Here is a new category of gadget that is gaining much traction lately, wearable computers. And within that segment if this on going Kickstarter project is any indication ‘smart watches’ are the latest cool kids in town. Unlike regular watches you wear to work daily these wearable computers are capable of not only displaying date/ time but also run and connect to the smartest mobile OSs available till date ie iOS and Android. Imagine your watch notifying you of incoming calls, text messages or even pinging you when a new Twitter or Facebook update is in queue. How awesome it would be to have all your favorite music albums on your watch and listen to them while on the go. Well, these are not just features in papers but available in market right now for you to get your hands on. In fact you will be amazed by the level of features some of these watches boast about.
These smart watches are powered by distilled version of Android OS and can run apps. Also they can communicate with Android smartphones and iOS devices via Bluetooth/ Wifi (depends) to push notifications on to it. The best part of these smart watches are that the manufactures do provide a SDK that lets developers develop cool watch faces, apps and other hacks enhancing the features to take it to the next level.
Now lets look at some of the real smart watches available in market right now ranging from few 100 bucks to 1000. Details after the break.
Pebble is a wearable smart watch that sports an electronic ink display with backlight that performs well even under bright light, Bluetooth 2.1 to connect to Android or iPhone and a decent battery that lasts up to a week. The watch runs on a customizable OS that includes watch faces that can be downloaded from their app store once its live. Pebble connects to iPhone and Android smartphones using Bluetooth, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages. Pebble also features Caller ID, Calendar Alerts, Facebook Messages, Twitter, Weather Alerts, Silent vibrating alarm and timer. The third-party apps can be side loaded to Pebble via Bluetooth using an iPhone or Android devices running iOS 5/ Android OS 2.3 and up with support for Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) too.
The hardware specs mentioned on their Kickstarter page suggests a 144 x 168 pixel black and white e-paper display, ARM processor, vibrating motor, 3-axis accelerometer and 4 physical buttons on the watch sides. This is an ongoing Kickstarter project that has racked up more than $ 1.8 million at the time of drafting this post. Pebble is expected to retail at $150 once after the project gets funded and kicks off by end of 2012. Go ahead and pledge your support and have one for yourself for a much lower price. Watch the video below:
2. WIMM One
Photo Courtesy: The Verge
WIMM One by WIMM Labs is a power packed smart watch running Android OS. WIMM One specs includes a 1.4 inch backlit capacitive touch screen (160 x 160) with a size of 32×36×12.5mm, Bluetooth, WiFi, Accelerometer, Magnetometer along with Tactile alerts. WIMM One weighs just 22g and is splash resistant. This smart watch comes pre loaded with many watch faces and micro apps like calendar, weather, world clock etc. The WIMM developer community also provides variety of apps to play with. To get started you can pair WIMM One to your Android smart phone to get notified about calls and text messages. Enable Wi-Fi on WIMM One to use it as a Wi-Fi enabled computer with Android-based apps available on it to access information on the go.
Unlike other smart watches WIMM One provides a 14-pin water-resistant connector with which you can charge the watch no matter in what weather condition. WIMM One is available as developer kit and it costs $199.
3. I’m Watch
This is the most feature rich and the most costlier smartwatch running on Android till date. I’m watch is an aluminium body watch with Silicone strap that sports a 1.54” (diagonal) colour TFT display (240×240 pixel resolution) powered by IMX233 CPU, 4GB flash memory and 128MB RAM that can connect to your Android or iPhone to push notifications, Inbound calls, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, weather forecast etc. to this watch. I’m watch also includes unique features like built-in speakers to attend calls, microphone, 3.5 mm audio jack, Magnetometer and Accelerometer. The Built-in rechargeable Li-Po 450 mA battery can be charged using USB cable and can last upto up to 48 hours with Bluetooth on. Also the internet tethering option available via Bluetooth can be made use of it the mobile OS supports that feature.
I’m watch is available in different color shades and model that differs in features. The price tag starts from $469 for basic 128 MB version and goes way up to $2299. An expensive wearable computer for sure.
Sony Smartwatch is a tiny little Android computer that is made of aluminum and high polished plastics. It features a 1.3” OLED touchscreen display (128 x 128 pixels) with a 20mm silicon watch band that goes around your wrist. Sony Smartwatch is .03 inches thick, dust resistant and also water-resistant. It works similar to all of the aforementioned watches but connects to Android only for time being. With Sony Smartwatch by making use of Bluetooth 3.0 technology you can read all your latest text messages, emails or Facebook and Twitter updates from your smart phone. Once connected Sony Smartwatch can also control music on an Android phone. These are just few examples and there more than 60 apps available in Google Play store that is compatible with this Smartwatch now.
This watch can be charged via USB cable. Sony provides an app with which you can update Smartwatch OS and install watch apps. Also other than the basic black strap they also provide 5 other wristband colors sold separately namely pink, mint, grey, white and blue. Sony Smartwatch is retailing at $149.