2014 Will Be the Year You Actually Want a Smart Watch

A model displays the new Samsung Galaxy Gear after a presentation in Berlin, Germany.

A model displays the new Samsung Galaxy Gear after a presentation in Berlin, Germany. Gero Breloer/AP

Apple and Google are expected to introduce models, joining Samsung and Sony.

2014 will probably be the year of the smart watch. Apple is expected to unveil one, which might do better than the disappointments from Samsung and Sony. Google will come out with one too (paywall), reports the Wall Street Journal. It could be unlike any other on the market, with a unique two-mode display that is both reflective like e-paper and backlit like an LCD display. Google’s watch may function essentially as a one-inch (2.5 cm) square computer that could be used in a number of settings, not just on your wrist.

Meanwhile, in the health, fitness and life-tracking arena, popular wristbands like the Fitbit, Jawbone’s Up and the Nike Fuelband will be joined by an avalanche of competitors. One of the most interesting is the Basis fitness tracker, which adds so many sensors that it can track heart rate and caloric consumption as well as general activity.

At the same time, the makers of the pioneering Pebble smartwatch have demonstrated something interesting: It’s possible to turn a device widely dismissed as a dud at launch into one that more and more reviewers are finding genuinely useful merely by dint of software upgrades. One big improvement involves the notifications system built into Apple’s iOS 7. Using this system as a common language, any app on an iPhone can now push data—text or graphics—to the Pebble, as well as gather information from the Pebble’s sensors. The result is a plethora of new applications for Pebble, from remembering where you parked your Mercedes to alerting you minutes before it’s going to rain wherever you’re standing.

Read the full story at Quartz.