Will.i.am debuts ‘Puls’ smartwatch with built-in 3G connection and voice-controlled interface

SONY DSC

Image via The Next Web

Pop musician Will.i.am has just taken the wraps off of his first wearable, the Puls smartwatch, during Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2014 conference (via The Next Web). The watch ships with a software suite that includes Facebook and Twitter connectivity, Instagram, and even integration with Salesforce. It also features a voice control system dubbed “Aneeda” that’s powered by Nuance. Aneeda also supports basic features such as reminders, music control, alarms, and more.

On the hardware side, the watch sports standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections along with a pedometer, GPS, acceleromter, and even a 3G connection powered by AT&T (or O2 in the UK) that will allow users to place calls or send text messages and emails without pairing the Puls with a phone at all. The battery is built into the strap, providing plenty of space beneath the face for the other internal components, which includes 16 GB of storage space and a full gigabyte of RAM. It also has built in speakers for music and alerts.

Read more

Intel-owned Basis announces new iOS-compatible ‘Peak’ smart watch

 

Screenshot 2014-09-30 12.22.43

Basis, a company backed by Intel, has announced a new smart watch compatible with iOS devices that places a focus on health and fitness applications. The device is capable of keeping track of several health-related data points, such as steps, calories, heart rate, prespiration, the temperature of your skin, and in-depth information about your sleep habits.

The Peak doesn’t yet support basic smart watch features like email and text notifications, but Basis says those functions will come in a future software update.

The company says that the device will be available by the holidays, meaning it will beat Apple’s own market entry to shelves. Pricing? $199 in either black or white finishes, which means it comes in under the Apple wearable. You can see photos and the full press release for the Peak below:

Read more

Pebble Steel smartwatch leaks: metal & Gorilla Glass version on the way (Update: Announced)

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

Left: Pebble Steel. right: original plastic Pebble

If you like the functionality of the Pebble smartwatch but are less keen on the plastic finish, it looks like you won’t have long to wait for a metal version. We’ve seen a couple of leaks of the Pebble Steel, seemingly the exact same innards as the existing Pebble watch but with a stainless steel casing and Gorilla Glass.

There are said to be two versions, one in brushed stainless steel (shown alongside the original plastic version above) and a matte black one (shown below the fold) …  Read more

Qualcomm gets in on Bluetooth beacon action with iBeacon competitor

Apple’s iBeacons aren’t the only Bluetooth LE beacons available, but they have so far been the default option for retailers thanks to the backing of such a well-known company. Qualcomm, which makes wireless chips for Apple among many others, may be aiming to change that with its launch of its own beacons from just $5 each.

Gimbal proximity beacons, available in two models, are accurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors […]

Depending on volume, Series 10 beacons [for indoor use] are available for as little as $5 each and Series 20 beacons [weatherproof version] are available for as little as $10 each.

While the move represents competition for Apple, it’s good news for iOS users …  Read more

Pebble smart watch announces Best Buy as exclusive retail launch partner, available online today & in stores July 7

Yesterday we noted that Best Buy retail sources indicated the popular ‘Pebble’ Bluetooth smart watch would be landing on at least some of the retailer’s store shelves this weekend. Today Pebble and Best Buy have finally made things official by announcing the partnership that will bring the most successful Kickstarter-backed device of all time to both Best Buy online and across all its U.S. brick and mortar locations.

It’s definitely big news for the company ahead of Apple’s rumored smart watch, as well as Sony and others getting deeper into the space. The exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy also marks Pebble’s first retail launch of the device following raising over $10.2 million from around 68,000 backers on Kickstarter.

“It’s been so rewarding to see and share the great things our early backers and development partners have done with Pebble already,” says CEO Eric Migicovsky. “Their work and our evolving app ecosystem has kept demand very high. Best Buy’s partnership with us is a big step towards meeting that demand.”

As we first reported yesterday, Pebble confirmed today that the device will be landing in all U.S. Best Buy locations starting Sunday, July 7, and Jet black and Cherry red editions of the smart watch are already available through Best Buy’s website. The Jet black models will be shipping starting today through the retailer’s online store, while the Cherry red models will arrive sometime later in August.

