Tag: Smartwatch

By November 26, 2013 Read More →

Qualcomm Toq Smartwatch Available for Pre-Order in the US

toq_preorderToday Qualcomm announced that their Toq Smartwatch is officially available for pre-order from their Toq Store with a $350.00 price tag attached to it. Available in black and white the Toq will ship in 1-3 weeks with the charges to your Credit card only taking place after the smartwatch has shipped. Unfortunately the wearable is not available internationally and we will; just have to wait. However, we are surprised at this price point, it’s more expensive than the Galaxy Gear.  On the plus side, the Toq SmartWatch is compatible with most Android powered handsets, so you don’t have to worry about compatibly issues.

If you are interested you can head on over to the Toq Store and check out all the details.

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By November 20, 2013 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy Gear shipping higher amounts than anticipated

Galaxy-Gear-006-Set1-Front_SixDespite critical reviews and an unappealing price-tag, it appears that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch is turning out to be a solid success. According to a couple of reports, Samsung has shipped around 800,000 units to retailers world-wide. Additionally, 50,000 units have already been actually sold to customers in South Korea alone. This has far surpassed Samsung’s own initial expectations. These numbers also put it far ahead of competing devices from both Pebble and Sony.

Samsung issued a statement regarding the surprise success of the device, “It’s the most sold wearable watch available in the market place…and we plan to expand its availability by expanding mobile devices that work with the Gear.”

One of the reasons for the increased success of the device can mainly be attributed to incentive programs to help push the device out the door. This includes bundling it with the Galaxy Note III, and there were even UK carriers currently offering it for free if customers purchase the Note III on a two-year contract.

Of course, there have also been reports that up to 30% of consumers in the U.S. have returned the device, which does not bode well for its future sales. It will be interesting to see how the sell-through numbers match up with the shipping to retail numbers when everything is finally tallied. Regardless, shipping out 800,000 units to retailers in only 2 months is nothing to sniff at.

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By November 4, 2013 Read More →

Casio G-Shock GB6900 review

Casio G-Shock GB6900 reviewSmart watches – Is less information more useful?

There has been much talk recently about the subject of wearable technology in general and smart watches in particular with many of the main players in the mobile phone industry already making or rumoured to be about to announce products.

These devices are including more and more features and often have full versions of Android installed as their operating systems

A few established watch manufacturers have also now started to get in on the game. The subject of this review comes form Casio and is part of their long established G-Shock line of watches.

A bit of history of the Casio G-Shock GB6900

Casio Launched their first G-Shock watch back in 1983 and many of the early styles have gone through an evolution process that has seen them gain solar battery charing and atomic time keeping. Arguably the most advanced pair (the GB5600 and GB6900) now also incorporate Bluetooth 4.0 LE technology.

Both of these watches are the most iconic styles that Casio produce. The design of the GB6900 dates back to 1994 and has been worn by many musical stars and this led to a large number of collaborations with various clothing manufacturers.

On to the Casio G-Shock GB6900 review

Photo 05-08-2013 04 59 56 pmI started becoming interested in G-Shocks at the beginning of the year and the GB6900 was the second one I purchased. I was lucky enough to pick mine up for a very good price during a sale in the summer at the Casio shop in Covent Garden in London.

The version that I have currently sells for around £130 on Amazon UK. A second generation device has now been released that sells for around £50 more. I will go into some of the differences later in the article.

The watch is first and foremost a G-Shock watch and all of the most expected functions are present. These include world time, 5 alarms, stop watch and countdown timer. The watch is 200m water resistant and is regarded as a very rugged watch. Vey similar watches are used by many military and law enforcement personnel as well as being certified for use by NASA!

An additional feature found on the GB6900 is of course bluetooth 4.0 low energy connectivity to Apple and Android smartphones. All Apple iPhones since the 4S support BT4.0 LE but so far only limited Android devices have been supported. This has been due to limitations on both the hardware and software sides but more will be supported going forward.

One of the slightly irritating aspects of G-Shock watches is that reading the instruction manual is  almost essential. This is especially true of the bluetooth pairing process. It is easy enough to do and once you’ve done it once, you’ll be able to do it again easily but reading the instructions is required .

What can it do?

P1120357On the iPhone you can be alerted (by sound, vibration or both) of incoming calls, new emails, twitter notifications (mentions and timeline update – Advice on this, turn timeline updates off!), Facebook notifications, Weibo (a Chinese social network), calendar alerts and reminders. Apart from the incoming call alert, none of the notifications are pushed to you. They are instead checked on a 5, 10 or 15 minute schedule and the times can all be set independently. of each other.

