -- it lets you do a lot of things like answering your email and counting your calories right from your wrist -- but much like early smartphones, it has teething problems with usability.
Android Wear saw support right out of the gate with many Android phone makers like Motorola, Samsung and LG launching their first Android Wear devices this year. But none of them really struck out as must have devices and the steep price tags didn’t help either.
The rumour mill had been talking about it for some time but Apple finally revealed its smartwatch, the Apple Watch, during the iPhone 6 launch event. It acts as a companion to the iPhone (it needs an iPhone to even function at all). The Apple Watch has many of the same features and concepts as Google’s efforts, but it's wrapped in a more elegant package. Apple has the advantage of much of the iOS developer community behind its tiniest smart device. The watch won’t be available at retail until next year and it starts at $350, which is a steep price tag. But just the fact that it exists has put smartwatches on the minds of many more people.
The last seven years have seen Google and Apple duke it out for supremacy in the smartphone and tablet space. 2015 will see both companies launch their first offensive in the war for your wrists.