News & Reviews: SmartWatch
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2013
Despite poor reviews (ourselves included) of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Samsung still managed to move 800000 units of the smartwatch, making it probably the most profitable smartwatch to date. It does help that the smartwatch market is still very small but this is still a cause for celebration, at least for Samsung. However, it does raise the question of what you would really want in a smartwatch. Quite obviously, many of the smartwatches available on the market aren't what you want. So, what would you want from a smartwatch or what sort of smartwatch would you really want? How much would it cost?
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2013
ZTE was recently quoted that it would be launching a smartwatch as early as 2014 with a possible release date in Q1 of 2014. Unfortunately, there were no tech specs or other feature details but if it looks to make any sort of impact they will likely have to address most of the main limitations of current smartwatches in the market. These include cripplingly short battery life, compatibility, limited features and functionality, the now standard thick slab of touchscreen design and a rather high price tag. Most smartwatches are also aiming to be little more than notification centers for your smartphone that connect via bluetooth. We're hoping more for a standalone device and there are already quite a few of those in development or recently introduced. None have answered all of the main limitations of current smartwatches but we ZTE could be the one to finally break the deadlock. As it is, the ZTE smartwatch would probably surface at CES 2014, where Samsung is also rumoured to be coming out with a better Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch as well.
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2013
When the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch came out we were wondering when it would be available and for how much as many of the features on it made it an interesting entry into the growing smartwatch market. Well, the good news is that Qualcomm have revealed the pricing at $349 (RM1111) from 2 December 2013. Unfortunately, this is also the bad news. If you need to see how the Toq measures up to the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony SmartWatch 2 check out our earlier comparison article. Suffice to say, we're a little down because for what it can do complete with the available tech specs and features, it does less than the Galaxy Gear but costs more (the Samsung Galaxy Gear costs RM999 in Malaysia). Again, we're put in mind that the Toq, like the Galaxy Gear before it, is actually a beta device and is more out there to test the waters, get user feedback and prep the market for a better smartwatch. Hopefully that is the case. It is also fully compatible with any Android smartphone from Android 4.0.3. If you're still interested, check out the Qualcomm Toq site. Check out the video in this article for a refresher of the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch.
Last Updated: Nov 13, 2013
The rumour that Apple may be making a smartwatch called the Apple iWatch in 2014 is getting more meat and details as other rumours pop up. One of the latest is that we may be getting two types or sizes of Apple iWatch come this 2014, a 1.7-inch Apple iWatch for men and a 1.3-inch Apple iWatch for women. This rumour comes courtesy of analyst David Hsieh who has been quite accurate so far about previous Apple products. While this prediction does not mention how exactly each Apple iWatch may look or what tech specs they may have, it is a very logical conclusion. Traditionally, watches are very different in terms of size for men and women, after all, you probably won't see a large Rolex or sports watch on a woman's wrist or vice versa. While Apple have traditionally followed the one-size-fits-all design paradign they recently changed this approach when they released the Apple iPhone 5S and Apple iPhone 5C, so the rumour of two different Apple iWatch smartwatches according to gender sounds like the right way to go. As usual, do take this with a pinch of salt, as a rumour remains a rumour until it is proven.
Last Updated: Nov 04, 2013
The Android operating system is nearly synonymous with Google, however, there is a small watch company who is actually named Android, and they are looking to release a smartwatch designed for Android smartphones next month. Bear in mind that this is not the rumoured Google smartwatch nor is the Android watch company in any way affiliated with Google but it has been in the watch industry for years, which is probably why there hasn't been any legal issue with Google. As it is the Android smartwatch looks to be another bluetooth remote control and follows the now standard slab of touchscreen on a strap smartwatch design. According to the features list the smartwatch can answer calls, show you calls and messages, has a pedometer, calculator, chronograph and calendar function and lets you stream and control music from your smartphone. You can also record a voice memo, but apart from that there don't seem to be any other functions. Unfortunately, the features list didn't have any tech specs or specifications listed so we can only assume that it is just another Bluetooth remote control. We also assume it should work for any Android smartphone with Bluetooth as the video shows it interfacing with the Samsung Galaxy S4 but it could just as well work with iOS provided there is an app for it. The Android smartwatch is due in December 2013 but there wasn't any specific Malaysia release date or pricing. The Android smartwatch will be available in black, blue, orange, red and white.
