Gpa’s Next Big Decision


Is it a fad? Is it just for kids or grown ups too? Does he really need one? Is it something he can live without? What with his desktop computer, laptop, iPad and cell phone, does Geoff Nate really need a smartwatch? Hummmm???


Dick Tracy’s godfather, Chester Gould.

What’s so new about smart watches? The smart watch idea has been around for eighty years. It dates back to the Dick Tracy comic strip. Its creator, Chester Gould, came up with the idea in 1937. He called it a “Wrist Radio.” One of the comic strip characters was a millionaire named “Diet Smith” who claimed to have invented it along with a host of other gadgets. Actually the strip revealed that it was invented by a blind boy named “Brilliant.”

“Dick Tracy” featured a wonderful potpourri of characters such as “Prune Face,” “Flat Top,” “Mumbles” “Breathless Mahoney,” “Tess Trueheart,” “Big Boy Caprice,” “Detective Sam Catchem,” “Gruesome,” “Miss Egghead,” “B.O. Plenty” and more. Some of these characters were included in the 15-minute NBC radio drama I listened to after school on weekdays.



And of course: “Oily,” “Pearshape,” “Lips Manus,” “Doc Hump,” “The Blank,” “Itchy,” “Coffee Head,” “Little Face,” “Christmas Early,” and others.

Dick Tracy later reappeared for a couple of years on ABC Television in the early 1950s. Warren Beatty recreated the character in his movie released in 1990. Beatty himself played the lead character. Madonna played “Breathless Mahoney,” Dustin Hoffman played “Mumbles,” and Dick Van Dyke was “District Attorney Fletcher.” His wonderful cast of Hollywood character actors included Paul Sorvino, James Caan, Mandy Patinkin and Kathy Bates to name a few.

Be our guests: Enjoy the film’s action-packed preview.

(Note: You can stream the entire movie on the internet for $2.99, or watch it online in Hungarian at no charge on Dailymotion.)

app-650The smartwatch would actually be an extension of my cell phone. It would come loaded with apps, and hundreds more are available if I’m willing to pay for them. In addition to the basics, you can dictate and receive text messages. It takes voice commands (Siri or OK Google), and you can listen to music. It contains a calendar which includes the ability to set reminders, and you can call for a ride (Uber or Lyft). One can prepare shopping lists, and it can be used as a stopwatch. You can Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, and they say you can watch a video on some smartwatches, or better yet Chromecast it to your TV.


Smile, you’re on Apple’s camera.

One company has developed a watch band with a built-in camera specifically designed for an Apple Watch, and they say that “FaceTime” is just around the corner. There are a hundred more applications and some that haven’t yet been invented. And with all of those extras you can even tell time. How about that?


Decisions, decisions, decisions…

There are many makes and models to choose from. In addition to Apple and Samsung there are companies such as Asus, Withings, LG, Fossil, Huawai and Pebble in the smartwatch business. There’s even one manufacturer named Nixon. They say there are over 200 more. All appear to utilize either the Apple IOS or Google Android platforms. (Note: The Apple Watch only works with the iPhone. A Samsung watch will work with either an Apple or Android phone.) As one would expect, most of these smartwatches are Chinese made.


Techie grandson

Before publishing this Blog I ran it by my gadget guru grandson, Nico, a wise move. I gifted him with a smart watch for his birthday last March. Thanks Nico.

As for my personal smartwatch decision: It’s probably just a matter of time… no pun intended.