When smart watches were definitely not a thing

Back in 2013, I took Samsung to task. They moved very early into the smart watch space, and although they said they sold a ton of Galaxy Gear watches, it’s more likely they didn’t actually sell them to people. Samsung, of course, sells to retailers who sell to people. They said they sold 800,000 smart watches but they didn’t report how many actually reached customer hands, or how many were sold to liquidators.

For a while, it looked like smart watches would be a big dud. I was pretty uncomfortable endorsing them back in 2013 and I called the Apple Watch a failure more than once over the years.

What do you know, fetch actually happened

But yet, I have to admit that after years and years of trying, there are actually some smart watches that people want to buy. Apple afficionados have finally glommed onto the fourth generation watch. It offers health-tracking features that turn it into a glorified (and less embarrassing LifeCall system. Apple seems to have finally realized that its aging customer base wants to look “hip” when they break a hip.

For everyone else, Fitbit has emerged as the surprising winner. After several high-profile scandals, the company now has a product that seems to track heart rate and steps accurately. I noticed that using a Fitbit Ionic while petting the cat no longer counts as a step. The company’s latest offerings look identical to the Apple watch too, giving you the coolness without the cost.

In the meantime Samsung and the rest of the Android universe realized that nearly any Bluetooth device can display emails, calls and texts on it so there hasn’t been a real need for a true Google watch ecosystem. That’s a good thing. I pity Apple for having to maintain four different but similar operating systems at this point.

Will I dis smartwatches again?

Yeah, I probably will. I don’t use one regularly because they are still too bad on battery life. I want a watch that can go a month or more on a charge. I don’t want yet another device that takes a nightly charge, especially one that’s supposed to track my sleep cycles. But of course, that’s a subject for a Throwback Thursday in 2024 or so. I’ll see you then!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.