I love watches! I love technology! When these two things come together, I pay attention. Do you? I owned a SPOT watch. Did you? Casio Databank? Had one in the 80s. Some say smartwatches are the best thing since Prince George. Others say they’ll be a blip on the radar screen like so many TV shows once Ted McGinley was on them. If the early success of such watches as the Pebble smartwatch is any predictor, I’m saying that they’ll be a big hit. The Pebble E-Paper Watch (which we’ve just reviewed and will be giving away) has a lot of interesting functions, is highly customizable, and raised over $1 million within 28 hours of being put on Kickstarter. Maybe the Pebble isn’t exactly what you want though. Maybe you’d like a different look or functionality. Money talks, and these other smartwatch innovators are ready to listen. Some of these are concepts and some are already on the market! Which one do you want? Maybe all of them?
Ventura SPARC Sigma MGS – $4,850
More visually stunning than necessarily “smart”, the Ventura SPARC Sigma MGS is a revolutionary smartwatch because of its form and function. If legendary Swiss watch companies like Rolex made digital watches, they’d aspire to the SPARC Sigma MGS. The top piece you see that looks a bit like a window looking down on a DVD tray is actually the power source for the watch. Self-winding watches aren’t really that new, however using a movement-driven micro-generator system (MGS) to make electricity is very innovative.
When fully charged, it can power the watch for up to 40 days. That’s smart. If they choose to delve more into digital technology, they might even come up with a full-feature smartwatch that doesn’t need a charging cable. The watch has a proprietary operating system dubbed EasySkroll v.2.0. The knurled knob inset into the face of the watch is the scrolling mechanism to allow you to change functions through its two time zones, alarm, chronograph, countdown & 100 Years Perpetual Calendar. I think this method of control may be better than such a small touch screen for relatively large fingers.
Take a look at the video to see more about Ventura’s design philosophy and impressive technology. It’s about 4 minutes long and definitely will appeal to the design and tech geek.
This smartwatch is tailor-made for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the CEO of Your Family. By blending an analog watch dial with voice-command and a digital display, this watch puts style and function within reach of anyone. If you have a smartphone with Bluetooth capability, this might be the perfect companion time-piece. The watch is made to be compatible with Android and iOS SMS apps such as WhatsApp and LINE. Not only will it scroll the message and sender info across the display, you can set it up to read the messages out loud to you.
It is also compatible with Windows 8 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit and 32-bit Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 64-bit, so you should be able to issue voice commands to programs on those operating systems that accept voice commands and Bluetooth communications. You really need to see the video to get the full grasp of what this watch is capable of doing for you.
Sony Smartwatch 2 – about $130
It’s no real shock that Sony would be entering the smartwatch race. They are legendary for miniaturizing other technologies like the cassette player, CD players, and even their Betamax version of videotape was a much smaller format than VHS. The latest news on their Smartwatch 2 is that it will function much like the Martian, where it is tethered via Bluetooth to your smartphone. However it will also support NFC functionality. This sets the watch up for many different capabilities such as working as a proximity key, or even a debit card.
At this point in time, it will only work with an Android-based phone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since focusing on one format can give your product much greater depth. You can see this by the sheer volume of Smartwatch compatible apps they have on Google Play. The biggest selling feature for me is that it is the first smartwatch with a water resistant rating of IP57. It can take short dunks in shallow water. The Smartwatch 2 isn’t available until early September.
cookoo – $130
Focusing on the Apple crowd, cookoo is compatible with the iPhone 5 and 4S, iPad mini, iPad (4th & 3rd gen), iPod touch (5th gen) and communicates by Bluetooth like most of the watches mentioned here. What may set this particular watch apart is that it has an analog face with LEDs that notifies of things happening on Facebook, SMS, Twitter and your phone. That should translate into a smartwatch that has a longer battery run-time. The phone also has its own e-mail address so you can set a up a filter to only have the most important emails trigger your watch alert. You can still control certain functions of your tethered iPhone such as the camera and music player, so it isn’t just a notification system. It is also water-resistant to 5 atmospheres deep. For the outdoorsy Apple crowd, I can see this being worthwhile. Take a look at the video, I’m sure you’ll see many situations where you could use this watch.
The much lauded Pebble watch is a beautiful thing indeed, yet there are other great options available now or in the near-future. If these alternatives to the Pebble don’t agree with you, you might want to shop through Matt Smith’s reveal of 5 Alternatives To The Apple iWatch That Are Already Available
Smartwatches are here and people are buying them even before they’re being made. They are going to be around a while for certain. If you are in the market for one, there are two things you should think about. First, determine what you will require from the watch then find out if that’s available. Second, you may want to think about which watch maker will be around in 3 years or less. Are they backing a technology that will fade, grow, or simply get them locked out? That’d be my concern with an Apple-dependent smartwatch. If I had to pick just one of these watches, well, I couldn’t do it. Sony has a good legacy, but I’m just crazy about that Ventura micro-generator system. The Pebble’s e-ink screen is definitely the display I’d want as well, for battery life and readability. Maybe those three things will come together in the near future. Maybe Apple is holding back on releasing an iWatch to see what features sell best in these watches?
Do you already have a smartwatch? Which one did you go for? Which one might you go for? What features would make you really want to get a smart-watch? I’m curious and thousands of other readers are too! Talk with us in the comments, right down there.