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Smart Watches Show Up In Droves At CES

1/07/2014 07:00:00 PM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — Here’s what the latest crop of smart watches — and what they are capable of doing — many of which are at International CES this week:

Ezio is showing its Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Watch and Smart Jewelry collections, part of an accessories trend that connects a smartphone to a wearable device so the user never misses a call and can more easily access the phone’s content. The Smart Watches beep and vibrate with each incoming call, text or email.

The men’s watch retails for $199 and the lady’s model is $179.

E Fun plans first-quarter availability of the $99 E Fun smart watch, which tracks daily activities, integrates with smartphone apps, and makes smartphone information more accessible, the company said.

The smart watch syncs with an Apple or Android smartphone via Bluetooth 3.0 or 4.0, though the watch itself incorporates the Android 4.1 operating system to enable development of third-party applications.

The device syncs contacts and displays incoming call data, text messages and email alerts (audible or vibrating). It also gives users the ability to reject or auto reply to a text, and it displays Facebook and Twitter updates without requiring users to first open a smartphone app. The watch also controls a smartphone’s camera and music playback functions.

The device also integrates with third-party health and fitness apps to let users share achievements on social networks. The Smart Watch’s G-sensor measures how many hours are spent in deep and light sleep, and it also lets users play motion-sensing games. For example, it can measure the user’s power, speed, endurance, flexibility and balance resulting from movements made during a game.

The device features a 1.55 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with 240 by 240 resolution, 1GHz processor, 4GB ROM, 512MB RAM, 240 mAh battery and built-in microphone for audio recording.

Magellan is adding its second fitness-oriented Echo smart watch, joining the first model launched last July and joining a pair of fitness-oriented GPS watches launched in 2012.

Both Echo smart watches are positioned as the industry’s first “sports smart watches” because they are ruggedized and water-resistant, whereas “other smart watches aren’t rugged or sporty enough for wear during sport,” the company said.

The latest watch is positioned for use with a variety of compatible smartphone sports apps; the first model was positioned as a runner’s watch because it worked with running apps. Compatible fitness apps include golf, hiking and skiing. The new model will also come in more color options than the first.

The first model is user-upgradable to add compatibility with the additional sports apps.

Both watches are compatible with the iPhone 4S and later Apple phones and select Android phones that support Bluetooth 4.0. And both connect wirelessly via low-power Bluetooth Smart technology to a smartphone to control select smartphone fitness apps, control smartphone music-playback functions, display messages, and display real-time fitness data calculated and streamed in real time from multiple compatible sports apps running on a smartphone. Echo shows elapsed time, distance, running pace, distance to a golf green, maximum speed on a person’s last run and the like.

Both Echo watches retail for a suggested $149 without the Bluetooth Smart heart-rate monitor, or $199 with the monitor. Pricing on the second model wasn’t available.

The devices don’t require recharging like other smart watches because they run on a replaceable coin-cell battery that lasts eight to 10 months with typical usage.

Martian Watches is broadening the appeal of its smart watches with a $129-suggested Martian Notifier, joining the $299 Martian Passport, $299 Martian Victory and $249 Martian G2G. The former two are positioned respectively as upscale executive watches, and the latter is a casual-looking watch.

The Martian Notifier, described as a fashion-forward watch with analog hands, lacks the other watches’ speaker and mic for making voice calls through a Bluetooth- connected Android and Apple phones and for controlling smartphone functions by voice. The Notifier, however, still offers an integrated OLED scrolling display to show notifications for caller ID, text messages, Facebook and Twitter messages, email, calendar alerts and any other alerts enabled by the user’s phone.

Martian Notifier incorporates also several new features, such as the ability to view notification history and expanded iOS notifications. Although it has no speaker or mic like its Martian brethren, a button press can instead activate the Bluetooth-connected phone’s speaker, mic, and Siri or Google Voice function so users can still use their voice to reply to messages, set calendar appointments, control music and the like.

Also unlike its brethren, the Martian Notifier will not use the onboard accelerometer to let users shake their wrist to send an incoming call to voicemail, but it will use the accelerometer to let users tap the watch glass to dismiss notifications and notification history.

Neptune has the Neptune Pine, which is a stand-alone Android 2.4-inch device that detaches from a wrist strap. It doesn’t need to be paired with a smartphone to function.

It ships in January at pricing that wasn’t announced at press time.

The device runs Android apps and supports Androids voice input engine. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2GHz processor, onscreen QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 32GB of storage, front- rear-facing cameras with LED flash, and Micro SIM card slot for 2G/3G cellular data.

The company positions the devices as a social-media hub, fitness lab, video game console and media player. The main device can be detached from its wrist band and used with two hands or for video conferencing. When detached, the Pine can be used with various Neptune accessories, including a bike-helmet mount.

Fitness capabilities include GPS, accelerometer, pedometer and digital compass.

Yifang Digital, a Hong Kong company, is launching an Android 4.1-based SW501 smart watch with 512MB RAM, 4G ROM, 1GHz processor, 1.55-inch 240 by 240 backlit display, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 240 mAh rechargeable battery.

It lets users remotely control a phone to take photos, play music and display weather forecasts. It also lets users check email, synchronizes contact lists, alerts users to incoming calls, responds automatically to incoming messages, displays updates from social-network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, measures sleep quality and supports motion-sensing games.

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