As smartphones get bigger (and presumably more inconvenient to pull out of your pocket when you just want to check the time or weather), a growing number of companies seem to be betting that smartwatches are the future of mobile devices. While you can still use your phone for in-depth web surfing, messaging, or more, the idea is that you can pair a watch with your phone wirelessly and view some info just by looking at your wrist.
The latest entry into the smartwatch space comes from Taiwan’s Foxconn — a company best known for manufacturing Apple products such as the iPhone. But the company’s new smartwatch prototype isn’t an Apple product… it’s just meant to work with one.
Pair the watch with an iPhone and it’ll show updates including call information and Facebook posts, among other things. It also taps into the latest trends in portable fitness devices by measuring a user’s heartbeat and other vital stats.
Apple’s expected to introduce its own smartwatch at some point as well (and people have been turning iPod mini devices into smartish watches for a while anyway).
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple entered a market where it wasn’t the first player though. The company was hardly the first to produce a portable MP3 player, a smartphone, or a tablet. But Apple pretty much dominates those spaces these days. So I doubt Apple executives are afraid of competition from Foxconn, Pebble, or others.
What remains to be seen is whether smartwatches will one day be as popular as smartphones… or devices for “hobbyists,” like Apple TV boxes.