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Most analog and digital watches can only tell time and sometimes the date. A smart watch, on the other hand, can do much more. Timekeeping is only one of the many features of this wearable device. These watches have dedicated operating systems and run mobile apps that give them a growing selection of capabilities.

What Can A Smart Watch Do?
This type of watch differs from a regular one in so many ways. For example, while the latter has crystal covering its face, the former usually has a touch screen display. Similarly, the tiny computers inside have replaced the winding mechanism of analog watches and the core electronics of digital watches. They not only have a graphical display and a rechargeable battery, but also a processor, a storage device and any number of sensors. Like smartphones, these devices also have RAM and support wireless technologies like Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi.

This hardware makes them powerful enough to run mobile apps, allowing them to double as any number of devices such as calculators, media players and even cell phones. Paired to a smartphone, many can display SMS messages, emails, calendar events, to-do lists and app notifications. When equipped with a GSM, 3G or 4G LTE radio and a SIM card slot, they can just as easily place and receive calls as smartphones.

The Many Types Available
The wearable tech market includes a wide variety of devices from multiple brands. These range from fitness bands that do a lot more than simply count steps and measure heart rates to dedicated watches with hardware to rival some smartphones. The most popular models run the following mobile operating systems: Pebble OS, WatchOS, Android Wear and Tizen.

On one hand, there are a growing number of devices made by legacy watch brands like Tag Heuer, Seiko and Timex. These usually resemble regular watches even though they have additional features. However, the most popular smart watches are from established manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Asus and Motorola. The third group of wearable devices is from startups like Pebble and Withings as well as fitness band brands like Garmin and Fitbit.

Picking the Right Smart Watch
There are many factors to consider when looking for the right one for your needs. The most important one is the wearer's smartphone. While people who use iPhones can buy models running Android Wear and Pebble OS, they will get the best experience from Apple's version running WatchOS. Similarly, Android versions integrate best with Android phones.

Other considerations besides the mobile operating system include available apps, battery life and how the wearer plans to use the watch. Android Wear and WatchOS have more apps than any other platform. However, Pebble OS watches enjoy the longest battery lives thanks to their power-sipping E-paper displays. Those who want to wear their watches to the gym and while jogging need sports watches or ones with silicone rubber bands. For a smartphone user who only needs call and message notifications sent to his device, a fit watch will often do.