NEW YORK – New smart watches are emerging as either extensions of a smartphone, a replacement, or something in between.
That was evident in separate product announcements by Timex, Connected Devices and Neptune.
Hong Kong-based Connected Devices sees its second-generation smart watch, the $149 Cookoo, as a phone extension that delivers notifications, caller ID, and smartphone-music and smartphone-camera control to the wrist in a watch-style form factor. It’s available on the company’s online store.
For its part, Montreal-based Neptune, fresh from a Kickstarter campaign, plans fourth-quarter shipments to non-Kickstarter backers of the Pine, which features built-in cellular voice and 3G data. The Android-based watch phone comes with embedded microphone and speaker but also enables phone calls through a Bluetooth headset. It also runs Android apps.
Timex, which has diversified from watches into fitness watches and bands, expanded its lineup with a smart watch equipped with cellular data but not voice. It also acts as an extension to a smartphone.
The $399 Timex Iron Man One GPS+ is equipped with built-in GPS and cellular radio that receives text messages and email via AT&T’s 3G HSPA network. For email, users must sign up for a Timex email account.
The touchscreen-equipped watch, available in November, also incorporates a built-in 4GB MP3 player and stereo Bluetooth for listening to music over Bluetooth headphones without carrying a music-laden smartphone. Fitness- and running-related apps are also included and connect to fitness sensors via Bluetooth. No smartphone is required.
The watch lacks cellular voice capability, and to get text messages, it requires a phone number separate from a user’s main phone, AT&T told TWICE.
The Timex Iron Man One GPS+ will be available with one free year of AT&T service. The product will be sold through Timex.com, AT&T stores, ATT.com, sports specialty stores and electronic stores. Bundled with a Bluetooth heart-rate monitor, it will be priced at $450.
The watch features an always-on Qualcomm Mirasol display that’s readable in sunlight. A Find Me mode lets users send an alert with exact location in case of an emergency, while a tracking capability communicates the user’s location to friends and family anytime.
The watch also tracks speed, distance and pace.
Other key features include Bluetooth connections to heart-rate monitors and foot pods, customizable interval timers, audible and vibrating pace and heart rate alerts, and notifications when the user achieved a personal record.
Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery delivers eight hours of use with GPS and cellular on. Battery life drops to four hours when the MP3 player is also running.
Neptune’s Pine is priced at $349 for the 16GB version and $449 for the 32GB version on the company’s online store. It’s already available to Kickstarter backers.
Neptune’s Pine is an unlocked GSM/HSPA+/WCDMA Android 4.1 smartphone that operates in four bands, including the U.S. 850/1900MHz bands. Its 2.4-inch 320×240 TFT touchscreen displays a QWERTY keyboard for messaging. It comes with 810mAh rechargeable battery and measures 2.6 by 2.1 by 0.56 inches.
The watch also features Wi-Fi, music player, front-facing VGA camera for video chats, and 5-megapixel main camera with 720p video capture. Both cameras have LED flash.
The watch doubles as a fitness tracker, thanks to GPS, and has a pedometer, a compass and an app to track steps, pace, time, laps and calories burned.
Talk time is up to six hours on 3G and eight hours on 2G. Standby time is 120 hours. It offers up to 10 hours of music playback. Performance specs include 1.2GHz morndual- core processor, 512MB RAM, and 16MB or 32MB of storage for music and apps.
For its part, Connected Devices is offering a more traditional analog-watch look for its second-generation Cookoo, which offers a new design, sharper display, more functionality, new materials and new colors compared to its predecessor.
A digital display added to the face displays caller ID information. Icon alerts let users know when they have received email, a text message or social-media updates.
The watch also triggers a connected smartphone’s camera, controls the phone’s music playback, and features a paging function to find the phone.
Low-power Bluetooth Smart technology enables the phone to operate on a conventional button-cell battery, which can supply power “for many months” and is user-replaceable.
The smart watch works with iOS7 and Android 4.3 and up devices.