Will.i.am's standalone smartwatch, the Dial, is now available to preorder in the UK. The device is an updated version of the Puls — a smartwatch we described as the "worst product we've touched all year" — and works without a tethered smartphone. This means you need to buy your own contract for it, though, and UK mobile operator Three is offering the Dial on a two-year contract from £24 a month with a £49 upfront payment. That's a total cost £625, or $911, which includes 500MB of data and 100 minutes of talk time each month.
The Dial includes its own ad-free music streaming service
The Dial has a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, 32GB of internal storage, and a 1.63-inch touch screen. Buyers will also get access to an ad-free music streaming service. This is powered by UK company 7Digital, reports Engadget, and doesn't eat into user's data allowance. There are no subscription costs, and no adverts — which is actually a pretty good bundle for this sort of device. However, the service isn't likely to be the most well stocked, and only offers 20 million tracks compared to the 30 million+ of Spotify and Apple Music.
The Dial also has its own built-in voice-activated digital assistant, a Siri and Alexa competitor named "AneedA." Users can sends texts, play music, call friends, and set alarms using the assistant, with will.i.am's company, i.am+, claiming that AneedA learns about the users' preferences and tailors its responses over time. We've not seen much of AneedA in action, although a promo video from i.am+ shows the assistant responding to the command "I'm lonely talk dirty to me," with: "What the fuck would you like me to say?"
"Swearier than Siri" is definitely one way to make your digital assistant stand out.