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2001 IBM WatchPad
Despite the recent excitement about smartwatches from Microsoft, Google, Samsung and maybe even Apple, it's not a new idea – the tech industry has been trying to come up with a viable watch-like computing device for decades. Here are some of the highlights.
Could you get more 2013 than an internet-enabled designer watch running an open source operating system?
Sadly 2001 got there first: IBM Research and Citizen Watch built a Linux-based watch called WatchPad, which they hoped would illustrate the viability of the then-novel operating system "across all platforms, from large enterprise servers, to medium-sized and small servers, workstations, desktop systems, laptops and the smallest intelligent devices".
The device featured a QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) LCD screen, Bluetooth and accelerometer – and ran on Linux version 2.4. It only had a battery life of a few hours.
"Internet-enabled watches are a popular publicity gimmick," said CNET at the time, and many would still agree today.
Still, the WatchPad wasn't the only smartwatch around – another early device of note was the Matsucom onHand PC, with a calendar-and-scheduling program, an address book, a notepad, an expense keeper, four games – and a joystick to navigate all of that.
Image: Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation, © (2001) International Business Machines Corporation.