The Qualcomm Toq occupies this awkward space in the smartwatch race. Like the Pebble, it uses a display similar to e-ink that sacrifices fancy animations and responsiveness for battery life, only it manages to one-up its competitor by supporting more colors than black and white. Unfortunately, at $349, it's even more expensive than the already ludicrously overpriced Galaxy Gear. Yet for people who purchased one anyway, version 1.3 introduces new features and major bug fixes that should make using the watch a more pleasant experience.
Update: Since this post was published, Pebble has introduced a beta appstore for Android through their developer blog. Pebble encourages interested users to "help us finalize the Android app and ship it to everyone very quickly" by using the beta release and reporting any bugs. The beta release is certainly not without its issues, but interested parties can download it here.
Since Pebble first became available to the masses, finding good apps and watchfaces for the device has been sort of a hit-and-miss experience.
If you've had your eye on Qualcomm's super-special Toq smartwatch, but couldn't bring yourself to pay for one that doesn't match your Colonel Sanders-style white suit, you're in luck. The limited-edition white Toq is now on sale from Qualcomm's online store for the same $350 price as the sober black edition. You can also find it on Amazon, but it's the same price and marked as "shipping within 1 to 2 months." Any takers?
Most current smartwatches, such as the Pebble and the Galaxy Gear, serve as notification hubs for whatever smartphone is paired to them, but this limitation is something several Kickstarter projects have sought to change by effectively turning smartwatches into phones themselves. This approach doesn't address how ludicrous it is to peck out words on such a tiny screen, but Minuum, the Android keyboard that fits the entire alphabet into a single row, could just be the ideal solution.
Smartwatch fans now have a new Pebble to drool over: the Pebble Steel. This is functionally identical to the original pebble, but it's smaller, thinner, and of course comes in a steel wrapper. This new model of the Pebble comes in black or silver colors and demands a $100 premium over the standard plastic model, retailing for an impressive $249.
Pebble Steel comes with a matching metal band and a bonus leather band, custom made for the unique head (which may not work with interchangeable watch bands).
Here's a fun way to pass the time while you're catching up on CES news at home: take a drink of your favorite spirit every time you see the word "wearable." Now say goodbye to your liver. Korean manufacturer LG has decided to enter both the smartwatch and fitness tracker markets at once with the Lifeband Touch, a watch-style Bluetooth device with an OLED screen.
Both fitness tracking and remote notification bases are covered here.
Remember when Pebble blew its $100,000 Kickstarter funding goal out of the water by raising over 50 times that much? Well it's not the only watch born from that crowdfunding platform to bring in a ton of cash. The Omate Truesmart watch, despite being even bulkier than most of the already chunky competition, finished its Kickstarter campaign with over $1,000,000. Much of this money came from enthusiasts eager to have an even smaller build of Android on their wrist at all times - so for those people who are already unconcerned with thoughts of practicality or fashion, TeamWin has recently added support for the TrueSmart to TWRP.
If you want a smart watch but aren't compelled by the Galaxy Gear or enamored with the Pebble, there are other options out there to sate your desire. One of those options is Sony's Smart Watch 2. Best Buy is offering the second iteration of Sony's smart watch effort for $159.99, forty dollars off its normal price from the retailer, and thirty dollars off its price at Amazon.
With a 1.6" transflective LCD display (which, unlike regular LCD displays, actually reflects and transmits light), IP57-certified water resistance, and a design language reminiscent of Sony's Xperia devices, the Smart Watch 2 isn't a bad choice for those looking to try a wrist-mounted wearable.
Sure, you have your Pebbles and your Galaxy Gears, not to mention your various Kickstarter-funded competitors that promise even more functionality. But how much work do you really intend to do from your wrist? If all you want is a fitness tracker that plays back music and can also tell the time, then Motorola's MOTOACTV smartwatch might be all you need, and today it's available from Woot for just $129.99, over half off its usual price.
The Galaxy Gear may not be the best smartwatch out there, but if you have a compatible Samsung device, it may just be worth checking out. This would normally set you back $299.99, but today only, you can get the Gear for $239.95 from eBay, a 20% savings. To sweeten the deal even further, the watch also comes with free shipping.