The world's first smartwatch

17 years ago, the world met its first smartwatch - a far cry from the technology available today.
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The world's first smartwatch

The Seiko Ruputer

Today we’re celebrating a moment in tech history. On 10 June 1998 Seiko released the world’s first smartwatch, the Ruputer.

By today’s standard, the Ruputer isn’t really worth a raised eyebrow, but at the backend of the 20th century, it was pioneering technology. The rectangular screen measured 2-inches across and allowed users to play games, look at contact information, and of course, check the time.

The Ruputer pre-dated touch screens, so it had to be operated by various buttons surrounding the screen, joined by a joystick (which you can see in yellow, pictured right), which sat underneath.

At the time it wasn’t that much bigger than a digital watch so was, unsurprisingly, at the cutting edge of technology 17 years ago.

Timex Datalink

Prior to Ruputer, the Timex Datalink, co-developed by Microsoft, enjoyed some time in the limelight in 1994. Often argued as the original smartwatch (or wristwatch computer), it was capable of downloading information from a computer. It could also log dates and alert its wearer of reminders.

The Timex’s interface however wasn’t as advanced as the Seiko’s, which is unsurprising seeing as there’s about four years between them, and couldn’t display as much information. This very 90s ad might give you an idea of its capabilities.

Modern day smartwatches

Nowadays there is little the best smartwatches can’t do. They’re actually miniature computers attached to our wrists, capable of making phone calls, searching the internet, interacting on social media and even taking photographs.

We recently spent a week with the LG Watch Urbane, which we were very impressed with. Check out our review here, but if you’d like a little bit more choice, you can see the whole range here.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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