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This tiny disc turns analog watches into smartwatches

Watch enthusiasts may not want to exchange their timeless timepieces for short-lived smartwatches, but a new product can help give their analog pieces some of smartwatches' best tricks. The product, called Chronos, is a thin disc that sticks to the bottom of a watch and can vibrate and light up to alert you of notifications. Chronos does fitness tracking too, and it can also control a connected phone in basic ways, like declining calls or skipping ahead a track when listening to music.

Chronos does notifications and activity tracking

Chronos basically looks like a watch battery. It's just under 3mm thin, and there's a rubber surface on one side that forms a suction against the bottom of the watch it's connecting to. Putting a tiny flashing disc beneath a several hundred or several thousand dollar watch isn't necessarily the most elegant solution in the world, but it's a neat option for people who are interested in smartwatches but don't want to give up what they're currently wearing. The Chronos does add an appreciable thickness to the watch, setting it higher off of your wrist, but it isn't particularly noticeable when placed beneath a larger model.

The Chronos' main job is to alert wearers to incoming notifications. It doesn't vibrate for every notification, however, instead asking wearers to set up every app and every contact who they want to receive notifications from. Each can be set with different vibration patterns and different light colors. The lights can also be turned off, in case a person doesn't want their wrist flashing all the time, but Luke Fromowitz, Chronos' CTO, claims that this is actually something people are fond of, especially people with high-end watches. "They love it. They love the lights," he says. Apparently the lights make for a good conversation starter.

What the Chronos can do is obviously very limited — you can't read or reply to a text message, for instance — but it still gets at the core of modern smartwatches, which is enough to make it a passable substitute. The device works with both iOS and Android, and it's going up for preorder today for $99, with shipments starting in the spring.

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