In news reported by the BBC, it seems that Swatch‘s opposition to Apple‘s application for an iWatch trademark in the UK resulted Apple’s smartwatch simply being branded “Apple Watch”. Overall, the ruling from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office upheld Swatch’s complaint that iWatch was too similar to iSwatch and Swatch, and shouldn’t be used for watches. Although we can’t be privy to the internal thinking of Apple, one could infer that the inability to claim the iWatch trademark in key markets back in 2014 killed iWatch in favour of Apple Watch when announced in 2015.
The whole ruling is here, but aside from the trademark evidence, decision-making and ruling, there’s some interesting commentary on the use of shell company registrants, in this case BrightFlash USA LLC to hide the actions of Apple. If I read the judgement correctly (and I’m certainly not a lawyer), Swatch had tried to accuse Apple of “bad faith” by using BrightFlash to register the trademark, but the registrar dismisses the complaint and Swatch has to to pay Apple GB£2,767 on balance. You win some, you lose some.
Fitbit has continued the refresh of its fitness tracker range with new iterations of the Flex and Charge HR models. The Flex 2 is a direct replacement for the original Flex and the Charge 2 takes over from the Charge HR. If you were wondering, the Alta took over from the standard Charge.
As with the original the Flex, the Flex 2 comprises a small capsule tracker fitted into a range of bands, bangles and pendants to suit the activity. The key point about the Flex range is that its swim-proof, making it the essential tracker for the swimmer. As with the first one, the Flex 2 uses the same LED dots to denote steps taken, albeit in a different orientation. The new tracker auto recognises exercise and notifies on calls or texts coming into your mobile phone. As before, the Flex 2 shows steps taken, calories burned and records sleep. I’m slightly disappointed that the wristband (available in four colours for now) doesn’t have a standard buckle to avoid loss, but it does appear to have been re-designed. Pre-order in the UK for just under GB£80. Expected to ship in October.
The new Charge 2 falls into FitBit’s Active Fitness range and takes the fitness tracker to the next level, with multisport tracking, cardio fitness level and guided breathing sessions. Of course it measures paces, steps, calories, steps, sleep and heart rate as the original Charge HR (although the HR moniker has been dropped) and it now has connected GPS, which means that the Charge 2 can use the paired phone’s GPS to track routes. The Charge 2’s screen is customisable and there’s a choice of clock faces.
An improvement on the original is that the wristbands can be switched out, with a tasty looking leather band available (at GB£59.99 mind you!) The screen’s bigger as well and can show calendar alerts in addition to calls and texts. If the Charge 2 appeals, it can be pre-ordered for GB£129.99 for delivery in 2-3 weeks.
I’m currently testing the Charge HR, courtesy of Fitbit, and I’ll be reporting on my impressions of that soon.
Despite the introduction of Apple Watch and the lineup of Android Wear watches, Pebble remains, somewhat at least, the darling of the market. While not the first smartwatch, it was the first to make an impact on the market.
Since the days of its debut, the company has released other models like Pebble Time, which brought a color screen and more features.
The watch maker has launched three new models on Kickstarter now. The Pebble 2 is an updated version of the original model, adding a heart rate monitor and activity tracking. It’s selling for $99.
The Pebble Time 2 “delivers the ultimate pro smartwatch with a larger, color e-paper screen and heart rate monitoring”. It will be selling for $169.
The Pebble Core isn’t a watch, but it promises phone-free fitness tracking along with GPS and music for only $69.
“Bringing delightful, affordable wearable technology to the world is the puzzle Pebble lives to solve. Our latest vision for the future is almost complete. We’re back on Kickstarter for the most important piece…You”, the company concludes.
You can find all three devices here.
Undoubtedly smart watches have their place but few watch aficionados are going to replace their Swiss timepiece with a mass-produced device of limited lifespan. MainTool have a potential answer for those who want both the horology and the smarts. Andrew finds out more from Asier.
