The First Smartwatch Was Released in 1977 and Cost $695

Forgemind ArchiMedia via Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Forgemind ArchiMedia via Flickr // CC BY 2.0 / Forgemind ArchiMedia via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Once people finally get around to wearing smartwatches around their wrists without shame, we’ll know the future has arrived. But before that was the goal of every tech company out there, Hewlett-Packard released their own piece of wearable tech in the 1970s. 

The HP-01 debuted in 1977 as what was arguably the first “true” smartwatch ever sold. Of course, it didn’t come with such fancy features as a color screen or 4G connectivity, but at the time it was considered a technical marvel. Hewlett-Packard advertised the product as "a digital electronic wristwatch, a personal calculator, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a timer, a 200 year calendar ... and yet it is more than all of these.” The watch's most impressive feature was its ability to store and recall information, allowing it to function like an agenda. One ad mentioned an “arranged call to your wife” with the phone number displayed on the LCD interface. Even with no cell phones around for the watch to connect to, the foreshadowing was uncanny.

Instead of a touch screen, the wearers had to type out their calculations on a 28 button keyboard, with some keys so small that they required the use of a stylus tucked away inside the band. As you may have guessed, the HP-01 never ended up leading the wearable tech revolution. It was discontinued in 1979, perhaps due in part to its $695 price tag. Old school tech geeks can keep an eye out for original models on eBay, though sadly it doesn't look like they've gotten any cheaper.

[h/t: Hodinkee]