Run by former Nokia and Fossil execs, and previously available in beta for Android devices only, Meta Watch officially launched its smartwatch platform today that interfaces with iOS—the first of its kind to utilize the low energy Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The watch works with an iOS app for customizing which notifications will pop up on its display. Notifications consist of the usual phone calls and messaging, but developers have access to an API that will allow them to send almost anything to the device.
The company previously had issues getting the platform to run smoothly due to limitations of iOS. However, thanks to Bluetooth 4.0, the device featuring a 96-by-96-pixel LCD display is now slated to ship sometime this month for $199. The Meta Watch is clearly still more of a development kit than an end-user product at this point, but with six fully programmable buttons, a 3-axis accelerometer, vibrating motor, ambient light sensor, and of course Bluetooth 4.0, there is a ton that devs will be able to do with the device.
As more and more large tech companies continue to experiment with new wearable form factors that interface with—and possibly even replace—our smartphones and tablets, we have been big proponents of a Bluetooth, wearable iPod nano-like wristwatch. Most of the other interesting new products, such as Kickstarter project Pebble, are also now planning to integrate Bluetooth 4.0.
Apple has sold watchstraps for iPod Nanos for some time and recently launched a refreshed Nano lineup that included a new UI and 16 watch faces. However, companies like I’m Watch, Sony, and now Meta Watch are aiming to provide platforms that go beyond the Nano’s current capabilities by offering access to everything from messaging to (sometimes) more traditional smartphone apps. In 2011, we made the case for Apple turning its Nano lineup into a wearable iOS accessory with help from Bluetooth 4.0.
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