Anything else?

One semi-useful feature is that by pressing a button on the watch, the connected phone will play a tone so that you can find it if you’ve put it down somewhere and can’t find it easily. The reason that this is only semi-useful is that the two devices need to be connected to each other. This means you need to be in range of where the watch actually is so you’d stand a good chance of finding it pretty easily anyway.

The time on the watch can also be automatically updated to match that of the phone. This is very useful when traveling across different timezones.

What does the V2 have that the V1 does not?

The second generation device adds additional features which seem like they would be quite useful. The watch can control music playback on the phone and the phone can be used to set alarms on the watch! They seem like good additions but are they worth the extra money? I would say that they aren’t and that is because of one reason!

Simplicity.

Photo 15-09-2013 12 55 19 pmHave you ever been in a situation where you just simply don’t hear or feel your phone ringing? Have you ever been waiting for an important call or email to come in and sat there waiting with your phone in your hand? This watch solves the problem as the vibration alert is just right to get your attention and give you just enough information to deal with what ever it is. You know that you’ve got a call or who the email is from. You can then deal with it on your smartphone or ignore it.

Some of the competing devices that are more full functioned would have you trying to use them to do tasks that would be much better performed on the phone. These other devices would also need to be charged up at best every few days. Not so the GB6900! Casio estimate that the battery will last for 2 years if you connect it to your phone for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In practice I find that I have it connected when I know that I’m going to be moving about and disconnect when I’m staying in one place. It is only a 3 second button press to turn the connection on and off and it’s all done from the watch.

If you forget that it’s got the bluetooth at all, it’s still a great standalone G-Shock watch and excellent for any physical activities. It’s got a great backlight that is activated by pressing the “G” button on the front. It’s available in lots of different colours and best of all if you want to change the colour of the one you already have, different straps and covers can be purchased for around £30 to £50 for everything required.

Over all I would say that if you want a rugged and water resistant watch that can also connect to your smartphone to provide limited but useful information when you need it then it’s a real winner

What’s not so good?

It’s quite a large watch and might not look so great with a suit or smart clothes especially if you chose one of the more vibrant colour schemes. Mine spends most of the time in a matt back colour scheme rather that the metallic brown seen in most of the pictures in the review and it only takes a couple of minutes to swap over. The only bothersome part is finding a screwdriver the correct size to remove the 4 tiny screws holding the bezel on.

Due to the size it also might not suit you if you have a very small wrist. Ive found it to be an exceptionally comfortable watch as despite looking a large watch it is very light and the resin strap is very flexible.

Pros

  • Easy set up (if you read the manual)
  • Standard G-Shock feature set
  • Very comfortable
  • Looks cool

Cons

  • Quite large
  • Does not go well with formal clothing
By October 23, 2013 Read More →

HTC doing a Smartwatch too?

HTC_one_watchHTC is planning to launch their own smartwatch competitor to the Galaxy Gear. They are also apparently coming out with a new tablet which they claim will be “disruptive” to the market. Today, more details were released by Bloomberg on HTC’s plans. As business has continued to deteriorate for HTC, they are grasping at straws for any opportunity to get a product to gain headway in the market.

Here’s a quote with a bit more:

Dwindling market share for HTC smartphones led to the company’s first quarterly loss and a 54 percent slump in its share price this year as it loses ground to Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world’s biggest producer. The smartwatch will join a growing segment of wearable technology that already includes devices from Samsung and Sony Corp.

Here’s another quote from CEO Peter Chou in a BGR article:

“It has to meet a need, otherwise if it’s just a gimmick or concept, it’s not for people’s day-to-day lives. That is an opportunity for us,” Chou said of smartwatches. “People laughed at us when we came out with the first smartphone… Now everyone has a smartphone. I’m pretty sure wearables will be the same, but don’t judge from what is in the market [now].”

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By October 7, 2013 Read More →

Samsung developing its answer to Google Glass

Google GlassSeems that everyone wants to get their hands on Google Glass and the massive demands has apparently been too much for Samsung to ignore and rumour has it that the Korean giant has decided to work on its own “Gear Glass” hardware.

In a tweet from Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, he states:

Samsung developing own version of Google Glass. We will see it (probably) around april-may under Gear Glass brand.

There are no further details as yet but it certainly would make sense for Samsung to release another wearable product to compliment their Galaxy Gear Smartwatch.

According to retailers, the demand for the Smartwatch 2 has been so high that they are unable to satisfy the existing demand and the back-order list is growing daily.

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