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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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CES 2014: Apple's Competition in the Smart Watch Arena




CES 2014 has seen the introduction of a slew of new smart watches, spurred on by the popularity of early offerings like the Pebble and the ongoing rumors about Apple's prospective smart watch, the iWatch.

Major companies like Qualcomm, Sony, and Samsung have developed smart watches, as have a multitude of smaller companies. In a market now flooded with smart watch offerings, every company has made an attempt to distinguish its product from the masses, with some focusing on design while others add innovative features.

Our comprehensive list of the smart watches being displayed at CES, which is available below, gives a solid overview of the current state of the smart watch market and a glimpse at the products the iWatch will need to compete with upon its release.

Intel Smart Watch - During its keynote event at CES, Intel revealed its plans to focus heavily on wearables throughout 2014. As part of the presentation, the company showed off a prototype smart watch incorporating geofencing and location-based notifications designed to alert users when a child or family member has left a specific location. The watch was not an actual product, but the company has plans to release a similar device in 2014. (Image courtesy of Engadget)

Pebble Steel - Pebble's second-generation smart watch, called the Pebble Steel, retains the current Pebble functionality but features a new design with a stainless steel body and a leather or steel band. It is both slimmer and lighter than the original Pebble and also includes a face covered with Corning's scratch resistant Gorilla Glass. The Pebble Steel lasts for 5 to 7 days on a single charge, is waterproof, and will begin shipping on January 28 for $249. Pebble has also announced an app store that will be available to users in January and introduced new partnerships to bring additional functionality to the device.

Razer Nabu - Designed by computer peripheral manufacturer Razer, the Nabu smart band is a fitness band/smart watch hybrid. The Nabu is slim like a standard fitness tracker, but it includes two small OLED screens at 32x32 and 128x32, which display information about activity levels and notifications about texts, phone calls, and other social networking alerts. It includes an accelerometer, an altimeter, and a cylindrical vibration motor and lasts up to 10 days on a single charge. Nabu, which ships in the spring, also interacts in unique ways with other Nabu bands. For example a handshake between two Nabu wearers could allow the two to automatically exchange contacts on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. Nabu will be available for under $100.


Metawatch META - Metawatch is not new to smart watches, having previously released the both the Strata and the Frame, but it did debut a new high-end smart watch called the META at CES. META is focused on design, with classic stainless steel faceplates and bands available in a variety of styles. While little information is available on the META, it may function like Metawatch's previous offerings, providing users with customizable settings, notifications for calls and messages, music controls, and widgets displaying information like weather, time, and stocks. META is expected in the spring and pricing has yet to be announced.

Martian Notifier - From Martian Watches, the Martian Notifier looks like a classic wrist watch but is bundled with smart watch features, like notification alerts. The Notifier offers custom vibration patterns for different phone alerts including calls, messages, and social networking notifications. It also has a small OLED readout and works in conjunction with the Martian app, which is installed on a smartphone. The Martian Notifier will be available during the second quarter of 2014 for $129.

PHTL HOT - Originally a Kickstarter project, the HOT (Hands-On-Talk) smart watch is being demoed at CES. The watch comes in four different styles, from a basic rectangle to a slightly curved design, and sets itself apart from other smart watches by allowing voice calls to be placed directly from the device. HOT utilizes a directional speaker that is amplified by a cupped hand and it also incorporates an e-ink screen that responds to simple swipe gestures to bring up menu options. It also runs apps and boasts a 3 to 7 day battery life. HOT can be pre-ordered for $152 to $212 and will ship in March.

Archos SmartWatches -Archos, known for its tablets, has just come out with a line of basic, affordable smart watches designed to connect to phones via Bluetooth and deliver notifications. The cheapest $50 model features a 1.55-inch E-ink display with a 1.5 week battery life. A second $100 model includes an 1.8-inch LCD touchscreen with one to two days of battery life and the third high-end model, with a curved E-ink display and a 1.5 week battery life, will retail for $129. Archos will make these available later in 2014.

