Can't wait for an Apple iWatch? Here are the rivals: Pebble, Casio, Motorola and more
Apple is set to take the watch market by storm with its own offering. Several reports have noted that the folks within Cupertino's walls are working on the "iWatch", but none has offered a concrete date for when the company may roll out the product.
In the meantime, there are plenty of watches on the market that hook-up with mobile devices over Bluetooth, and in some cases NFC - heck, the "smart watch" was one of the stars of CES 2013. So, we've rounded-up some of the most popular out there and take a look at what's to come.
Fifth-generation iPod nano gone watch
While maybe not originally intended by Apple, one of the most frequent use cases for the 2010 generation of the iPod nano was as a watch. Several accessory manufacturers took the opportunity to develop wrist-bands for the nano's small form-factor. The 1.5-inch, 240 x 240 display offered a quick glance at the time thanks to its "Time On Wake" feature - displaying the current time when the wake button was hit.
Apart from accessing the other features the nano offers, such as music, there were few other smart features per se. At any rate, the 2010 version may have offered a look at where Apple is headed in this arena. Apple changed up the design of the nano with its 2012 version, moving away from the watch form-factor, but the 2010 version isn't hard to find, and relatively cheaply too.
With its beginnings on crowd-funding service Kickstarter, the Pebble has been one of the most popular and anticipated smart watches in recent months. It's just recently begun its attack on the market.
We got our first look at the Pebble smartwatch at CES 2013. The e-paper-enabled device is packed with features, complete with full iPhone and Android connectivity, thanks to Bluetooth. It hooks up to smartphones running iOS 5 and Android 2.3.3 and above.
Features for the Pebble include notifications for email, text messages, calls, and the ability to control music right from the watch. Pebble promises software updates every two to three weeks, offering new features and watch faces. It's begun shipping to early backers and will be available for the masses soon for $150.
At CES 2013 we also got a look at the i'm Watch's latest update, running on the i'm Droid 2 mobile OS based on Android 2.0. The watch features a 1.55-inch capacitive touchscreen that connects to devices via Bluetooth. It can access a slew of information such as Twitter, email, stock prices and even sports a microphone for calling right from the watch.
It's not a cheap endeavour by any means, priced at $349 and available now. We noted in our hands-on that it does have some issues, such as the need to charge it daily and the expense compared to a wave of cheaper, less-evolved devices about to come on to the market.
Casio G-Shock GB-6900AA
Casio has taken its line of indestructible G-Shock watches and built in Bluetooth capabilities. It resembles a normal watch that you'd picture in your head (and one also on the market without the tech spec). The Casio G-Shock GB-6900AA is available for $180 stateside (roughly £111) and comes in gloss black with a silver and black face, gloss blue with a silver and blue face, gloss brown with a silver and black face, and gloss white with a silver and white face.
Its smart functionality includes a sensor so you don't lose your mobile device, and features calls, email, and texting alerts that can be dismissed by tapping the face of the screen. Not to mention its resistance to shock and water. We were impressed with the GB-6900AA and its GB-5600A brother at CES 2013.
We'll be reviewing the UK edition of the Casio G-Shock GB-6900 on Pocket-lint soon.
We recently reviewed the Sony Smartwatch. While not the E Ink display we prefer in most cases, it does offer some cool companion apps for the smartphone.
But all in all, gestures were a mess, it was very thick, the screen wasn't all that good, and several features were finicky. We called it a step in the right direction for Sony's first-generation. It is available for £109.99.
Motorola's take on the smart watch was pretty good. Its lack of waterproofing was a little disheartening, but it did offer some great companion features for fitness and hooked up with a Motorola handset pretty well.
During a workout, your stats are displayed on the screen and you can swipe through different views. The total time sits at the top of the display and the default pace, calories, time and map route (which isn't especially useful on such a small display) can all be customised. It was more of a watch to take on Nike's fitness offerings.
Announced at CES 2013, we were really excited to get a look at the COOKOO watch. It is a watch that combines an analogue clock and digital display into one for $129.
It pairs only to iOS devices and offers notifications for incoming calls, missed calls, Facebook Messages and Posts, calendar reminders, and when your device is out of range or out of battery. It is now shipping, thanks to some Kickstarter funding and may be a big competitor to the Pebble.
There are a lot of smaller manufacturers taking on the smart watch market. But when a company like Apple or Google gets involved, things often change totally. We've heard plenty about Apple's plans, but as for Google, it looks like it's going to stick with Project Glass - wearable AR - for now. That's not to say it wasn't turned into an awesome mock-up complete with Google Now, as seen above, but a mock-up is all it's likely to be.
See anything we're missing? Tell us your favourite smartwatch, or just plain-old-watch for that matter, below.