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Meet Android Wear's amazing smartwatch ancestors (video)

Think Android Wear is a new concept? Pah! Tech companies have been trying for decades to make wrist-worn computers a thing. CNET's mini-doc series Adventures in Tech reveals the craziest attempts at smartwatch success.

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For as long as there have been computers, humans have been trying to make tiny versions that fit on our wrists.

From early experiments from the likes of Seiko to IBM's Linux-powered WatchPad, the history books are littered with failed attempts at making the smartwatch the Next Big Thing.

In the latest episode of Adventures in Tech, we take a retro-infused look back at some of our favourite smartwatch experiments. When you're done, why not flick through the gallery below, where we've lovingly documented two Microsoft (yes, really!) smartwatches that appear in the video.

One smartwatch you'll see in the video was co-built by Microsoft and Timex. The Data Link had a truly unique (and rather bizarre) method of communicating with a PC, but ultimately failed to popularise wrist-worn computers. "Without a device like a smartphone to link to," tech expert Ben Wood of CCS Insight explains, "and the ubiquitous availability of a reliable data connection it was effectively an 'island'."

Android Wear -- Google's upcoming attempt at making a wrist-based version of its mobile operating system -- will be far from an island, and promises to be entwined with our smartphones, to present us with up-to-the-minute messages, updates and more. But Google has an uphill struggle ahead of it. If these retro timepieces prove anything, it's that building a smartwatch people actually want to use is no mean feat.

Will Android Wear succeed, or will its name be added to the list of failed smartwatch experiments? Press play now, then tell me your thoughts in the comments, on our Facebook wall, or let me know on Twitter.

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