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Wearables Right or Wrong? The new Timex smartwatch isn't even a smartwatch

In Episode 12 of my weekly video series, I take on the Timex Ironman One GPS+, Pebble’s new smartwatch colors, and Apple’s latest Healthkit trademark application.

We need to reach consensus on a reliable definition for the term smartwatch. Does it refer to any wrist-worn timepiece that boasts a few digital connectivity features? Or is the threshold a bit higher, and the gadget can’t reach smartwatch transcendence until it offers, say, phone notifications and third-party app support? 

I don’t have all the answers, but I know a smartwatch when I see it, and the Timex  Ironman One GPS+ is not a smartwatch. It appears even Tom Essery, Timex Vice President of Digital Research and Development, agrees. As he told USA Today, “First and foremost it’s a GPS sports watch.” 

Timex Ironman One GPS+ smartwatch Timex

You can take the Timex Ironman One GPS+ surfing, but it supports neither phone notifications nor texts and email from your existing accounts.

And it looks to be a very innovative sports watch indeed. But just because it sends messages and email through its own 3G pipe doesn’t make it a smartwatch. Full-fledged smartwatches at least attempt to connect us to greater portions of our digital lifestyles. This particular Timex watch, meanwhile, appears to be more of a hardcore, high-tech workout companion. It can upload exercise data to various fitness services, and its messaging feature lets loved ones know when and where you’re active.

Cool tricks, yes, but they’re solidly in the sports watch realm, not in the broader, mainstream smartwatch realm that’s captured the public imagination. 

We’ll find out more as product details emerge, but at first glance it appears the entire world is using the term smartwatch way too liberally in the case of the Ironman One GPS+. As always, I welcome your feedback. Please add a comment to this article or tweet me directly @JonPhillipsSF.

This story, "Wearables Right or Wrong? The new Timex smartwatch isn't even a smartwatch" was originally published by TechHive.

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