Watches are no longer limited to just telling the time — in the new era of connectivity, watch makers have the opportunity keep us up to date on texts and emails, all while using new display technology. From Kickstarter projects like Pebble and Cookoo to offerings from larger companies like Casio and Toshiba, there are plenty of options for high-tech wrist accessories at CES. Make sure to keep checking in here if you're in the market for a watch that matches your technology-loving lifestyle.
Jan 10, 2013
Central Standard Timing's CST-01, an E Ink watch that's reasonably billed as the world's thinnest, has made its Kickstarter goal of $200,000 after less than two days. The watch went live Tuesday night, and it's already gotten around 1,600 backers, almost all of whom pledged either $99 or $129 to receive a watch when they're (theoretically) shipped in September. Of course, given how things worked out with the last big Kickstarter watch, that date could easily slip by if it keeps getting funded at this pace.Read Article >
Now that Pebble has announced it's shipping to Kickstarter backers on January 23rd, the company is finally ready to show off the final hardware and software on its smartwatch. We spent some time putting the watch through its paces and talking with CEO Eric Migicovsky, and we've come away more impressed than we expected with the Kickstarter phenomenon.Read Article >
Smartwatches are a big theme theme here at CES, but few have garnered the kind of interest that the Pebble has. One reason is that it is simple and straightforward: watchfaces, notifications, and music control are the headline features with only a few other odds and ends thrown in on the side. The other reason is that it simply looks great — nobody wants a monstrosity strapped to their wrist, no matter how functional.
The Pebble smartwatch is best-known for being a smash hit on Kickstarter. It broke records and leapt to a total of 85,000 orders by the time the campaign ended. The only thing left to do was ship, but unfortunately the company quietly announced a pair of delays that left an actual ship date in limbo — an unfortunately common problem with Kickstarter campaigns.Read Article >
Today at CES, CEO Eric Migicovsky announced that the company now has a firm shipping date for its backers: January 23rd. It will go out in batches, Migicovsky tells us, and it only recently ramped up to full production at its factory in China, producing around 15,000 of the watches each week.
Jan 9, 2013Read Article >
Late last year, Casio announced a new model of its popular G-Shock Bluetooth-connected watch for the Japanese market, and a company representative has informed The Verge that the new GB-5600A will be making its way to the United States by the end of this summer. Just like the GB-6900 that we reviewed last year, the GB-5600A syncs with your phone using Bluetooth 4.0 and notifies you of phone calls, emails, and alarms with a light vibration. The new GB-5600A is still durable, but its unique design is a bit more subtle than the first G-Shock model. Although the company's watches currently only sync with iOS, Casio hopes to add support for Android devices within the next six months. Casio has not yet fixed a price for the GB-5600A, but told us that it will likely cost about as much as the G-Shock at $180.
Evado Filip has announced the VivoPlay, "what is believed to be" the world's smallest location-tracking device that's designed to help parents and children keep in touch. It's a water-resistant, flexible device can be worn as a watch, or placed into custom accessories. The device uses GPS, Wi-Fi, and GSM to display the location of children, it and allows parents to control the messages and calls they can make via a smartphone app. The company says the device is intended to give parents better control over the messages their children send and receive from others, to reduce cyber bullying, sexting, and text message charges. The device allows parents to pre-authorize up to five phone numbers for children to call or text, effectively pre-screening their communications.Read Article >
The VivoPlay also offers parents the ability to establish "safety zones" to alert them if children enter or exit designated locations. The device also features an emergency button that will dial up to five pre-programmed numbers to alert those people about the child's location, and when activated, will begin to record and save audio and location information. The company says that it's working with "several" global carriers to bring the device to consumers, and will begin accepting pre-orders in Q2 2013 — but there's no price or firm release date yet.
