The Apple Watch and Wear (formerly Android Wear) models prompted more consumers to appreciate the usefulness of wearing a mini computer on their wrists. In addition, specialty smartwatches for outdoor activities often supplement other, bulkier devices in an adventurer’s tool kit.
While digital watches have been around for decades—some with abilities like calculators and unit converters—only in the 2010s did tech companies begin releasing watches with smartphone-like abilities.
Apple, Samsung, Sony, and other major players offer smartwatches on the consumer market, but a small startup actually deserves credit for popularizing the modern-day smartwatch. When Pebble announced its first smartwatch in 2013, it raised a record amount of funding on Kickstarter and went on to sell more than one million units.