If you run a small business, you need to know more than the time, so why settle for a regular old wristwatch? Modern smartwatches put the information you need to know right on your wrist. By linking your smartwatch to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can ensure all of your notifications are just one glance away. That way, you'll never risk overlooking an important email, text message, missed call or calendar notification. Some models offer even more-advanced features, letting you make phone calls or perform a Google search right from your watch. And more manufacturers are adopting sleek, professional-looking designs that you'll be proud to show off in your next business meeting.
Read on for the five great new smartwatches that business users should look for in 2014.
Pebble Steel (iPhone, Android and Windows Phone)
The Pebble smartwatch got a big head start on the competition when it launched in early 2013. One year later, Pebble has made huge strides in usability and app support, and earlier this month the company announced its smartwatch was getting a visual makeover. Watches in the new Pebble Steel lineup each feature a metal face and a metal or leather band, giving the device a more professional appearance, especially compared to its plastic predecessor.Pebble continues to stand out among dozens of smartwatch challengers this year, thanks to its weeklong battery life, easy-to-read e-ink display and a growing lineup of apps, including smartphone standbys such as Foursquare and Yelp. The Pebble Steel comes in several variations and costs $249.
Meta smartwatch (iPhone and Android)
The refreshed Meta smartwatch also prioritizes style. Created by ex-Fossil designers, the upcoming wearable device is set to launch in a range of fashionable metal and leather versions. The watch features a sharp e-display and large pivot points on either side of the face for a more comfortable fit. The Meta's "smart" functionality, meanwhile, is focused on pushing notifications to your wrist so they're easy to see at a glance. The watch also provides other onscreen information such as the date and current weather. Metawatch hasn't yet announced an exact release date or pricing details, but the developer says its new smartwatch will hit stores in April, with a price point between $149 and $199.
Martian Notifier (iPhone and Android)
The Martian Notifier sports a classic analog design that's a bit more sophisticated than many competing devices, which instead use digital LCD and e-ink displays. The difference between the Notifier and a standard wristwatch is a small OLED display on its face, which shares notifications that the watch grabs from your smartphone. The Notifier even offers a scrolling preview of emails and text messages right on your wrist. You can also set up varied vibration alerts using a desktop app so you'll know whether you received a new calendar notification, text message or missed call without even looking at your watch. The Martian Notifier is set to debut later this spring at a low $129, making it a good pick for business users who want smartwatch functionality for a budget price.
Cogito Smartwatch (iPhone and Android)
The Cogito Smartwatch is as simple as a smartwatch could be. Like the Martian Notifier, the Cogito has an attractive analog watch face. But in lieu of a digital display, the Cogito features six small icons lit up by small LEDs to notify you of an incoming or missed call, low smartphone battery, calendar events, alarms, email or text messages. Best of all, it's powered by a standard watch battery that lasts up to a year; compare that to app-driven smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear, which need to be recharged every night. The Cogito is available now and comes in two versions: the colorful Cogito Pop retails for $129, and the more professional-looking Cogito Original costs $179.
Neptune Pine (Android)
Among smartwatches, the Neptune Pine is absolutely massive. Its sprawling, 2.4-inch display dwarfs almost anything you've ever called a "watch." That's because the Pine is actually more like a compact Android smartphone that you strap to your wrist than it is a true smartwatch. And it packs all the features you've come to expect in a smartphone: a sharp touch screen, a dual-core processor, 32GB of internal storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular calls and support for a large variety of apps. That means the Pine has nearly the same productivity-boosting potential as any other Android phone. It's a bit large, but hey — didn't people say the same thing about 6-inch smartphones? Become an early adopter of the first true wrist-ready phone by pre-ordering the Pine today for $335.