NEW Smart Watches Coming Soon
With more than a dozen new smart watches arriving soon from Apple, LG, Samsung, Google and others, 2014 really is shaping up to be the “year of the smart watch”.
The following smart watches will soon be available for purchase. Click a product to read its review.
Apple wowed the crowd on September 9th with their introduction of the new Apple Watch, “the most personal device Apple has ever created”.
Tim Scott waited until near the end of the event to reveal the device, calling it Apple’s 4th major innovation. It received by far the biggest applause, too.
We have to agree, the new Apple Watch is a truly special device – it clearly sets a new high bar for smart watches.
The Apple Watch will work with iPhone 6, of course, but it will also work with the existing iPhone 5, 5c and 5s. This means that when it starts shipping, there is an instant market of 200 million customers for the device.
One of the things that really stood out in their demo was how customizable and flexible the Apple Watch is. Not only in its wide range of digital watch faces and configurable apps, but also in terms of the choice of finishes and interchangeable watch bands available for it.
The Apple Watch was clearly designed to be both a really cool device and a highly customized fashion accessory.
With prices starting at $349, the Apple Watch will be available for sale in “early 2015″.
When released, there will be three different models for sale.
- Apple Watch has a sapphire screen, a stainless steel casing and a choice of metal or leather straps.
- Apple Watch Sport comes with an ion-x screen, anodized aluminum casing and a choice of colorful elastomer bands.
- Apple Watch Edition has a sapphire screen, 18k gold casing and a choice of high-end leather buckle bands.
Apple announced their new smart watch will come in two sizes – one for ladies and another for gentlemen. How nice.
Next-Generation User Interface
A major highlight of the
iWatch – sorry, Apple Watch – is the brand-new user interface. Apple’s UI isn’t just a shrunk-down version of the iPhone interface. It’s totally new.
Apple Watch uses a digital crown dial and a pressure-sensitive touchscreen sensor to completely re-think how you interact with a smart watch.
App and menu navigation is accomplished using a digital crown and a single side button. This keeps the screen visible while you interact with the device. For example, you can enlarge a map or scroll through the menu without losing the view. In addition, you can use the touch screen to swipe through alerts and apps.
The other UI innovation, the new pressure-sensitive touch sensor, is made of a mesh built into the touchscreen. It recognizes the difference between a tap and a press – and how hard you press.
The combination of these two new inputs opens up whole ways of interacting with a personal digital device. We have no doubt that some of the apps that take advantage of these inputs will feel much slicker than the Pebble, Samsung Tizen and Android Wear apps we’ve seen to date.
During the on-stage demos, the responsiveness of the Apple Watch UI was slick, quick and smooth.
On March 18, 2014, Motorola unveiled their new ‘Moto 360‘, a really nice looking smart watch with traditional round dial design.
The Moto 360 will go on sale sometime this summer (2014).
Simply put, the Moto 360 looks stunning. The 360 looks a lot like a popular concept that recently made its way through the internet.
It has a round dial face and replaceable watch bands. Materials include a metal housing and leather bands.
The watch will be available in two color choices, silver or gray
- The new Moto 360 Smart Watch
The Moto 360 will use a 1.5-inch backlit LCD display screen and come with voice-activation abilities.
The watch will run on the Android Wear and work with any Android 4.3+ mobile devices.
There is only one button on the side of the watch, made to look like the winder of a traditional watch.
According to Motorola, power management is a top priority. Apparently, they’ve learned from their previous experience with the Moto Actv and MotoX. There will be a special way to charge the device that likely doesn’t involve USB, as no charging point is visible on the device.
There is no camera, either.
Motorola states on its blog that the Moto 360 will accept voice and gesture commands, for example, to view notifications – just twist your wrist.
The Moto 360 supports all native Android Wear features including custom notifications, stacked cards and voice actions.
Notifications will scroll top-to-bottom.
The Moto 360 will tether with Android devices running 4.3 or better. This means the 360 will also support Bluetooth LE.
According to Motorola, the Moto 360 will be available “sometime this summer”.
At Google I/O 2014, the Moto 360 was on display in demo mode – and some of the early reviews say it’s a stunner.
Pricing will be around $249, if a recent Best Buy leak is any indication.
LG G Watch R
Earlier this year, when Google announced three watches based on their new Android Wear platform, the Moto 360 took the smart watch world (however large) by storm with its innovative round design. Everyone immediately appreciated how cool it would be to have a full-featured smart watch that appears to be a traditional, round-dialed watch.
Unfortunately, the Moto 360 wasn’t made immediately available like the other two announcements, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live (both available now). The latter two watches look almost identical and use the same chunky square design you see in all other leading smart watches today including the Pebble, Samsung Gear 2 and the Sony Smart watch 2.