Kreyos Meteor - Originally an Indiegogo project, the Kreyos Meteor is being displayed at CES this week. The Meteor features a waterproof plastic body and bands in an array of colors, along with a speaker and a microphone that support voice and gesture commands. Four different wrist gestures can be used to activate customized actions and the watch display offers notification alerts. It also includes a built-in activity tracker to measure fitness levels and a removable face that can be placed in different bands, in a belt clip, or a neck lanyard. Priced at $169.95, the watch can be pre-ordered and will ship in March of 2014.

Sonostar - The Sonostar SmartWatch incorporates a 1.73-inch curved touch screen with an E-ink display. Like other watches on the market, it connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and displays notifications from social networks, calls, messages, and emails. It also connects to sports-oriented apps developed by the company. Priced at $179, the Sonostar SmartWatch will be available for purchase during the first quarter of 2014.

Neptune Pine - Originally a Kickstarter project, Neptune's Pine is a bit different from connected smart watches as it is designed to be a standalone device that makes phone calls and sends SMS messages. Running Android Jelly Bean, Neptune has a 2.4-inch touch screen, a full keyboard, cameras, a complete web browser, and it runs a full catalog of apps. It also includes several fitness-oriented add-ons, including GPS, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and more. Pine, which requires a SIM card, features eight hours of talk time and can be removed from the band and placed into other accessories. It can be pre-ordered for $335 and ships in March of 2014.

MyKronoz - MyKronoz has a range of Swiss-designed smart watches with varying price points and designs. Its newest and most advanced version, the ZeNano, pairs with an iPhone via Bluetooth and features a 1.54-inch full color LCD screen. ZeNano connects to a set of included earphones and can make phone calls, read texts, record voice memos, accept voice commands, and stream music. ZeNano will be available soon for $130.

ConnecteDevice Cogito - ConnecteDevice, the company behind the Cookoo smart watch, has two new products available at CES: the Cogito and the Cogito Pop. Both watches have standard analog faces, but connect to a phone via Bluetooth and support notifications from calls, messages, and social networks. Notifications can be dismissed right on the watch, as can incoming calls. The Cogito is the more sophisticated version of the watch, while the simpler Cogito Pop comes in a wide range of colors. Both watches incorporate a standard watch battery that does not need to be charged. The Cogito is priced at $179 while the Cogito Pop is $129 and both watches are currently available for pre-order.

As can be seen above, the majority of the smart watches available today suffer from a similar problem: bulkiness. Most of these devices are thick, heavy, and restrictive, with many of the products focused towards a male demographic. Additionally, all of these products essentially perform the same functions - connecting a smartphone to a wrist worn device - with little innovation to be found among them.

The current crop of smart watches give a look at problems that Apple might face with its future iWatch. Creating a design that is functional but unobtrusive and suited to a wide range of wrist sizes is clearly not an easy task, nor is fitting multiple sensors and innovative features into a such a small device.

Rumors have suggested that Apple might deal with some of the aforementioned issues by releasing the iWatch in multiple sizes, and the company is also said to be incorporating many health-oriented features to set the iWatch apart from its competition.

At the current point in time, Apple is reportedly working on overcoming developmental issues relating to the iWatch's screen and battery life, and while it is unknown when the product might appear, rumors have pointed to a late 2014 release date.

Along with Apple, major tech companies like Google and Microsoft are also said to be developing their own smart watch solutions to be released in the future.

Article Link: CES 2014: Apple's Competition in the Smart Watch Arena
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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As I gloss over those, still waiting patiently for the iWatch.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:11 PM   #3
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Unusual to see Apple behind on things.


Guess I am wrong and stand sooooo corrected. Thanks all.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:12 PM   #4
Osullivan1
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The bands look way nicer than the watch-type ones...

I think the real competition will come later on in the year... and when I say competition, I mean, more stuff that will instantly look old when the iWatch actually comes out.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:12 PM   #5
cymerc
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These all seem so reminiscent of tablets pre-iPad. They look like people are making a smart watch, not because they have a good idea for how they should work, but because they know they should make a smart watch.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:12 PM   #6
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I don't think watches should be things that require charging every single day.

