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2001 IBM WatchPad
Despite the recent excitement about smartwatches 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 futuristic 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.
2002 Fossil Wrist PDA
The Fossil Wrist PDA came in Palm and Pocket PC version and with a 190KB memory that could store 1,100 contacts, 5,000 To Do items, 800 appointments, or 350 memos.
The 2002 device aimed to prove that a watch could deliver all the capabilities of a PDA (remember them?) into a piece of hardware that could be worn on the wrist. This was one of number of smartwatch models released by Fossil during this period. Fossil recently said it is working with Intel on a new generation of smart wearable devices.