Round is the new black.
Based on their unlisted teaser video, the new G Watch R appears to be a direct clone of the Moto 360. It’s sleek, very cool looking and now has a button on the side, which the original does not.
The new G Watch R will also sport a nice set of watch faces and health monitoring features including a cool looking pedometer function.
Given the extremely short time between the release of the original G and the new R design, it’s clear that LG has been working on both watches all along. Apparently, they understood the appeal of a round design but decided to introduce the G Watch to appease immediate demand and to get into the game.
On the one-year anniversary of their Kickstarter debut for the TrueSmart, Omate announced their second product release, the Omate X.
The Omate X is a smartphone companion watch that will be the firm’s next product. It will connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth and offer a premium metal look designed for standard 22mm watchbands. It will be a simple device that will work with Android and iOS devices.
Omate promises that the X will run for a week per charge and will deliver social networking updates, messages, reminders and other notifications.
Pre-orders for the X will begin on September 1. The Omate X will be priced at $129, competitive with the original Pebble.
Samsung Gear S
Samsung is launching their sixth wearable device, the Gear S (for “Solo”), at IFA Berlin 2014, in September. This would coincide nicely with the reported release of the Galaxy Note 4.
The Samsung Gear S will have its own USIM card, which means it does not need to be connected to a phone to make calls and send texts over 3G networks (rather than LTE).
The Gear S will be powered by Tizen, not Android Wear. This means it won’t have access to Google Now nor the Android Wear app superstore. On the other hand, using Tizen means battery life should be better.
Spec-wise, the Gear S sports a 2-inch AMOLED display, is IP67 waterproof, has a built-in heart rate monitor and pedometer, 512 MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory.
Battery life is the big question for the S, because cellular data saps much more power than a companion watch that relies on Bluetooth. This probably explains why Android Wear was out of the question, because Wear has a terrible reputation for energy consumption.
OKO ANDROID SmartWatch
The ANDROID SmartWatch (manufactured by Delray Beach, FL company OKO International) looks cool, in a chunky-retro sort of way.
At an expected price of $200, though, the ANDROID delivers a whole lot of features for the money (see video below).
- digital and analog displays
- digital tourbillon display option
- Bluetooth connectivity
- voice memos
- music control
- contact list
- voice and text communication
- a chiming minute repeater
- interval timing chronograph
- companion to both iPhone and Android smartphones
- Price: about $200
ASUS has confirmed that it is planning to release a series of wearable devices in 2014, starting with the ZenWatch, a smart watch with distinctive features.
According to statements made in January 2014 by the company’s chairman, Jonney Shih, ASUS will be releasing a smart watch soon with unique features. At a year-end party, Shih told reporters that the company will put its “entire design thought” into the development of a wearable device. “There are actually many challenges in this area, and I don’t think products that lack special features will be useful. We’ll try to replace your watch by all means,” said Shih. Shih also promised ASUS investors last year that the company will release multiple wearable tech devices at Computex 2014, scheduled for the middle of this year.
And now, the company confirmed with the release of a press teaser that the Zenwatch will be announced at IFA Berlin on September 3, 2014.
Reports are that the Zenwatch will be priced somewhere between $99 and $149 and will run Google’s Android Wear, just like the LG G Watch, G Watch R, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live.
According to Asustek’s CEO Jerry Shen, the Zenwatch will also provide unique voice control features and will not require a companion smartphone to function. That said, the Zenwatch is not expected to offer a complete set of 3G watch phone capabilities like Samsung’s new Gear S or the Neptune Pine, which can make and receive phone calls using onboard SIM chips.
The new Asus Zenwatch will be formally released at IFA this week, but reports say it won’t be available until several weeks later.
Microsoft Smart Watch
Microsoft has produced several devices in the past that might be considered smart watches, including 2004’s SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) project.
Rumors say that Microsoft is testing super-hard glass screen displays suitable for a smart watch, but no data yet on features.
In March of this year, Microsoft aquired IP-related patents for headsets and a watch-like device from the Osterhout Design Group.
Forbes reported in May, 2014, that the new wearable will be a “sensor-rich smartwatch that measures heart rate and synchs with iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phones”.
Intel Smart Watch
According to a report in The Verge, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says that Intel is developing its own Smart Watch.
Unlike the wildly popular Pebble and the much-aligned Samsung Gear, Intel’s device won’t need to be tethered to a smartphone to work – it will have its own connectivity (like the Geak, the Neptune Pine and and the InWatch).
The device will also offer geofencing which will provide location-sensitive alerts.
“Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren’t yet solving real problems and they aren’t yet integrated with our lifestyles,” said Krzanich in a statement. “We’re focused on addressing this engineering innovation challenge.”