Central Standard Timing is showing off what it's calling the "world's thinnest watch" at CES 2013: an E Ink watch that's a single, razor-thin cuff. The watch is 0.80 millimeters thin, and the company says that it was able to create it by laminating flexible components together into a single piece of flexible stainless steel. It feels as thin as it looks in the hand — so thin it's almost worrying. That said, we'd have no reservation about slapping one of these attractive timepieces on our bodies. CST says that the watch uses an embedded micro-energy cell that allows it to charge in 10 minutes from an external dock, and that it will last for 15 years.Read Article >
Central Standard Timing is asking for funding for the project on Kickstarter, with preorders being taken right now for $129 each, and an overall funding goal of $200,000. CST says that all watches are "planned to be assembled in the USA."
Jan 8, 2013
One up-and-comer in the smartwatch race is the Cookoo smartwatch, which is already shipping after it surpassed its Kickstarter goal. We stopped by to see the watch on the CES show floor this week, and were immediately taken by how basic the Cookoo is. Unlike products like the Pebble or MotoACTV, the Cookoo doesn't strive to provide anything more than alerts to your wrist. Alerts are provided in the form of a handful of icons that flash on the display that makes up the watch face. When you receive a notification, which is beamed from an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 over Bluetooth 4.0, the watch will vibrate and make an audible alert.Read Article >
Jan 8, 2013
Tucked away at the back of Toshiba's CES booth is a surprising and intriguing product — a prototype smartwatch that can pair with an iOS or Android phone and provide notifications, kind of like the famed Pebble smartwatch. Instead of using an "e-paper" display, however, Toshiba's watch has an OLED color display and ARM processor. We just got a chance to handle a hardware prototype, but unfortunately it didn't turn on — the only models with screens on were stuck behind glass. The prototype itself felt solid, if unremarkable, but it seems a bit more stylish than the average tech-focused smartwatch at first glance — the bands and colors felt similar to what you'd see on standard watches.Read Article >
According to the display in Toshiba's booth, the watch will include a variety of different watch faces and will feature a "web shop" for purchasing additional options, and an app will let you customize them to your liking. The time is set by whatever your phone is set to, and it includes built-in sensors to optimize the display for brightness and viewing angle. Once paired with your phone, the watch can alert you to calls, emails, calendar notifications, and can pull in news, weather, or even GPS directions. It also features a sensor that lets the watch recognize "its owners unique pulse pattern" — and if it doesn't recognize that pattern, the smartwatch functions are disabled for security. Unfortunately, there's no sense of when this watch will be available to consumers or how much it'll cost, but we're looking forward to seeing another option in the small but growing smartwatch segment.
Jan 6, 2013
The Leikr GPS sportswatch launched on Kickstarter last week, and we just had a chance to sit down with head of US product development Ryan Krems to take a look at their prototype and learn about how the company got its start. The team behind Leikr all previously worked at Nokia's now-closed Copenhagen office, and are all avid athletes. That focus on athletic usage shows up in Leikr's design — the watch is more functional than stylish. It features a two-inch color display with Gorilla Glass; the screen itself is reflective, so the colors are a bit more washed out than your average smartphone, but readability in the sun should be much improved. That's a major factor for the Leikr's target market, as is the quick GPS lock-on. While the watch's design isn't going to turn any heads, it should absolutely meet the needs of athletes who want to track their workouts.Read Article >
Krems also told us about Leikr's production goals — the first watches should be available to Kickstarter backers in June, and Leikr feels strongly that its background with production at Nokia will be a major factor in meeting those goals. Generally, the company's goal is to use its background in phones to push innovation in the smartwatch category; Krems feels that current products in the category have stagnated a bit, and hopes that Leikr will bring the rapid pace of phone innovation to the company's chosen market.
Jan 3, 2013Read Article >
Pebble, the massively successful smartwatch Kickstarter project, will make an announcement at CES. The invitation, seen above, tells backers that "it's time" and invites them to watch a livestream of the event on Pebble's site at 12pm ET on January 9th. Though all we're promised is "big news," the invitation hints at a possible product launch — something that's a bit overdue for Pebble. The watches were originally set to ship in September of 2012, but the challenge of producing enough for over 85,000 pre-orders (compared to an original planned run of 1,000) pushed that date back. Though Pebble hasn't given a timetable for shipment, it's previously said it's keeping to an "aggressive" production schedule, and CES provides both a major event to launch at and an opportunity to show it's keeping to that timetable.