Suddenly, the buzzword in the tech industry seems to be “smartwatches”, and we think the only reason for this is the series of speculations and rumours surfacing about the iWatch by Apple. This reminds us of the pre-iPad launch period, when rumours about the Apple tablet were rife and all of a sudden, several renowned manufacturers also started prepping their own version of tablets. Today, tablets are arguably the most celebrated mobile computing devices. However, this isn't the same for smartwatches. Moreover, we already have a few smartwatches in the market, which makes us wonder what new or different Apple plans to do. We don't know how long we would have to wait for the iWatch, but here are a few smartwatches already available in the market.
A perfect blend of tech and style
Explicitly named I’m Watch, this smartwatch lets you combine superior tech specs with style. It is available in aluminium, titanium and elegant gold/silver options, and straps in different colours to go along with it. Whether you are an iOS or Android user, this smartwatch connects with both to let you use functions like call, SMS, emails and so on. It runs on a customised Android version dubbed I’m Droid and is compatible with smartphones running on Android 4.0 or above as well as iOS 4.0 or above. The device has a 1.54-inch display with 240 x 240 resolution (220 ppi) and brings access to a slew of apps from its I’m Market store. On connecting it via Bluetooth, the watch will allow you to access your phone functions from the watch instead of pulling out the smartphone from your bag. It has a rechargeable battery; the generic usage time is about 5 hours while the standby time is up to 24 hours. One can use its 4GB of internal memory to stock up apps along with the "I'm Cloud" cloud service that the watch supports. The I’m watch is currently being sold for Rs 17,990 as a promotional offer until early next month, after which the price is expected to shoot up to Rs 24,990.
I'm Watch is a blend of style and tech
Sony’s Smartwatch for Android smartphones
Sony already has its Smartwatch on store shelves, which is not limited to use only with Sony smartphones. The Sony Smartwatch – yes, that’s its name too – is compatible with most Android phones from other manufacturers too. The square smooth aluminium body can be paired with straps in multiple colour choice. Using the smartwatch, you can read your messages, social updates from Facebook and Twitter, calendar updates and other notifications from your Android device. Android users have to follow three simple steps to get started with the Sony Smartwatch. You need to download the Liveware manager, connect the watch to the phone via Bluetooth and then download the Smartwatch app. Furthermore, users will be able to use several other apps available on Google Play – by downloading them from within the Smartwatch app or Live manager. All this can be displayed on its 1.3-inch OLED display. Moreover, you can also accept, reject or mute calls from the watch. The smartphone battery will squeeze through a day with heavy usage and 3-4 days on light usage. The Sony Smartwatch is available through online retailers for a price tag of around Rs 7,800.
Smart watch from Sony
Affordable and non-branded
Chinese device makers never cease to surprise or disappoint us. Owing to the hoard of cheaper clones and lookalikes these markets churn out, we have a handful of affordable smartwatches in the market too. One such device is the Watch Mobile Q8 selling for Rs 4,999, a standalone smartwatch that you don't have to connect to any smartphone. This GSM smartwatch supports dual SIM and features a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, 1.2-inch display, FM Radio and support for MP3, MP4. We also came across the XElectron M998 watch cum mobile phone, a standalone smartwatch priced at Rs 3,999. Sporting a 1.3-inch touchscreen display with 640 x 480 resolution, it comes with a meagre in-built memory of 45KB and the expandable memory via microSD card is also limited to 4GB. Its 450 mAh battery allows 2-3 hours of talktime and 2-3 days of standby time. A similar product is the Multimedia watch cum mobile.
Making it affordable
A trendy and successful Kickstarter project
This successful Kickstarter campaign managed to attract several investors and is seemingly going down well with consumers as well. The Pebble is a stylish looking smartwatch that is compatible with devices running Android (v4.0 and above) and iOS (5.0 and above). It's not a standalone smartphone, sadly, but we don't think people are even ready to compromise the superior features of a smartphone or a large screen display for extreme portability. Nevertheless, the Pebble still makes heads turns with its cool looks and set of features. The smartwatch connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth and displays incoming calls, emails, SMS, iMessage for iOS devices, calendar and weather alerts, Facebook and Twitter messages and so on. The Pebble smartwatch is currently available for pre-order for approximately Rs 7500 (excluding shipping charges).
The successful Kickstarter campaign
With an athletic streak
Motorola also has its smartwatch targeting fitness and sports freaks. The company has limited it as a fitness tracker and smart MP3 player. Now, we know there are several other sports watches which use sensor-based technology to track your exercise and sports routine. However, this smartwatch is Wi-Fi enabled to sync with Motorola MotoActv portal and also connects to Motorola smartphones using the MotoActv app. It uses the Accusense technology along with GPS to track your workout data like time, distance, speed, calories burned and heart rate; it also monitors your performance while you engage in different sports activities. Available in 8GB and 16GB options, it has a 1.6-inch display with a scratchproof Gorilla glass. The 8GB model is available online for Rs 14,999.
The sporty one
Besides, there’s the Neptune Pine, a standalone smartwatch with a 2.5-inch display and a 1GHz single-core ARM Cortex A9 processor. It has a decent spec sheet with support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G and 5MP camera. Another company offering smartwatch is Meta Watch, which was previously a division of Fossil. It is prepping up the Metawatch smartwatch, which compatible with iOS and Android.
A standalone, feature-loaded smartwatch
Even Samsung has confirmed that it is working on a smartwatch, not surprising us by an inkling. However, it hasn't divulged any information about the features, launch time or price. Meanwhile, a team of 100 members is working on the Apple iWatch. This means, very soon there will be a slew of smartwatches from every nook and corner of the tech stream, and lets not forget the cheaper Chinese markets. Do you believe smartwatches are the next hot trend in technology?