How smart are smartwatches?

Smartphones have made their way from enterprise users to the masses. With everyone being connected through texting, tweets, check-ins and status updates, smartwatches have been formed, giving you access to your phone at those rare times when you don’t actually have your smartphone in your hand.

As smartwatches gain some traction and attention from the media and the public, the question arises: How smart are these smartwatches (or what can they do besides tell you the time)? Some obvious answers are: show you the weather, alert you when you get a call or text, and maybe let you make calls and act as a bluetooth speaker. Does it need a special app? what devices does it support? what are the different smartwatches available today? Here is a look at some options…

1. Pebble ($150)

This is the most popular of the smartwatches. It was crowd-funded on kickstarter and is on sale in BestBuy. What can it do? A lot. Pebble connects to iPhone or Android phones over Bluetooth and lets you see who is calling you, read text messages, control your music on the phone and see stats of sports activity (miles covered, pace, time spent). It also lets developers make apps for the watch, which is likely to expand the list of things Pebble can do over time. Physically, its a plastic watch with a casual look.

2. Cookoo watch ($129)

This smartwatch (also funded on kickstarter) lets you do a lot right out of the box, but only works with iOS devices (namely iPhone 4S/5, iPad 3/4). It also works over Bluetooth and has an iOS app to manage the watch. Cookoo shows you incoming calls, missed calls, facebook messages and notifications, calendar reminders, Google Voice SMS, E-mail notifications, alerts you when device is out of range (so you don’t lose your phone), alerts you of low battery on the iOS device and alerts you when the alarm or timer goes off. You can also enable 1-button facebook check-ins, control your music and use your watch as a camera shutter remote. Cookoo however is a closed platform at the moment so you are only going to get new features and updates once the makers of the watch add new features to it. Physically, it looks more like a real watch (smaller form factor) instead of having a larger display.

3. Martian Passport watch ($299)

This smartwatch works with iPhones and Android devices. It’s features list is similar to the Cookoo watch. You get incoming call and text message alerts and answer phone calls (the watch acts as a bluetooth speaker). The watch also shows notifications when you get an email, facebook message, twitter alert, and lets you see the weather. Since this watch has a speaker and microphone, it lets you talk to Siri too! And with iOS 7, there is a lot of things Siri can do for you. Martian also has its app to let you manage the watch. This app is needed to forward your email, facebook and twitter notifications to your watch. Physically, this looks like a formal watch (business formal look), but it also has the highest price tag.

The Verdict

For iPhone users, the Cookoo watch is the most economical, comes with the most amount of options out of the box and looks like a real non-smart watch. For Android users, Pebble seems to be a good bet. Pebble also allows developers to make apps, so its feature set will increase. The Martian watch is a bit pricy (same as the 32GB iPhone on contract), but lets you use Siri and has a business formal look. So it ultimately depends on your preference on physical appearance and the features that you need. There will also be new smartwatches coming out soon as more players get into the game, look out for Sony, who is coming up with a smartwatch soon.


Pebble -

Cookoo -

Martian Passport watch -