How Does A Smartwatch Work? — A Complete Guide

Although a fairly recent technology, a smartwatch isn’t an unfamiliar device in our world today. The question, though, is how many people know how it works? If you’ve ever wondered “how does a smartwatch work?” then you’re at the right place. We’ve got a full load of answers for you.

Hitting the ground running, let’s first find out what exactly a smartwatch is.

What Is A Smartwatch?

A smartwatch is a new-age gadget. It is used to keep time and interact with your apps without the use of your smartphone. In addition to this, it can also help keep track of your vital signs like your heart rate. It is also used to monitor sleeping habits and the quality of sleep one gets.

A smartwatch works in sync with smartphones, which is how it is designed to function. It helps to make life and living more convenient, while simultaneously altering our lifestyles as well.

With the advancements in technology, more people are beginning to appreciate the benefit that smartwatches give them. It literally feels like wearing mini computers on their hands. Plus, for those that love outdoor activities, smartwatches are steadily displacing bulkier devices in the adventurer’s kit.

There are so many smart devices in use in the world now. Of course, this is an all-important feature for any device that’s going to meet the expectations of customers. Devices that aren’t smart are considered old school, as they are rather slow and lack so many features and functions.

It is important that you should know how to pair your smartwatch with your smartphone. That is the only way you can reap the full benefits it has to offer.

Almost everybody has a smartphone. Or at least, everybody who can read this has a smartphone. Smartphones have made life much easier and, in fact, it’s hard to imagine a day in life without them.

Smartphones keep us in the loop by helping us stay on top of the various aspects of our lives. We get texts, calls, emails, and surf the web on our smartphones. Interestingly, a smartwatch can make these functions even more convenient.

How does a smartwatch function?

Typically, a smartwatch functions with an operating system. The operating system can either be Apple’s iOS or a Google’s Android Operating System. The market is full of smartwatches that work on each of these platforms.

Worthy of note is the fact that, until recently, Google did not make wearable hardware. It simply created the OS for other companies to build their hardware. However, the company plans to release its Google Pixel Smartwatch soon.

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Now, while all this is wonderful, we are yet to answer the question, “how does a smartwatch work?” Well, keep reading because we answer that next.

How Does A Smartwatch Work – What Are Its Functions?

The following are the things that a smartwatch can be used for:

1. Receive your notifications

2. Feature many helpful Apps

3. Manage media

4. Reply message by voice

5. Operate GPS

Let us now look at these functions in detail

1. Receive Your Notifications

Smartwatches give notifications that help you keep track of your important activities and events. The tones of these notifications vary according to what you are being notified about.

There are notifications that come from the smartwatches themselves based on the in-built functions they have. There are also notifications that come from your phone.

For smartwatches that are synced with a smartphone, it will mirror the smartphone in terms of the notifications it displays. For other smartwatches, they might only show smartwatch-only notifications, that is, notifications that only a wearable device can provide.

For instance, we have the latest Apple Watch. This smartwatch comes with a fall sensor, so if the wearer falls while still wearing the watch, it tries to detect subsequent movements. If it cannot detect any movement, it will begin sending a series of messages, each escalating in its tone. If it still fails to get a response, then the watch assumes the wearer is injured and alerts the authorities on their behalf.

2. Feature Many Helpful Apps

Another thing a smartwatch does is that it comes with many helpful apps. In truth, how good and useful it turns out to be is heavily dependent on the quality of apps it supports.

There are different app ecosystems that revolve around either Apple or Google.

If a smartwatch has one dedicated function, such as a diving watch or a hiking watch, it might not necessarily support other apps unrelated to its primary function. That’s only expected and understandable too.

General-purpose smartwatches, on the other hand, usually come with important apps depending on their OS.

3. Manage Media

For smartwatches that are synced to smartphones, they can also help to manage media playback. So, you can change tracks, reduce or increase volume with your smartwatch while listening to music on your iPhone with your AirPods.

4. Reply Messages By Voice

Since smartphones support voice dictation, you will be able to respond to your texts and emails by voice. This makes the sending of text messages and emails a lot more convenient.

5. Operate GPS

With most smartwatches, you get GPS which means you can easily track your location as well as receive location-specific alerts.

What Is The Battery Life Of A Smartwatch?

The battery life of smartwatches varies according to their make. While an Apple smartwatch can last up to 18 hours of regular use, a Pebble can give you between 48 to 72 hours. Most of the latest models have a pretty good battery life and can carry you through the day with regular use. They are made to serve the user for many hours without charge. This is because most of the activities it is needed for take place outdoors.

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How Did The Smartwatch Evolve?

The evolution of the smartwatch started in 2010 with such companies as Apple, Sony, and Samsung. But it was not so popular in the market. It was not until 2013 that a small startup company called Pebble popularized it. They are credited with the advanced features found in modern-day models.

Raising a record amount of funds on Kickstarter to finance the project, Pebble went on to sell more than a million units of its smartwatch. This brought a fundamental change in the way people are doing things.

While this went on, silicone miniaturization advanced more and more and that opened the door to other startups who came in with dedicated-purpose devices.

An example of this dedicated-purpose device is Fēnix. This rugged smartwatch comes fully equipped with trackers and sensors which support expeditions backcountry.