Update: On Sept 8, Intel sent invitations out to some journalists promising the “first hint of what’s to come with Basis (an Intel company) as we introduce the ultimate fitness and sleep tracker this fall.”. They are expected to release the new Basis device on Sept 9th, the same day as Apple’s iWatch reveal.
Sonostar Smart Watch
The $180 Sonostar is in the same category of lightweight companion watches that includes the Pebble Smartwatch and Kreyos Meteor.
Like the Pebble, the Sonostar uses an E Ink display and works as a companion to most Android 2.3+ and iOS 6.0+ phones.
Unlike the Pebble, however, the Sonostar’s 1.73-inch display is significantly larger, is higher-resolution and is a touchscreen.
No word yet on whether Sonostar will release a software development kit that would open-up the platform to developers to build additional apps. Without a wide variety of third party apps, we fear the Sonostar might be relegated to a niche product for people who want a little more style than the Pebble but don’t care about adding new functionality.
Originally scheduled for sale “near the end of 2013″, first shipments of the Sonostar have been delayed into mid-2014.
- receive and read text alerts for inbound calls, Twitter/Facebook updates, SMS texts and emails
- incoming call alert/cancel
- music controller
- lost phone alert
- unique Sports apps
- available in black or white
- front light button activated backlight for evening viewing
- IPX7 water proof (not recommended for showering or swimming)
- magnetic micro USB connects to PC or Mac (charge time of 3 hours)
- customize notifications from specific people
Like the Pebble, the Agent is the product of a successful ($1mm raised) Kickstarter project.
First shipments were originally scheduled for December, 2013, but that slipped into the mid-2014 timeframe according to several backers on Agent’s Kickstarter board. The company is still accepting preorders on its website.
SDK Will Launch With Device
One of the unique things about Agent is the company’s dedication to providing powerful SDKs (app development toolkits) for app developers.
By releasing a .NET compatible SDK along with the watch, Agent should make it easier for app developers to offer lots of innovative apps for the device, and do this much faster than we’ve seen with others – except perhaps for the Pebble, who is also known for their open and developer-friendly platform.
The weather-resistant Agent smart watch is similar to the Pebble in terms of features, too. It will use an ultra-low-power black and white display for long battery life. Unlike the Pebble, however, the Agent will work with Windows smart phones and comes with a wireless charging station (photo above), which is pretty cool.
The Agent will come with built-in apps for weather and fitness, but the company is clearly betting that most app innovation will come from its developer community.
The Agent comes with the following features:
- compatible with iOS, Android 2.3+ and Windows Phone 8 phones
- 1.28-inch low-power black and white display
- high-quality hardened glass display
- motion & light sensors
- Qi wireless charging station
- running and weather apps
- water resistant
- 7-day battery life (30 day standby)
- 120MHz ARM Cortex-M4 processor
with secondary AVR co-processor
- 1.28″ Memory Display (128 x 128)
with intelligent backlighting
- Anti-glare glass lens
- Bluetooth 4.0 BD/EDR + LE
- 3-axis accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Vibration motor
- 7 days battery life (typical)
30 days in watchface-only mode
- Qi wireless charging
- Water resistant (ATMs: TBD)
- AGENT OS 1.0
including .NET Micro Framework 4.3
- RoHS, Pb-free
- Designed for repair and recycling
including replaceable battery
Androidly bills itself as “the first Android-powered smartwatch” and offers the largest screen available on a watch.
The $220 Androidly smart watch is available for sale on its website, though the watch hasn’t been seen much in the wild. Only a few lukewarm reviews exist online. Most say it’s an unfinished product.
NOTE: their Indiegogo fundraising campaign went flat, raising only $1,000 out of their $1 million goal.
- 2-inch touchscreen
- 256MB of RAM
- 8 to 16GB of storage (SD card)
- built-in phone
- 2MP camera
- Bluetooth & Wi-Fi connectivity
- Android 2.2 OS
- onboard GPS
- compatible with Google Play Store apps (Android 2.2+)
The Neptune Pine is another one of the new smart watches that has a ton of features and requires no companion phone.
One of the things you’ll notice immediately is the size of this watch – it’s huge. But so is the feature set. The Pine let you make and receive calls, take pictures, and go online to browse or catch up on email. And it does this all without needing a separate smartphone because it IS a phone – for your wrist.
The 16GB version sells for $335, and the 32GB version for $395.
Offered in black or white, the Pine is started shipping for pre-orders in mid-2014.
- Micro SIM slot
- Gorilla Glass display
- removable unit – use as a mini tablet computer
- front and rear-facing cameras
- 5MP rear-facing camera
- runs Android
- Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity
No details to report on this one, but Acer did let slip, in an interview with Pocket-Lint, that a wearable device is in the works.
It’s most likely a smartwatch, coming in 2014.