News Gadgets Update : Time Check: Smartwatches Before Apple Clocks In

EW YORK — As the tech world's attention turns Monday towards Apple's big press event, it is important to remember that the upcoming Apple Watch is far from the only smart timepiece in town. Dozens of smartwatches, fitness bands and other wearables have come to market over the past few years sporting various designs and a variety of different platforms.

Here is a breakdown of the current state of wearables and some of the devices the Apple Watch will compete with.

*Android Wear. Google officially entered the smartwatch space last year with its Android Wear devices. Priced between $199 and $329 "Google watches" can do many of the things Apple promises its device will do including voice search, notifications and the ability to monitor a person's heart rate.
Samsung, LG, ASUS, Sony and Motorola have all released devices for Google's platform with LG's G Watch R, Motorola's Moto 360 and ASUS's ZenWatch in particular getting positive reviews for their designs. Devices still suffer from weak battery life and a lack of compelling apps, and sales have been poor. According to Canalys only 720,000 devices running Google's smartwatch platform shipped in 2014

Android Wear makers are preparing a new slate of devices for 2015 to compete with Apple's watch. In an interview with Recode, Motorola president Rick Osterloh promised that his company will release new products in the "later part of the year." Chinese giant Huawei announced this week its first Android Wear smartwatch, featuring a sharp, circular screen.
*Samsung Gear Samsung has been experimenting with smartwatches since the launch of the original Galaxy Gear in the fall of 2013 though it has yet to release a device with a lasting impact on the market. Limited apps, uninspired designs and compatibility solely with Samsung phones have sorely plagued early models.

Samsung made progress with last year's Gear S, a device with a stylish two-inch curved display. The watch runs Samsung's Tizen software. It still however only works with Samsung phones and remains pricey at $299 without a contract (the device also has a 3G modem for use when not near your phone).
Out of the six wearables Samsung has released so far, Gear S is the most encouraging sign that the company is learning from its past mistakes.
*Pebble. Next to Android Wear the most direct threat to the Apple Watch comes from Kickstarter darling Pebble.

Pebble's current watches, the Pebble and Pebble Steel, have been among the more popular smartwatches to date thanks to a growing app catalog, seven days of battery life and compatibility with Android and iOS devices. The watches have also traditionally been much more affordable, priced at $99 for the original Pebble or $199 for the Pebble Steel.

The company recently announced two new devices, Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel. Unlike prior models the new Pebbles are faster, sleeker and utilize a color e-Paper display with customizable 'smartstraps" that promise added functionality. The Time Steel in particular seems poised for battle against Apple's Watch, what with its enhanced display, premium design and 10 days of battery life.
Pebble Time is priced at $199 ($179 for Kickstarter backers) and ships in May while Pebble Time Steel will be available in July for $299 ($250 for Kickstarter backers). Both are currently available on Kickstarter.

* Fitness bands and other wearables. In addition to the defined category of smartwatches, the Apple Watch will also be competing against various fitness bands that offer some same functionality but are more health focused. They track steps, check your heart rate and monitor your sleep. Fitbit, Jawbone, Microsoft, and have all released devices in the space, with others like HTC (and partner Under Armour) about to plunge in.

Such wearables generally boast longer battery life and work with iOS and Android.

*"Less as more" smartwatches. Not all smartwatches on the market feature big digital displays. Withings and Martian are adding slight modern touches to traditional analog watch faces. Martian, which recently partnered with Guess to offer more stylish designs, incorporates a small screen underneath an analog watchface to display notifications from your smartphone. Withings forgoes a digital display entirely opting solely for an elegant analog watch face on its Activité watches to track steps and sleep.
While limited in functionality both watches work with Android or iOS devices and have long-battery life, up to 8 months on the Withings watches.

Apple has made no secret that it hopes its device will appeal to the health and fitness crowd as well. The base $349 Apple Watch Sport, will come with a more durable watchband designed for use while exercising. All models will feature heart rate sensors and integrate with the iPhone's Health app.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has also been quite vocal about his health aspirations for the new watch. Speaking at conference recently he offered the hope that the Apple Watch will cure the "new cancer," that is sitting for long periods of time.

Many questions still surround the Apple Watch, from battery life concerns to the pricing for its higher-end variants. One thing remains abundantly clear: the market for smartwatches is wide open.
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