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Another example is the smartwatch by Suunto which is specifically made to support scuba diving, withstanding a prolonged time underwater and at significant depths.

Video: Why You Should Buy Smartwatch

See this video to find out all the reasons to get a smartwatch

How Many Categories Of Smartwatches Are There?

There are two main categories of smartwatches in the market. They are the general-purpose smartwatches and the specialty smartwatches.

General-purpose smartwatches blend function and form. They are designed to replace mechanical watches. They are heavily dependent on your smartphone to perform at an optimal level. They are like smartphone-support devices that are worn on the wrist.

The three most popular, vendor-specific, and general-purpose smartwatches in the market are:

1. The Apple watch. (Designed and sold by Apple).

2. Wear OS watches. (Sold by various vendors but built using the Wear OS operating system by Google).

3. Tizen watches. (Designed and sold by Samsung).

The second category is the specialty smartwatches category. These types are specially designed to help the user achieve a specific objective. An example of this type of smartwatch is Fitbit. It helps a fitness conscious person keep track of his/her fitness routine.

Another example of a specialty smartwatch is hiking watches. They support remote travel with their support of weather forecasting, basic vitals, GPS tracking and navigation, and great battery life. These devices are also durable, able to withstand exposure to water, dust, and accidental falls. Examples are the Suunto 9 Baro, Garmin fēnix 5 Plus, and the TomTom Adventurer.

Similarly, diving watches are another kind of specialized smartwatches. Examples are the SUUNTO DX and the Garmin Descent Mk1. They help divers keep track of temperature, time left, depth, as well as other important indicators.

Finally, we also have flying watches like the Garmin D2 Delta PX which keeps track of NEXRAD weather, pulse Ox, and also supports a GPS-powered moving map.

How Does a Smartwatch Work-Related FAQs

Do Smartwatches Need a Data Plan?

Smartwatches do not need a data plan of their own to work. They are smart devices that work in sync with smartphones. They are linked to your phone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, depending on the smartwatch you are using.

Consequently, because of artificial intelligence (A.I), they are able to make their reading of the body vitals or the condition of the environment around them without resorting to the use of a data plan. Their basic functions do not depend on data subscription. But the device they are connected to needs to have a data subscription. If not, some applications in the smartwatches will not function, just like some apps do not function without data on your smartphone.

How Do I Send an Emoji with My Smartwatch?

To send an emoji with your smartwatch, you need to draw the emoji yourself. The smartwatch will understand what you want to draw and bring up different options for you. Your watch is a smart device and therefore can make the drawing easy for you. You do not need to be an artist to do this.

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Let’s say a loved one sent you a love message and you wish to reply with an emoji. All you have to do is to draw a shape resembling a heart. The smartwatch will bring up different options of ‘heart’ emojis for you to choose from.

Similarly, if you want to send a smiley, just draw a face and various face emotions will pop up for you to choose from.

How Far Away Can My Smartwatch Be from My Phone and Still Be Connected?

The distance your smartwatch can be from your phone’s wireless Bluetooth and still be connected is 10 meters (30 feet). However, this is highly dependent on the environment.

The distance can be increased or decreased depending on where you are. If there are no physical obstructions like walls, the distance can increase to 12 to 13 meters (36 to 39 feet). On the other hand, if there are obstructions, the distance can reduce to 8 meters (24 feet).   

Furthermore, if the smartwatch is connected to your house Wi-Fi, the distance will then depend on the coverage area of the Wi-Fi.

Can I Leave My Phone at Home If I Have My Apple Watch with Me?

It is possible to leave your phone at home if you have your Apple watch with you and still be connected. The only condition is that you must be in an area with Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Therefore, as long as you have your Apple smartwatch connected to a Wi-Fi or cell, it does not matter where the phone is; they will be in communication. So, you can still make/receive calls, send/receive messages, stream music, check the weather, use your map and so many other things.

As a matter of fact, you can still use your Apple smartwatch even if your iPhone is turned off.

Can I Send a Text from My Smartwatch?

You can send text messages with your smartwatch. And doing it is not such a difficult or complicated thing. Smartwatches are equipped with a ‘speech-to-text’ function. What this means is that a speech can be converted to a text by your smartwatch.

Therefore, when you want to send a message with your smartwatch, this is what to do:

1.      Tap the screen of your smartwatch and swipe right to the Assistant screen.

2.      Tap on the microphone and say, “Send a message”. Mention the contact’s name as it appears in your phonebook or the phone number.

3.      Speak out the message you wish to send.

4.      After speaking, the watch will display the relayed message.

5.      Then tap send.

Does a Smartwatch Need a Sim Card to Work?

Most smartwatches do not need a sim card to work but a few do. Those that don’t need a sim card are designed to work in conjunction with a smartphone. They connect to the smartphone through Bluetooth or wi-fi. With that connection, the smartwatch can get an internet connection from the connected device.

However, those that do need a sim card are mostly smartwatches that are made for children. These types of smartwatches can be a stand-alone device, as against the smartphone-dependent smartwatches. But the downside is that the stand-alone smartwatches do not have as many functions as the dependent ones.  

Nevertheless, they are important if you want to be in communication with your child without exposing him/her to the risk of a phone’s full internet accessibility.

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