It is a new year, which means new resolutions, goals and plans, as well as the latest round of gadgets and technology shown off in Las Vegas at CES 2014. Last year, we did a round-up of smart watches from CES 2013 and for 2014 the depth of hopeful offerings has greatly increased. CES is a playground, of sorts, for consumer electronics companies where they can show off their new technology and products for the upcoming year. Some of these are ready to ship products and others, sadly, end up as vaporware never seeing the light of day. Time will tell how many of the below come to market, and then whether or not they can be successful. Here are just a few of the smartwatches shown off this year.
Perhaps the best selling smartwatch, the Pebble, gets an updated look and a new material for 2014. Rather than plastic the second generation Pebble takes on a stainless steel case, Gorilla Glass and 5ATM water resistance making it a far more durable product. The new case is available in brushed stainless or a black matte finish (no mention if PVD or black IP) and each model comes with both a strap and stainless steel bracelet. The new version runs the same Pebble OS so it is compatible with all the existing Pebble apps and functions the same. The price for the Steel is a reasonable $249 and is available for order now at getpebble.com.
The META by Metawatch looks to be very similar to the Pebble in both appearance and functions. The watch will show your notifications from your phone as well as control some aspects of the device. It can be customized with different faces and widgets and comes in black or white. The stainless steel frame is 42mm in length and 38mm wide and is priced at $229.99.
Unlike other models the Sonostar SmartWatch uses a touchscreen face rather than buttons for navigation and control of features. The curved screen gives the watch a unique look and is an e-Paper display which makes it legible in sunlight. It will display notifications from your phone, calls, and calendar events as well as link to sports apps developed by Sonostar. The watch will be available in the first quarter of 2014 for $179.
Known for their tablets, Archos is developing a series of smart watches that cover a range of affordable prices. Prices will come in at $50, $100 and $129 for each of the three models with features and battery life increasing with each model. Archos has made some well respected Android tablets so it will be interesting to see how their smart watches fare. The devices are expected to be available later in 2014.
The Cogito Original could at a glance be mistaken for a two hand quartz watch. That makes sense given it is in fact a two hand quartz watch, but it also happens to have a digital display on the dial. Notifications from your phone are shown on the display and, as expected, the wearer can dismiss or answer incoming messages and control a limited set of functions like music. The Cogito may well appeal to those who do not like the all digital display of many smart watches. The Cogito Original is available for pre-order now at $197.95 and is expected to ship in two to three months.
The HOT (Hands-On-Talk) watches offer a choice of four different case styles for their smart watch. Each contains the same hardware and software inside the slightly different cases. The only difference is in the Curve model which has a build in LED flashlight. As with all others you can view the time and date and see your notifications and control some aspects of the phone. The Hands-On-Talk part comes in as the differentiator: you can make calls directly from the HOT smartwatch. The models are available for pre-order from $152 to $212 and will be shipping in March of 2014.
All the devices thus far are designed to be mobile phone companions that will show notification and let you control aspects of your phone. The Neptune Pine is different in that it is a standalone device. It runs the latest version of Android and can make calls and send messages using its 2.4 inch touchscreen. The device also has a full keyboard, cameras and an web browser. The watch can also be removed from the wristband and placed in other devices. It is available for pre-order now at $335 and is expected to ship in March 2014.
The Wellograph bills itself as the “Wellness Watch”. The watch has a built in heart rate monitor that it uses to deliver real-time information to its wearer. It tells you how much you have moved and how hard you have exercised. Rather than relying on a separate wearable device like a Fitbit or Nike Fuelband the Wellograph integrates those features directly into your watch. The watch is constructed of stainless steel and aluminum with a sapphire crystal. The watch is set to be available in Spring 2014 with price yet to be set.
The smartwatch industry is still in its infancy with everyone trying to grab a piece of the wearable technology segment. We are bound to see more and more of these integrated types of watches as the technology and user interest increases.