Wearables came out in force for CES this year, and, naturally, watches are at the forefront of this still-growing mode of computing. New-and-improved devices like the Pebble Steel are leading the way, while efforts like the MetaWatch are forcing us to pay closer attention. This generation's crop of smartwatches differ from the last in their improved sense of design and aesthetic. Keep up with this stream to figure out which one you might finally want.
Jan 8, 2014
The electric grand prix: the world's first Formula E car packs a punch
Electric cars have a bad reputation as ugly, expensive, slow cars with limited range. Cars like the Tesla Model S have gone a long way towards reversing public opinion, but what if there was a Formula 1 for electric cars? Come this September, there will be: it's called Formula E, and we've just seen the series' very first race car here at CES. It's called the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, and it has been made in conjunction with legendary motorsport companies like McLaren, Williams, and Dallara.Read Article >
There's nothing slow about this electric car: it maxes out at roughly 140mph and accelerates from 0 - 62mph in just 3 seconds. But unlike its motorsport cousins powered by combustion engines, it sounds nothing like a race car. Former F1 driver Lucas di Grassi piloted the Spark-Renault around a small Las Vegas parking lot, and as he burned out and punched the accelerator the engine emitted a high-pitch buzzing sound. In truth, it sounds like a souped-up RC car, and compared to the deafening notes produced by traditional race cars, it's downright underwhelming. Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, told The Verge that they're not considering adding artificial sounds to the vehicles during races — the only time cars will make fake sounds is while they're driving down pit row, for safety reasons.
Jan 8, 2014
A quick look at MetaWatch's new premium smartwatch
MetaWatch's new Meta smartwatches are looking to be the answer to the plastic, nerdy-looking smartwatches that have flooded the market of late. Featuring a design by former Vertu designer Frank Nuovo, the new Meta watches give aesthetics and comfort as much priority as the watch's actual smart functionality.Read Article >
Though MetaWatch doesn't expect to launch the Meta until later this year, we were able to take a brief look an early prototype device. This particular unit had an aluminum chassis and leather wrist strap, but MetaWatch intends to produce versions with a variety of different materials and finishes.
Jan 7, 2014
Intel debuts a self-sufficient Smart Watch prototype
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has announced that Intel is developing its own Smart Watch, looking to compete with the likes of Pebble and Samsung in the wearable space. Unlike its competitors, the device needn't be tethered to a smartphone to function since it has its own connectivity. It also features geofencing, allowing it to give the wearer notifications based on location.Read Article >
Intel is paying greater attention to smaller devices this year, unveiling a range of wearable reference devices at the keynote. "Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren't yet solving real problems and they aren't yet integrated with our lifestyles," said Krzanich in a statement. "We're focused on addressing this engineering innovation challenge." Intel has also developed what it calls Intel Edison, a chip the size of an SD card and powered by Quark SOC that promises to turn devices like the smart watch prototype into wireless computers.
Jan 6, 2014
The striking Pebble Steel could change your mind about smartwatches
CES 2013 was the big coming-out party for the original Pebble smartwatch and now, a year later, CES 2014 is hosting the launch of the startup's second device, the Pebble Steel. It costs $100 more than the original — which will continue to be available as the entry-level Pebble — and adds a touch of classic watch design, underpinned by the use of higher-end materials.Read Article >
Sprouting as a Kickstarter success from the remains of the unfruitful inPulse smartwatch project, Pebble is a company familiar with both the ups and downs of the tech industry. It’s now riding the crest of a great wave of popularity that’s only been gaining momentum through the last year. What does 2014 hold for the small team from Silicon Valley?
Jan 6, 2014
A premium smartwatch? MetaWatch launches new brand with former Vertu designer
MetaWatch, the smartwatch company born from ex-Fossil engineers, is launching a new brand of devices called Meta. Meta watches differ from the company's earlier efforts in that they have as much of a focus on design and aesthetics as they do on functionality.Read Article >
One of the biggest criticisms leveraged against smartwatches is that they are just ugly and not something that most people care to wear on their wrists. MetaWatch's earlier models, the Strata and Frame, were more about utility than aesthetics, and aren't designs that appeal to fashion-conscious consumers (though the Frame is arguably still one of the better-looking smartwatches on the market). The Pebble has long been criticized for being too plasticky and cheap feeling, and while traditional watchmakers such as Citizen have entered the smartwatch market, they have yet to make much of a dent. For the most part, smartwatches are devices built by nerds for nerds, but not something the average watch buyer wants.