News & Reviews: SmartWatch
Last Updated: Jun 24, 2013
While every other major tech manufacturer (Sony, Google, Microsoft, Intel) seem to be gearing up for their own versions of smartwatches, the Pebble smartwatch alone has led the way in terms of functionality and design. Following in their crowd-funded footsteps is the Agent smartwatch, created in collaboration between Secret Labs and The House of Horology which provides a host of features that sound simply awesome. These features include:
- 120MHz ARM Cortex-M4 processor with secondary AVR co-processor
- 1.28-inch Memory Display (128 x 128) with intelligent backlighting
- Anti-glare glass lens
- Bluetooth 4.0 BD/EDR + LE
- 3-axis accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Vibration motor
- 7 days battery life (typical) / 30 days in watchface-only mode
- Qi wireless charging
- Water resistant (ATMs: TBD)
- Easy SDK development (AGENT OS 1.0 including .NET Micro Framework 4.3)
- RoHS, Pb-free
- Designed for repair and recycling including replaceable battery
- Compatible with Android, iOS and Windows Phone
- six colours (orange, black, green, red, blue and white)
Last Updated: Jun 24, 2013
Sony has brought a number of SmartWatches out for consumers from 2010 to 2012. However, not many have sold (perhaps due to very high prices and limited functionality). However, with a number other competitors looking to make smartwatches of their own, Sony are looking to release a new SmartWatch pretty soon. In tweets released recently, Sony have teased a statistic from BI Intelligence stating that "1/3 smartphone users want smart wrist wear" and an image of the previous Sony SmartWatch while hinting that they may release this new Sony SmartWatch at the Mobile Asia Expo, due from 26 June 2013 to 28 June 2013 in Shanghai. No other teasers or other data were available so stay tuned for further developments.
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2013
Sony have already released their wearable computer SmartWatch, but in a move to open up app development for the device, they've since opened up the SmartWatch to other developers. This means the device can now be unlocked and developers can then flash alternative firmware for the device. If you're looking to do some SmartWatch development you can do so at the Open SmartWatch Project site. Sony have made a SmartWatch Hacker Guide available. In tandem with this, Sony are also co-arranging the SmartWatch Arduino Hackathon which combines Arduino firmware with the Sony SmartWatch. We'd love to have a custom working SmartWatch so if you have any ideas, do drop by.
Last Updated: May 02, 2013
In what seems like just the tip of the iceberg, MAYA Design recently held a demo of their MakerSwarm platform which they used to create a smartwatch app that allowed them to control the aforementioned RC drones. What is remarkable here is that the MakerSwarm that enabled this is a very easy to use platform. MAYA Design hope it will lower the bar in terms of app creation difficulty. The platform uses relationships to trigger actions or events and from the demo pretty much works like a match the line exercise.
Last Updated: Mar 25, 2013
US Patents filed in 2011 and 2000 show that Google have also been working on smart watch devices. While the more recent patent (see drawing above) talks about a dual screen device with touchscreen capabilities, the older patent (see drawing below) shows a smart watch design much along the same lines as the current Pebble watch. Apparently Google's Smart Watch has been under development just as long as Samsung's Smart watch as well, just that we haven't seen any actual hardware come to light.
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2013
The next step in smart devices seem to be the wearable ones, with many saying that Apple's next big thing is going to be an "iWatch". However, Samsung have also reiterated that they will also come out with a smartwatch or similar device as well. In a Bloomberg report, Samsung VP Lee Young Hee was quoted as "We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them."