Hopefully, when Apple enter the market they do so as they always have - with a device that has far superior battery life.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:13 PM   #7
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Incorrect Pebble Steel Battery Life

The Pebble Steel lasts 5-7 days on a single charge, not 10 hours (which would render the watch essentially useless).
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:13 PM   #8
cymerc
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Originally Posted by firedept View Post
Unusual to see Apple behind on things.
Not really, people made tablets for YEARS before the iPad. They were all terrible though. Just like these watches.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:14 PM   #9
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I'm not going to lie: some of those watches look good.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:14 PM   #10
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The Pebble Steel lasts 5-7 days on a single charge, not 10 hours (which would render the watch essentially useless).
Thanks! Fixing now.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:14 PM   #11
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ugly.... Maybe I'll bust out my calculator watch, they used to be cool too...
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:14 PM   #12
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It would be hilarious if Apple didn't release a "smart watch" after all.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:15 PM   #13
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Finally! A portable way to know that I'm getting text messages, e-mail as well as check time!! It's like they should have invented something similar years ago... oh wait.

I hope this market fails to catch on as I truly do not see a point to it. Is it just to show off that you're wearing a watch that notifies you what's happening on the phone in your pocket? With flexible, full-featured smartphones coming I see potential for a wrist-based product but these little companion products are useless.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:15 PM   #14
Osullivan1
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Originally Posted by firedept View Post
Unusual to see Apple behind on things.
They're not behind, just taking their time to get it right.

Most of these guys are rushing them out because their products won't look good enough after the iWatch comes out.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:15 PM   #15
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Unusual to see Apple behind on things.
Well, they weren't the first to release a portable media player, pda/phone, tablet, set-top box, or laptop. They weren't the first to release just about anything. About the only things they released to the consumer before anyone else were an all-in-one computer and a fully functioning graphical user interface.

----------------------------

I am truly disappointed by the offerings of the competition. One thing I hope is that Apple allows for third party wristbands for the iWatch because I have always had a TERRIBLE time finding watches that fit my neanderthal wrists.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:15 PM   #16
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The iPod Nano watch is missing from list.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:16 PM   #17
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Unusual to see Apple behind on things.
Perfection takes time.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:17 PM   #18
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Wow.. I just realized that I definitely don't need a "smart" watch..
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:18 PM   #19
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The Sonostar is the only one which looks decent. All the others are still slaves the old-fashioned "watch" paradign.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:18 PM   #20
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The iPod Nano watch is missing from list.
Image
Wasn't announced at CES...
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:23 PM   #21
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I am having a hard time understanding how a product like this would improve my life. I use my iPhone as my timepiece because I dislike wearing watches so I guess this product really isn't for me anyway.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:23 PM   #22
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I'm hoping for a $99 iwatch. Who wears a watch any more? You want to win me over? Make it cool and buyable with disposable income. I won't pay $250 for a watch.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:24 PM   #23
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A truly sad lot unworthy of the word 'competition'. The question is not whether Apple's engineers could easily trounce these pathetic offerings and get the 15 sales necessary to become #1 in smart watches, but whether they could make a product that is actually worthwhile.

So far nobody has given a satisfactory answer to the question of what a smart watch can do so much better than the phone we are carrying anyways that it justifies spending hundreds of dollars on another device, charging it regularly, and restricting our choice of style to just a couple options.
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:26 PM   #24
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So with this crowded field, it's a good thing that Apple won't be releasing a "smart watch."
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 01:28 PM   #25
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These things remind me of Tiger wrist games from back in the 90s. Or like the old Casio calculator watch. Total novelties, gimmicky, and essentially useless with no real value proposition.

They're all just jumping on the bandwagon with no real critical thinking, no purpose, just tossing something out there because they think its the "next hot thing."

Just like the flood of tablets at CES '10 before the iPad was announced. They instantly became worthless and obsolete just a few weeks later. Its too bad Apple probably isn't announcing their supposed wearable this month like they did with the iPad. But I'd much rather wait and have Apple announce something that will leave the phonies jaws on the floor, scrambling aimlessly.
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