Smartwatches are everywhere this year, but with few exceptions, the majority of them suffer from a lack of style or design sense. Meta Watch is looking to capitalize on this opportunity with its new Meta M1, a smartwatch that puts premium materials and design on the same pedastal as functionality.
Originally expected this spring and first seen in prototype form at the CES trade show in January, the Meta M1 is available for preorder in a variety of finishes and band options starting today. The M1 Core can be had with a stainless steel case and rubber, leather, or steel bands for $249 to $349. The M1 Color offers a stainless case and white or red rubber band options for $249. The most premium model, the M1 Limited, offers a black case with brown leather strap or a rose gold plated case with a blue crocodile strap for $399. A black M1 Limited with a matching black steel band can be had for $449. Preorders are expected to ship in September of this year.
The watch was designed by Frank Nuovo, formerly of Nokia and Vertu. The strap pivot points are unique, allowing the watch to conform to a wearer's wrist more than a traditional design. The display is a monochrome affair, much like the Pebble and Pebble Steel, and it should be more readable outdoors than Meta Watch's earlier smartwatch designs.
Meta Watch has iOS and Android apps that pair with the M1, letting users customize the watch faces and notifications sent to their wrists. Meta Watch says it designed the M1 to provide glancable information, much like a traditional watch, and it lacks the voice control and extended app options of Android Wear devices.
The M1 could be the boutique smartwatch for those wanting something differentThe smartwatch market has changed dramatically over the course of this year, and Meta Watch is now entering a world where major players like Google and Samsung are spending a lot of money and resources. Its goal of offering a "classier" smartwatch is noble, but it will have to compete with the likes of Motorola's very attractive and likely more capable Moto 360, also due to be released in the near future. There's also the looming spectre of an Apple smartwatch, which many are convinced will be the product to upend the smartwatch and wearable world.
But Meta Watch doesn't necessarily have to be on every person's wrist to be considered a success — after all, there are thousands of traditional watch designs from just as many manufacturers on store shelves. Meta's premium designs and materials could make it more of a boutique option for those wanting a more unique and personal design than what everyone else is wearing, provided the smartwatch functions live up to Meta's promises.