It isn't just phones that are getting smarter. The humble wrist watch is becoming pretty brainy too. Now available from Italian company I'm Watch, and unveiled at the recent CES Show in Las Vegas, this second generation device promises even greater functionality than the previous model.
Not only can you use it as a Dick Tracy style wristwatch phone - sure to impress your friends and turn a few heads - you can also use this device to control all of the apps you have on your smart phone and more. So for the first time you can check your email, view your pictures, even keep up to date with social media just by looking at the high-resolution colour screen.
Size-wise, the i'm Watch is a little larger than a conventional boring watch, but then it can do a whole lot more. Simply plug the device into your PC using the supplied 3.5mm jack to USB cable, register the device on the website and check out the app store. The latest i'm Watch product uses the i'm Droid 2 operating system, a customised version of Android developed by i'm Watch engineers.
Here you can access various bespoke I'm Watch apps including a version of Instagram and another called i'Mages which enables you to view any photo albums you have stored via Google's Picasa. Once you've supplied your user name and passwords, it's also possible to view your Facebook and Twitter messages on your watch so you are never out of touch with what's going on in your social networks. It's even possible to access your emails on the go.
But that's not all. Scroll down the watch's touch screen display and you can click on a whole host of additional apps including one for checking the weather in your home town, one for providing the latest stocks and shares info and another for displaying the latest news. By pluggging headphones into the watch's 3.5mm jack you can also listen to music, downloadable via the i'music app.
Although the watch doesn't have a built in mobile data SIM it uses Bluetooth to communicate with the outside world via your smart phone (Apple iOS, Blackberry, Android). I managed to tether the watch to my iPhone straight away and within minutes was making calls on my watch. And while the number pad is obviously quite small I found it relatively straightforward to make calls by dialling the numbers into the watch (see image on right). Alternatively by synching the contacts from phone you can make calls even more easily.
For the techno geek, the i'm Watch is pretty much the ideal gadget. It combines all the usual functionality of a hi-tech watch (date, time, calculator) with a whole load of other apps which you normally only find on a smart phone (email access, social media functions). Thanks to Bluetooth you can also connect external sensors and control their functions from your i'm Watch including pedometers, even heart-rate monitors if you so wish.