The packaging for Pebble also appears to have received an upgrade for Best Buy’s store shelves since we first saw it back in January right before the device started shipping to Kickstarter backers:

Read more

Best Buy apparently set to sell Pebble smart watch beginning this weekend (Update: confirmed)

Update: (10am ET) The link is now live at Best Buy

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.31.47 AM

pebble

At least some Best Buy retail stores in the United States will begin selling the Pebble smart watch this weekend, according to claims from two Best Buy employees. Both of these people say that they were briefed by management that their stores will begin selling the smart watch. Additionally, one source provided the above image which purportedly shows the Pebble smart watch in Best Buy’s internal inventory system. The inventory system classifies the product as a “digital communication appcessory,” which we feel is an apt description of the Pebble…

Read more

Bloomberg: Apple to release its iWatch within 9 months

iWatch-Concept-slap-bracelet

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device. At the time, we noted that all the recent rumors and intel surrounding the iWatch seemed like the lead up to an impending product launch. Bloomberg is out with a new report today, claiming Apple will indeed launch its watch product in 2013:

Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year, this person said. Apple has filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word “wrist,” including one for a device with a flexible screen, powered by kinetic energy… The watch business is experiencing a renaissance reminiscent of the cell phone industry before the iPhone.

The report added information about some of the potential features of the device that we had also heard of previously, including the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps, and record health data via various sensors:

Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.

Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen estimated Apple could generate $6 billion of the approximately $60 million in sales he expects the global watch industry to bring in during 2013. As pointed out by Bloomberg, gross margins are roughly four times bigger than TVs, which would only bring about $1.79 billion in gross profit for the company compared to $3.6 billion for watches.

Former creative director at Nike Scott Wilson told Bloomberg that Apple’s Jonathan Ive “has long had an interest in watches.” Read more

Here’s all of the public information on Apple’s watchmaking activity

Apple-iWatch-Concept-01

Since the old iWatch rumor reared its head again in December, there have been a few more reliable sources adding weight to the idea that we could see a smart watch from Apple this year. Over the weekend, The New York Times, which said essentially the same thing in 2011, followed up the rumors with a report that Apple is working on a curved glass watch prototype running iOS. The Wall Street Journal quickly followed with more information, claiming Apple and partner Foxconn are now testing wearable, watch-like devices.

While many have speculated what Apple might include in an iWatch, such as Apple employee #66 and founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group Bruce Tognazzini, all we get from reports is “curved glass” and “iOS”. Apple has clearly been testing wearable prototypes with several patents dating as far back as 2009, describing potential integration with wristwatches and iOS devices. By taking a look at the technology for watches that Apple is already experimenting with through the many publicly available patents, we put together a list of some of the features the company could very well include in an Apple-branded smart watch. Read more

Founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group talks potential for an iWatch

iWatch-concept-02

Bruce Tognazzini, Apple employee #66 and founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group, published his thoughts on a potential smart watch product from the company (via MG Siegler) yesterday. While we have seen the launch of several Bluetooth smart watch products from startups this year, Tognazzini thought a watch from Apple could “have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.” One of the many interesting ideas Tognazzini has about how Apple might take advantage of a wearable device is the ability to build better maps:

Using pressure data from millions of watches, Apple could build a precision altitude map of the world. This map would indicate true altitudes everywhere that iWatch wearers travel. The granularity would be several orders of magnitude greater than ever before attempted for a wide-area map at a cost several orders of magnitude less than Flyover.

In the article, Tognazzini explained what he thought will be the standout features of an iWatch from Apple. While outlining the some of the apps you might expect like fitness and remote control applications, he said Passcodes and enhanced Find My iPhone features would be the two killer apps:

Read more

Review: Bluetooth 4.0 ‘Passport’ smart watch from Martian Watches

Martian-Watches-Passport-03There were more than a few Bluetooth-enabled smart watches on display at CES this year. We were on-hand for the official press unveiling of the Pebble e-paper watch, which is expected to start shipping to over 80,000 backers later this month. We also spotted Martian Watches, CooKoo, I’mWatch, and a small handful of other watches designed to pair and work with your iPhone or other mobile devices. Many have seen the Pebble, up until now, as the frontrunner mainly due to the 10 million in funding it raised through Kickstarter. While rumor has it Apple is interested in creating a smart watch of its own, we will hear a lot more about smart watches in 2013 if CES is any indication. Over the past week and a half, I had the chance to put one of these smart watches to the test: the Bluetooth 4.0 “Passport” from Martian Watches.

A few things to note right off the bat: First, unlike the Pebble and I’m Watch, which integrate a larger display, the focus of Martian Watches is voice command. There is some debate whether a smart watch, one that the average iPhone user might use on a daily basis, should resemble an iPod nano-like touchscreen or a more traditional timepiece design. Martian Watches is going with the latter, but it integrates a small 96-by-16 pixel OLED display capable of displaying notifications and scrolling text for incoming messages and calls.

While Pebble and others hope to create an ecosystem of third-party apps that can run on small, touch-enabled displays, the name of the game is voice command for Martian Watches. That means, in the case of iPhone users, you’ll be able to activate and control Siri right from your wrist. It also means as Siri improves and adds more functionality, your Martian Watch does too. However, Martian packs some other non-Siri features that make it a true competitor to the other Bluetooth smart watches hitting the market…

Read more