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2013
Coming from the usual source of parts suppliers, Google has been rumoured to start mass production of their smartwatch device and soon. According to the Wall Street Journal this is because Google have solved the 2 main obstacles involved with smartwatches which is how useful the smartwatch can be and battery life. Supposedly, the Google smartwatch will include a battery saving feature that extends the battery life. There are no details if this better battery life will be past the current 1 week standard smartwatch battery life or past 25 hours which is the battery life of currently the most feature-filled smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The Google smartwatch will also use Google Now as the main interface, which could mean many more voice commands and the ability to always be listening, much like the Motorola Moto X.
So far, reports indicate that it would still have to rely on your smartphone as a stand-alone smartwatch would cost too much and be to big to be worn on the wrist (which doesn't seem to be the case for some other smartwatch makers). We're still hoping that Google will offer a stand-alone smartwatch but we should find out soon enough. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Google Watch could come within a matter of months which could mean either the end of 2013 in December or early 2014. No specifics on pricing or Malaysia release dates but we'll keep you posted.
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2013
Tim Cook, current CEO of Apple was recently quoted as saying that there are:
"great new products in areas where [Apple does] not participate today".
While he went on to say nothing really concrete, many are taking this as a sign that Apple may soon launch a new product category in 2014, especially since he referred to products coming "across 2014". With Apple already having computers, desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones, a new product category could very likely be the upcoming Apple iWatch smartwatch. So far there are little to no tech specs or features regarding the iWatch with many expecting it to come in late 2014. While they don't confirm anything, Tim Cook's comments could indicate that we'll be seeing an Apple iWatch (this could still be an Apple TV though) sooner than that.
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2013
While compatibility with just the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 2014 Edition is one of the main constraints of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, this may no longer be the case as Samsung have announced that quite a few Galaxy devices are going to get compatible soon. This includes the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II as soon as they receive their Android 4.3 updates, which are currently being rolled out in phases. Following these are the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3 and S4 Zoom. While the software update will again be released in phases, these devices will begin getting the update by the end of October. Bear in mind though that certain functions and features available for use on the Samsung Galaxy Gear will depend on the tech specs available to each device.
Last Updated: Oct 23, 2013
While we didn't get an Apple iWatch announcement yesterday, it doesn't mean that some people aren't still hopeful. For those of you looking at possibilities (Apple iWatch design team, hint, hint) Thomas Bogner came up with an awesome concept render design which looks like it would work great. The design looks a lot like the Nike Fuelband although we wonder if it is a bracelet like the Fuelband or the bottom part opens up like a latch. Quite a number of Apple iWatch smartwatch concepts have been cooked up already but with the iWatch supposedly set for a late 2014 release we're feeling a bit skeptical. As usual, since this is not an official Apple render or press image do take this with a pinch of salt. We admit it would be great if it did come true, but for now, check out the other iWatch concepts in this article.
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2013
Before Nokia got bought over by Microsoft, there was apparently a patent for a Nokia Facet smartwatch. Unlike other smartwatches with a single slab of touchscreen, the Nokia Facet design looks more like a bracelet with slots for slabs of touchscreen, each offering a different function. We're not sure how heavy that would make it but it would be awesome to add in a module with WiFi/3G/LTE or a 41MP camera or even a bigger battery. Now that Nokia is property of Microsoft it seems unlikely that such a smartwatch may actually be produced but then if Microsoft don't have plans of their own, they always have this one. We think the concept is awesome but it wouldn't be very comfortable to wear, however, things may change still.