07
Feb
2013-02-07_14h27_53

The Pebble sure wasn't the first smart watch, but it's been getting a lot of attention lately. In fact, wearable computing as an industry is seeing a bit of a resurgence in general. The trouble, at least as one company sees it, is that smart watches require you to already have an expensive phone. That's two batteries you have to keep charged! Craziness! That's where the Neptune Pine comes in.

pine1 pine2 pine3

The idea here is that your watch can have a micro-SIM of its own. It will connect to a data network and even make phone calls. Oh, and it runs Android. More accurately, it runs "Leaf OS," a highly-modified version of Android designed to run on the tiny screen. Which is certainly something the device desperately needs because that screen is tiny.

Speaking of, let's talk a bit about the hardware: the main module of the device has a 2.5" display (for reference, that's 1" smaller than the screen on the iPhone). It also includes a 5MP camera on the top, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and the aforementioned GSM connectivity (3G-only, I'm afraid).

Here's where things get wonky, though. Did you happen to do a double-take when I mentioned it has a 2.5" display? I did. Sure, that's not big by phone standards, but it's pretty dang huge by watch standards. Again, for reference, the 6th-gen iPod Nano was 1.5". Heck, the current iPod Nano has a 2.5" display and that revision more or less killed its potential as the pseudo-smartwatch that people tried to make the last model.

Here's how it looks in action:

bigtinywatchwat1 bigtinywatchwat2

Okay, you're really starting to lose me.

To be perfectly honest, the idea of a self-contained smart watch sounds really cool. I like the thought of having a device that can run very simple apps or keep me updated on my correspondence at a glance. It's great. Given that we keep sticking 3G and 4G connections in everything, a unit that connects to data networks even seems like it might be interesting.

However, 2.5" just seems like it would be way too big to wear on your wrist. Typing on it sounds even more frustrating. I never even liked using the on-screen keyboard for my G1's 3.2" display. To the watch's credit, you can press a button to pop the main unit out of the wrist band in order to type with two hands, but that sounds entirely too cumbersome. The utility of a smart watch is its ability to stay out of the way and perform minor tasks. Not to be the centerpiece of your digital life.

Of course, we're hesitant to pass judgment on the hardware before it's even out. We only see a few screenshots and, while Googling things on this screen sounds awful, it's possible that the rest of the features might make up for it. So, we'll wait and see.

With a $335 (CAD) price tag for the 8GB model (up to $395 for the 32GB), it doesn't look too promising, though. If you'd really like to get a piece of this action, though, you can reserve one here. Estimated delivery is Q3 2013. Grab a snack.

Source: Neptune Pine

Thanks, John MacArthur.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/h3llb3nd4 Charles Lin

    Yo, I got a full qwerty keyboard and one thick thumb, I'm gonna type sooo fast

  • miccullen

    A watch that they won't show us images of anyone wearing. There's a hint right there.

    • Jason

      Their clearly still in the development phase right now; those are only concept pics...I think the company is simply testing the market and gauging interest; I do think they should have some working prototype by now or soon...

    • licca

      judging from virtual keyboard maybe it's not a watch, it might be a belt instead.
      nice looking belt. maybe I can transform with it.. :D

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.wilkins.5 Aaron Wilkins

      Hi miccullen,

      We are currently working on finalizing the board layout for the watch. The technology to do all of this is well developed and available, and the chip sets fit nicely into our package footprint. The hard part is making it a smooth and enjoyable user experience, which is what we aim to deliver. As for the aesthetics, the watch will be highly customizable with many replacement strap options. We are working on putting together some more detailed and higher quality images on our site to showcase the product so if you're interested check back on our site every once in a while for updates.

  • Adam Miah

    What a stupid concept.

  • fixxmyhead

    it doesnt look that big. maybe u should put up some pics with someone wearing to get a better understanding cuz it looks tiny in the pics

    • http://www.facebook.com/DaATXMan Danny Davis

      Take a ruler, put it against your wrist and you'll get a feel what space 2.5 inch will take up. And that's just the screen. Add what, about another .5 inch of bezel. That's a pretty big size watch. I'd get it just for the gadget junkie aspect of me.

      • fixxmyhead

        no im lazy i want pics

  • Paul

    but the idea of having a tiny Bluetooth ear piece connected to this ultra mini phone is interesting. I mean if you dont use your phone for much or use it as a phone mainly and the occasional text or time/alarm/calendar is enticing. I'd like to know more before paying judgement.

  • squiddy20

    I'm curious about the battery life. With Wifi, GPS, a 3G GSM connection, a 2.5" display, and it all fits snugly on your wrist, it can't have that big of a battery or last long.

