For the past couple of years we've noticed a shift in focus of dominant players in the smartphone space. As the smartphone market moves from rapid expansion to a maturing phase, the companies on top don't want to be left behind in the same way the notebook PC vendors were at the start of the smartphone/tablet race.

At the same time, continued reduction in transistor feature sizes and power consumption have enabled a new class of low power SoC. ARM's product offerings in particular extend both up and down the power curve. There's Cortex M for ultra low power devices, often perfect for wearables, and then a range of Cortex A CPUs for higher end wearables all the way up to smartphones, tablets and eventually servers. 

Initial successes in the wearables space were specialized pieces of hardware. For example, pedometers and health trackers like the Fitbits of the world. Most of these designs leverage Cortex M series CPU cores. More recently however we've seen a more serious push into the world of smart watches. Initial plays here were more disorganized in terms of hardware and OS selection, but we're beginning to see some consolidation on the heels of Google's Android Wear announcement. 

At last month's Google IO we saw the first official Android Wear devices launch from LG and Samsung. Later this summer we'll also see the arrival of the Moto 360, an arguably much more appealing Android Wear device thanks to a greater focus on design. I've spent the past couple of weeks with LG's G Watch and am still toying with the best way to present my thoughts on the device. In short it seems like a great platform if you're a developer, but honestly lacks the battery life (I measured under 9 hours of actual use, display on but dimmed on a single charge) and feature set today to really convince me as a consumer.

Last month we soft launched our new Wearables content section at AnandTech, with ARM graciously agreeing to be a launch sponsor. ARM's support will allow us to likely do some wearable giveaways in the not too distant future too.

The path to wearable computing becoming something more substantial however demands a lot of things to change. If we're talking about watches we need better battery life, the functionality needs to improve as well (although I am impressed by some of what's already been introduced for Android Wear). I'm curious to get your thoughts on the wearable space. What would it take for you to add yet another computing platform to your life? Is anyone out there waiting for the perfect smart watch? I know I stopped wearing watches nearly a decade ago, and to go back I'll likely need quite a bit of convincing in terms of a great product.

If you've got thoughts on this space, we'd love to hear them as they'll help shape our coverage going forward. Leave your comments below.

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  • piiman - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    " Sadly the strap fell apart again and i just had enough. Been without one for three years now. And i miss it :("

    you do know those bands are replaceable don't you? :-)
    Reply
  • SleepyFE - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Well... Yes and no. The strap was a mix of aluminum and rubber. The rubber links fell apart and i'm out of replacement parts. Went to a few Swatch stores and none had a metal or silicon strap in my color. The leather strap has foam in it to make it look bulky and helps it fall apart sooner. Reply
  • sheh - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    Thoughts: boring. Reply
  • Qwertilot - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    Interested in the watches for on foot navigation (esp outdoors) for which there seems to be a fairly clear cut use case.

    Most of the time even my phone is turned off anyway. Normal watch.
    Reply
  • ron1936891 - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    I don't like wearing watches, so I have very little interest in any device that simply replicates my phone on my wrist. If that is all a wearable does, then I am happy to just keep pulling out my cellphone. If the wearable can do something that my cellphone cannot, I might be interested (for example, the rumored medical sensors for the iWatch intrigue me). Reply
  • HangFire - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    I can't stand wearing a watch and a world full of people voice-commanding their gear would be a really irritating world to live in. Hands-free bluetooth earpieces are bad enough when you're standing in line trying to figure out if the person behind you is arguing with you or through their BT connection. Until neural command (or something like it) is a reality I won't be an early adopter. Reply
  • joe_dude - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    Looking at the long view, I do not believe a wristwatch will be truly useful until it can *replace* a smartphone. I've never liked carrying around a phone... it's easy to lose, easy to break, another thing to carry. A watch is simpler, lighter and handier.

    The idea of carrying a "brick" to make phone calls, read an e-mail, search for info or find directions will hopefully soon be antiquated. Then "phones" can just be tablets.
    Reply
  • SleepyFE - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I hate tablets. A blown up phone that won't fit in any pant pocket. Useless. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    I'd disagree with you entirely. The amount of watches I've lost, broken and otherwise destroyed over the years is... well its no small number. This is mostly due to the fact that the watch is located on a wrist :) Oh and a wrist watch is not comfortable. It gets in a way of... well everything really.

    On the other hand so far I've had 1 smartphone mugged off me a few years back. I've had a few of them since and hey not a single one I've managed to lose or break....

    And the idea of carrying a tiny screen which you have to drag literally in front of your face just to read an email seems ludicrous to me.
    Reply
  • jooj32 - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    I never lost, broken or destroyed any of my watches. I'm with you about smartwatches not being worth it. At least what I've seen so far. Reply

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