We've seen at least one device that could be called a "smart ring" already: the wildly successful NFC Ring. But the Smarty Ring, currently accepting funding on Indiegogo, takes the idea about five steps further. It's a smartwatch, more or less, that's made into a ring form factor. Though it's not quite as capable as something like the Pebble, and nowhere near as powerful as the watches from Sony or Samsung, the idea is surprisingly attractive.
"Smartwatch. Reinvented." declares the title on the Neptune Pine's Kickstarter page. Did we need them to be reinvented? Have smartwatches been around long enough to need a complete reboot? Simon Ian and his team think that they do, and at least 404 people agree with him - they've pledged a total of $118,245 CAD towards the smartwatch in just over one day.
The project's title is also strange in that it's a bit of throwback: instead of being a companion device a la the Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch, or Pebble, the Pine is more like a tiny, full-fledged smartphone that lives on your wrist.
If you thought the Galaxy Gear was priced poorly, wait till you see Qualcomm's in-house alternative. In a press release issued Monday morning the monster chip supplier announced that its unique Toq smartwatch would be available starting December 2nd, AKA "Cyber Monday," from toq.qualcomm.com. The price? A wallet-straining $349.99, fifty bucks more than Samsung's watch and about twice the price of more budget-focused alternatives like Pebble. The Toq will only be sold in the US.
The Galaxy Gear is twice the price of the Pebble and pricier than both iterations of Sony's SmartWatch, but it isn't necessarily a more complete product. A particular sore spot is how the watch handles notifications, limiting not only which apps can send them, but not actually displaying the contents for most apps. The latest update to the Galaxy Gear Manager app alleviates this somewhat. Now users can pick which apps send messages to the Gear and even read the contents on the watch itself.
Did you know that some companies and products have the same name as other companies and products? Crazy, right? To use a geek-friendly example, there's a brand of laundry detergent called "Linux." Now, Try to follow along with me here: there's a brand of conventional automatic and quartz wristwatches called Android. The American company has been around since 1991. They've never really blown up as a brand, but they've been making reliable watches for two decades.
After reviewing the Galaxy Gear, my feelings about smartwatches are the same as ever: meh. But a lot of people really, really like the idea of smartwatches. And it seems more and people either own one, or have one on order. So that's this weekend's question, nice and easy: do you own a smartwatch?
You gotta love it when a community of developers congregates around some exciting hardware. That's certainly what's happened with the Pebble smartwatch: it's been getting steadily more capable ever since its release, thanks in no small part to Android and watch app developers. We've seen apps link the Pebble and the popular automaton engine Tasker before, but PebbleTasker (catchy!) does it better than anything else so far.
This go-between app will install a companion app on the Pebble and allow you to assign any three tasks you want to the top, select, and bottom buttons on the right edge of the watch.
Where to begin. First things first, this isn't your typical Kickstarter-funded smartwatch that syncs with a smartphone somehow differently than the other umpteen options. The Omate TrueSmart truly is a smart watch, as it incases its own dual-core processor running Android 4.2.2. This distinguishing feature has attracted over 4,000 backers to part with $1 million, ten times more than the $100,000 goal Omate was aiming for. David ripped this watch a new one when its campaign first begun, but I think it deserves a new start.
Smartwatches are a young category. Superfluous at best and just plain dorky at worst, I've yet to see one that makes me say "wow, I've gotta have that." And if smartwatches have yet to receive their killer application, that's doubly true for the inevitable wave of cheap accessories that will try to cash in on the craze. Case in point: The Bem Wireless Speakerwatch.
This thing is a Bluetooth speakerphone strapped to a wristband.
Samsung just unveiled the much-rumored Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but that's far from the only new smartwatch about to hit wrists around the world. Qualcomm, the company best known for building the ARM chips powering most modern Android devices, has just announced the Toq smartwatch. The Toq (pronounced 'talk') will be compatible with Android 4.0.3 and higher, but does not appear to run Android itself. Unlike the Gear, Qualcomm is promising the Toq will get multiple days of battery life from a single charge thanks to its Mirasol screen.