The Best Smartwatch in the market [A comparative analysis]

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Smartwatches are just beginning to receive mainstream attention as the “next best thing”. Emerging wearable technology market has proven to developers and manufacturers that consumers are scaling to make data creation and consumption even more convenient than it actually is. The Pebble still being a small company saw a massive success on Kickstarter and managed to sell 400k watches in 2013, thereby establishing themselves in the market where other players like Samsung and Sony have also jumped into the ring with their own take on smartwatches along with Motorola, LG, while companies like Apple, Google (with Android Wear) and Microsoft are rumoured to be on their way.

Though on seller front every smartwatch manufacturer wants to sell you one to create a new product category and make more money – but the question arises why would a normal person buy one? Now before this question is dealt with further ahead along with providing you with the best option available in the market currently for this genre of wearable technology, let’s begin with an obvious and more basic query – What is a smartwatch?

Well, a smartwatch is a wearable computing device in the form of a computerized wristwatch. Early smartwatches, the first ones, like those in the IBM Watchpad category came into existence back in 2001, had limited functionality and were able to perform elementary calculations and basic data storage and retrieval. Modern devices typically possess enhanced data processing functionality similar to a smartphone or tablet and are able to run mobile apps.

What Pebble managed to do is create an ecosystem for it’s product outside the purview of Google. Since an SDK is also provided, app developers are coming up with more innovative uses for Pebble but by standardizing and enhancing the framework and hardware API platforms in addition to it’s integrated and widely used Play ecosystem and Cloud apps, Google now has the power of transforming the watch industry the way it did for the mass market cell phones.

The real power of most modern smartwatches lies in their accelerometers and sensors, connecting to the smartphones over Bluetooth and NFC for some. The ‘killer apps’ for a smartwatch currently seem to be notifications.

Hence, considering all the above if you’re currently interested in a smartwatch, you’re probably a geek interested in fiddling around with new technology before they become mainstream with a market more mature. Few mentioned below are the best options people might be interested in, they are arranged in order of preference based on very basic parameters like, Price, Battery life, Compatibility, Look/Design, Functions and Ease of use:

Pebble and Pebble Steel: With a price of $150 Pebble took the market by storm by becoming the smartwatch most people had heard of. Pebble steel is the successor to the original Pebble costing $249 and running on PebbleOS, a modified Linux microkernel. With it’s power-saving epaper display it has a battery-life of 5-7 days which is the longest so far in this category. It works with both iPhones and Android phones. Pebble has a customizable clock face with a strong focus on notifications, including social media updates, when paired with smartphones through Bluetooth.

A new available Steel version – available in Brushed Stainless or Black Matte – is less geeky, sleeker and more stylish looking. Basically same internals as original Pebble, adding a more sophisticated steel case and band and an additional leather strap, with a tough Corning Gorilla Glass display, an LED to indicate charging status, unlike it’s predecessor with an acrylic surface attracting scratches.

MetaWatch: It comes with a great range of price from $129 – $199, so that you have that wearable tech on your wrists. There screen described to be a “reflective mirror screen” similar to “epaper display” making it easy to read at daylight. Without any LED to drain off the battery, it supports a long battery life running up to a week on one charge. It works on both iPhone and Android devices with higher versions having Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP).

Its look and design is a bigger attraction being designed by Vertu luxury phone designer Frank Nuovo with “Art of the Glance” design philosophy. It has a sleek black-and-white screen for receiving notifications.

The manufacturers have chosen to focus upon further refining basic functionality of their watches than cramming more half-baked features into the device like the rest of the industry.

Sony Smartwatch 2: Sony’s first take at the emerging smartwatch market though not something evolutionary but a true contender given the current state of smartwatch technology.

Coming at quite a reasonable price of $199, it has a “Transreflective” LCD screen with Android style interface with some Google Play apps adding some nice extra options, though it was noted as being a bit slow and lagging. The battery lasts anywhere between one to four days with heavy use while light users maybe able to stretch it on one charge for a week.

