Myriam Joire: A Brief History of The Smartwatch

Myriam Joire, the well-known tech writer and Chief Evangelist for Pebble, took the stage at last week’s Wearable Tech Expo in NYC to deliver a fun and opinionated overview of the history of the smartwatch.  Providing a fascinating historical perspective, she started with the world’s first wristwatch— made in Switzerland by Patek Philippe in 1868 as a novel piece of jewelry.  At the time the pocket watch was king, and the idea of a timepiece on your wrist struck most as preposterous— especially as a commercially viable product.

Joire’s journey took the audience through the first LED watches in the 1970’s, followed by calculator watches and PDAs until we finally arrive at today’s watches (and not surprisingly Pebble’s latest product).  The key takeaway was that the next two years in the industry will continue to meet battery life and display challenges.  Users are starting to crave the full color displays they’re used to with smartphones, but delivering that quality in a wristwatch takes significant battery power.

In the near future, Joire expects voice recognition to become integral to smart watches since the form factor makes typing less than ideal.  She also voiced enthusiasm for predictive capabilities in smartwatch computing if we proactively give our data away (“We need to start to trust our technology”), as well as the proliferation of device pairing between smartphones and smartwatches.

Looking off into the distant future, Joire also wasn’t afraid to endorse what she sees coming next: device implants that actually are actually integrated into our bodies. “That counts as wearable!” she concluded.