Before the Timex teamed up with Qualcomm to create the GPS One+, there was the Timex Datalink.
Back in the 1990s, personal digital assistants or PDAs were all the rage. People were blown away by this handheld technology, which combined computer functions with telephone and fax capabilities. It was a technological revolution and everyone on the cutting edge had to have one.
A new day, a new game
At the time, Microsoft was dominating on the computer scene. Timex was bathing in the success of the Timex Ironman, the biggest-selling post-mechanical sports watch and was then (and still is) a time-keeping icon. The two giants in their respective fields put their heads together and the Datalink was born.
The Design of the Timex Datalink
When Timex introduced the Ironman in 1986, it was exactly what serious athletes needed to track their performance. The Timex Ironman was a tough, efficient and high-performance wrist piece. There was nothing else quite as meticulously accurate on the sports market at the time. It was worn by athletes, soldiers, astronauts and law-enforcement staff who needed a tough, workhorse-type of watch.
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Despite the sophisticated technology, Timex opted to keep the rugged design for which the brand was known. The Datalink wrist pieces were, by definition, tough, solid timepieces that could take a beating. They looked the part too. Proudly bearing the Microsoft logo. The Datalink frames were bold and bulky, with the first models featuring a resin strap. After all, it was still a sports watch.
How does the Timex Datalink work?
When the Datalink hit the market in 1994, it created quite the stir in the tech community. Here was a device that looked and behaved like a regular sports watch, but could somehow transfer information to and from a computer. The Datalink was intended to compete directly with PDAs, but it performed a lot more like the smartwatches we see on the market today.
When the Datalink was releases, there were a few watches with keyboards that allowed users to input data manually, so watches with storage capacity weren’t new. What set this tech apart was its wireless capability. Through the magic of optical sensors and horizontal bars of light, information was passed and synchronised between computer and watch instantaneously (only possible on the Windows 95 and 98 operating systems). The first models (50, 70 and 150) featured the little bulb in the 12 o'clock position.
In 2003, a new model was introduced with a USB storage device to synchronise information instead of holding it up to the computer screen. Various applications were available from independent software developers, along with upgrades from Timex to make the watch even more efficient.
The Timex Datalink today
Every tech expert or timepiece enthusiast knows something about the Datalink. As the first real smartwatch, its independent connectivity set the standard for wireless technology and synchronisation between devices. The Datalink has been seen on the wrists of presidents and astronauts.
Timex has joined the 21st Century smartwatch trend with the release of the GPS One+, which was developed with innovative wireless technology leader Qualcomm. The tech community is buzzing with the advances Qualcomm has made in display and battery conservation. They’ve even released their own smartwatch called the Qualcomm Toq, a veritable contender standing shoulder-to-shoulder with products from tech giants like Samsung and Sony.
Timex, with its history of hitching their wagon to the best new things in software development, teamed up with Qualcomm to create a smartwatch that – unlike its competitors – is fully operational even when away from the corresponding smartphone. In the same way that the Datalink broke barriers and rocked worlds, the GPS One+ represents a new wave in smartwatch technology.