Its only seemingly most prominent drawback lies with it’s compatibility, as it works only with Android devices connecting through Bluetooth and can’t be used with an iPhone.

The ability to use it with any 24mm watch strap  making it fit into normal people’s lives, and not the other way around is it’s most appreciable feature.

Samsung Galaxy Gear: It’s not been the hit accessory Samsung expected it to be, yet Galaxy Gear remains Samsung’s flagship attempt at the smartwatch market.

It comes a bit heavy on the wallet with a cost of $299, has a little large side due to the AMOLED/LCD, which consumes more power giving it a battery life of one day. The hardware is more capable but you pay for it with less battery life. It also doesn’t have a dedicated developer community that Pebble has.

Connecting through NFC and Bluetooth it currently works only with Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

What it has that other brands lack is a 1.9MP camera situated on wrist-strap yet it doesn’t feel cumbersome when worn.

ShikharTechLabs : 2013 In Review!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dante’s Inferno : A Poetic Masterpiece [Review]

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“No Sadness is greater than in misery to rehearse memories of joy”

Dante’s Inferno was released in 2010 after the launch of the horror game by Visceral games – ‘Dead Space’. It was published by EA Games and developed by Visceral Games. It is a role playing game in the hack and slash genre, loaded with action & adventure. The  concept of the game was adapted from the 14th century epic poem Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The plot revolves around traveling nine circles of hell and facing your own dark past.

Story Line:

The story line of the game is based on a poem written by Dante Alighieri. Only a part of the poem was adapted for the game. The story revolves around the protagonist, Dante (a knight) during the times of the third Crusade. Dante is a crusader who loses his faith in God after having performed cruel deeds during the war.

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Dante’s Inferno : Greed.

Dante is ordered to take the holy relic. During the attack Dante is stabbed by an Assassin. Death approaches Dante but he defeats death and takes back his weapon Scythe. Dante leaves the crusade with a red holy cross shaped tapestry stitched to his chest which depicts every sin from his past. He returns back to Florence to find his love Beatrice and her father, but he learns that both of them were assassinated.

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Dante’s Inferno is an epic action adventure journey to behold.

The shadow of Lucifer (Satan) appears and takes Beatrice’s soul into darkness. Dante follows them and reaches the Chapel. He uses the holy cross to protect himself from evil. The earth cracks open due to this act of his and the gates of hell open up. He enters hell.

He goes through nine gates of hell:

  1. Limbo
  2. Lust
  3. Gluttony
  4. Greed
  5. Anger
  6. Heresy
  7. Violence
  8. Fraud
  9. Treachery

When Dante reaches treachery he meets Beatrice. Angel Gabriel appears and takes Beatrice’s soul to heaven . Dante continues his journey for Lucifer and finally encounters him. Lucifer then reveals that he used Beatrice as a bait because he knew that Dante would follow her through the realms of hell and end up freeing Lucifer.

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Dante’s Inferno : Violence

After a fierce battle he defeats Lucifer before being taken to Purgatory by an angel. Dante then meets the soul of Beatrice who is waiting for him in Heaven.

Game Play:

This is a hack and slash game by all means. There are two major weapons for Dante – the holy cross and the scythe. More combos can be gained by filling souls in the weapons. At the initial level both weapons are same. It depends upon the player which one he/she wants to upgrade : holy or unholy. The game is full of puzzles and lybrinth of the hell. Mini game of purifying the damned souls also takes place wherein sins can be burned by pressing appropriate keys after which they are sent to heaven.

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Dante’s Inferno : Limbo

ESRB Rating:

Rated “M” for blood and gore, intense violence and  sexual content .

Game Information:

Developers : Visceral Games

Publishers : Electronic Arts

Platforms : PS3, XBOX360 and PSP

Genre : Action and adventure

Mode : Role Playing Game

Ratings by other top game websites :

Game Informer: 7/10

IGN : 7.5/10

Destructoid : 9/10

Gamespot : 6.5/10