    • Dallas

      If you take a look at their tech specs page; it says 5 hours talk time and 120 hours standby; which is pretty good if you ask me :)

  • Robin

    I think this is interesting...2.5" ain't that bad for browsing and texting...; in fact older nokias and blackberrys all had 2-point-something-inch screens; and they were large enough for all of that simple stuff...
    This is really for someone who uses their phone only as their phone; calling, SMS, email, music, etc. and want something more convenient and portable (wearable in fact) Definitely not for intense mobile gamers:)

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    It looks sooo bulky. I can't imagine wearing it even on my leg. Hey Samsung, why don't you add two wristbands and curved casing to some of your more crappy 3.5" phones, like Ace? And sell it cheap, so I won't care if I'll break it. Such arm bracelet will fit my big wrist just fine, way better than that Neptune thingie, also you can hide a sliding-out blade under it, just sayin'

    • fixxmyhead

      doesnt look bulky it looks thin but u do have a pretty good idea right there

  • Dan

    There's no picture of it on somebody's arm because there are no pictures of it. All of the images on the Neptune Pine web site are renders. The product doesn't actually exist outside somebody's imagination.

    • miccullen

      Yeah, and given it's impossible to render an arm, you can't show it on one. Indeed.

  • Jörgen Pettersson

    I would like to try it with endomondo, could be useful if it's not too bulky.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tahorvath Todd Horvath

    Although this faintly smells of vaporware, I would totally give my money to this project.
    A few of the posters mentioned how sucky it would be to surf on a 2.5 inch screen. I can tell you
    from personal experience, 2.5" can be just fine. I had a Xperia x10 mini pro and the screen was 2.55" . I also currently have a rooted Motoactv that sports a 1.6 inch screen and with the right keyboard( like Flit or Swype) it can be quite serviceable. It also gives me nerd cred to be able to play PSX games on a watch. Is it bulky? Perhaps. The photos look like renders so there might be some changes in the final design. I think our concept of whats too big is going out the window. Remember how everyone thought the original iPhone was huge? My only concern is this "leaf OS" I hope its only a skin rather than a alteration to android, because having the play store on your wrist is awesome.

    • Robin

      According to their FAQ on their website, this watch will definitely support all the apps on the play store.

  • http://twitter.com/sam1am John Samuel αΩ

    What if the phone became the accessory for the watch? The watch could contain all the electronics and the "phone" could just be a huge screen and battery and nothing else. Since it would only have to have minimal radios to comunicate with the watch, the batteries could be very small. Maybe this is how we get to transparent and ultra-thin phones?

    • Jen

      Neat idea! I totally agree with that point. We should only depend on something much smaller rather than a huge smartphone.

    • Elias

      Good Luck with whatever 133mhz processor this thing has

  • Alessandro Angotzi

    well 2.5 inches is about the size of a laptop's HD... that's quite big for a watch....

  • FrillArtist

    Utter rubbish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002743458418 Colton Clark

    I bought the MOTOACTV because I liked the idea of an Android watch... after I rooted it and remapped the buttons...it was just a really small Android device (that refused to let MotoCast work at all) so i returned it....pity, it was a really cool idea...

  • spydie

    I'm in... take my money. Going from the largest phone (note 2) to this would be really cool.

  • GraveUypo

    huh... would looks stupid with such a big screen...

    here's a mockup i just made of an android wrist watch.

    the hardware in on one side on the band and on the other side there's a decently-sized flexible screen. just work a little bit on the appearance and voila, a pretty cool watch.

  • Ravinder

    Wait a 'minute'...my watch is rebooting...:)

  • Gagamonstar

    So idk how i feel about this. I love the ideal, but typing sounds like a bitch so i would always have to use google voice. Its a cool ideal but i think when i t comes down to it its really just a uneeded watch ( but the technology behind it is important and could be used for GREAT things)

  • PINJ

    2.5" Is Good. When You Said Tiny I Thought You Meant 1.5 - 1.8".

  • JG

    They should consider, if possible, including a virtual keyboard (the led/laser one) type device... It could be projected onto your arm (or sleeve) allowing you to use your non-watched hand to type on a considerably larger keyboard while leaving the screen display the actual text. Or maybe some kind of sensor that could monitor the muscle movement of your fingers through your wrist....

  • Jim Crossley

    can't they make e watches that look good? I know it'd be a task, but surely android could support a circular screen?

  • Lou

    I rather just want one to use with my phone rather than it REPLACING my phone.

  • crobs808

    I'd MUCH rather replace my whole phone. So tired of carrying around my S3. I used to want bigger and better screens, more CPU and better camera/resolutions, but I am at the point where it is all just too much. I get headaches all the time thinking about the notifications I have to check on my phone (work email, personal email, txt, missed calls, app notifications, etc.). I am so ready to unplug, or be plugged in less at least.

  • Dan

    It's on your wrist with no Gorilla glass (or equivalent).

  • Guest

    Neptune Pine Android Smartwatch .
    We love it

  • Shabir Khan

    Neptune Pine Android Smartwatch ll.
    Is too lovely.

  • Shabir Khan

    Apple smart watch is too lovely