It’s not long ago that smart watches came onto the scene.

Wearable computing technology is introducing a new era in which smaller and smaller  intelligent devices are making communications and apps even more personal. Smart watches are the latest hot innovation in this trend.

In addition to changing the way people view and use their wrist watches, smart watches and watch phones promise a whole lot more convenience than a phone.

Nevertheless, the best smart watches today are still basically extensions of your smartphone. So if you are looking to get one, you really should choose your smartphone first.

Currently there are a lot of companies fighting for the pole position on your wrist, ranging from large corporations like Samsung, LG and Apple to upstarts like Martian and Pebble. Even though they all make unique devices, the primary function of the devices remains a smartphone companion.

This means smart watches serve as an extension of your phone, mainly for conveying texts, calls, social updates and emails so that you can decide whether it’s worth taking out your phone to respond. Or just blow them off.

Beware Manufacturer Lock-In

Many of the new smart watches, especially those made by phone companies, are designed to only work with the company’s operating system of choice.  They are therefore mainly supportive of either Android or iOS.  Some of these touch watches are locked to a specific brand of smartphones.  There are however a number of freelance companies and upstarts that make them compatible with all android devices, but not iOS, and vice versa.  The windows phone platform is the least supported of the major operating systems.

If you are shopping for a smart watch, you need to confirm the device’s compatibility beforehand so that you can fully enjoy the experience.  Android being the dominant smartphone operating system has the most number of supported touch watches ranging from the popular Samsung Gear to the recently released Moto 360.

For Android Users

For owners of Android smartphones, there are many popular smart watches to choose from including the LG G Watch, the Neptune Pine, the Geak Watch Phone, the Qualcomm Toq and the Sony SmartWatch 2.  Most of these devices work with Android phones running version 4.3 upwards.

Sony smart watch

For Apple Fans

iPhone owners can bank on the recently released Apple Watch for iOS 5+ devices, due in early 2015. There are, however, other wearable devices that work with iOS including Eco-Drive Proximity, Hot SmartWatch, Vachem, TrueSmart, Sonostar, Pebble Steel, Martian and MetaWatch.

For the Uncommitted

If you’re on the fence or have both Android and iOS phones in your home, you can rest easy knowing there are some smart watches that support both platforms. These include the Kreyos Meteor, Cookoo, Martian, MetaWatch, Pebble Steel, Vachem, and Truesmart.

For Windows Phones

Sorry, Microsofties, right now your choices are limited. Only the Agent wearable currently works with the Windows Phone.

Check Your Phone’s OS Version, Too

One other important factor that requires picking your next smartphone before considering an accompanying wearable is the OS version. Since most of these platforms get updated from time to time, your smart watch pick should be compatible with the version in your phone. This is especially important for Android phones since they use the most fragmented operating system.

Smart watches are already very capable devices, with support for lots of apps along with other smartphone-like features. In time, they are expected to become high-tech timepieces that can work as standalone phones. In the meantime however, make sure you only buy a smart watch after confirming that it will works with your smartphone.

About John F.

I'm a career web developer/consultant by day and a tech blogger by night. I just moved to Colorado Springs, CO where I work for a high-tech government contractor.

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