The MainTool’s concept is simple. Instead of building the sensors into the watch, put the electronics into the leather strap. Brilliant! Like many activity trackers, the MainTool smart strap measures steps, heart rate, sleep and temperature. For smartphone owners, the strap provides alarms and call notifications passed from the phone via Bluetooth. Calls can be rejected from the MainTool strap too. As expected, there’s a complementary smartphone app.
On the practical side, the MainTool smart strap is waterproof and has around 2-3 weeks of battery life. The picture shows the naked electronics before it’s put inside the leather strap.
Aimed at the B2B market, expect to see this coming to market within the next few months.
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The Gator watch phone and tracker is for kids who need a little independence but are too young for a smartphone. Andrew interviews Colleen from Techsixtyfour to find out the benefits of this Tracy-esque watch.
The Gator watch looks like a stylish smart watch with both analogue and digital displays, but it’s also a wearable mobile phone that lets the child call two pre-defined numbers, e.g. mum and dad, whenever needed. The watch can only receive calls from registered numbers so while family and friends can call the child, there’s no danger of strangers or bullies calling. For further peace of mind, parents can track the location of the child on a map.
The SIM card inside works with multiple carriers to minimise the risk of being in a dead spot and the Gator can roam through most of the EU. Battery life is around 4 days.
The Gator will be shipping next month and can be pre-ordered for GB£89. The RRP will be £99 when on-sale. A mobile contract is needed too, costing £9 per month.
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To be honest, I’ve been completely underwhelmed by the smartwatches to date but this new Casio WSD-F10 has definitely piqued my interest. In some ways it’s obvious – don’t try to be a smartwatch that looks like an analogue watch. Embrace the digital watch and pump it up to eleven. That’s the way to go. Anyway, enough of my musings, here’s the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10.
Casio America, Inc has announced that it will release the WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch, a toughened Android Wear wrist device with 50m water resistance. Well-known for the G-Shock range, Casio has continued to develop wrist devices from digital watches to PDAs and phones.
The new WSD-F10 is designed for the outdoors, boasting water resistance for use in rain and around water (as an aside, 50m is a kind of a notional depth: it’s not actually waterproof to 50m. If you wanted to dive to 50m, you’d need a watch rated to 200m). Incorporating Casio’s tough performance and sensor technologies, the WSD-F10 delivers a polished experience as a wearable information device.
The WSD-F10 offers a wealth of useful original Casio applications for outdoor activities such as trekking, cycling and fishing. Among these are dedicated apps designed to measure changes in the natural environment and track activity levels. The device is powered by Android Wear, and users can also load their own apps to expand the feature set for diverse outdoor activities.
The watch face features a dual layer display with monochrome and color LCDs. Users can display measurement data and apps in colour, or they can extend the device’s life to more than one month by selecting to a Timepiece Mode that displays only watch data in monochrome. That is such a great idea!
The WSD-F10 also offers the ultimate in ease of use as an everyday watch, making the most of Casio’s years of experience in the timepiece business. The operating buttons are large and feature a slip-free finish so they can easily be operated with gloves on, and they are concentrated on the right side of the case. The wristband is made from soft urethane plastic that conforms to the wrist and can be comfortably worn for extended periods. There are four juicy colours in the range.
No confirmation as yet on price, but it’s expected to be around US$500 and available in late spring 2016. I want!
Tech accessory company Ten One Design is bringing its latest innovation, the Timeframe Charging Sleeve for Apple Watch, to CES 2016. The Timeframe sleeve slides easily onto your watch, regardless of size or band type, to deliver a reliable charge without any hassle or inconvenience.
The Timeframe sleeve is expertly designed to fit your Apple Watch snugly
and securely, so you can toss it into your purse, gym bag,
or desk drawer for a guaranteed charge wherever your day takes you. When it’s time to go, just flip the built-in release lever and out pops your fully-charged Apple Watch.
In addition to providing a quick and easy charge, the Timeframe also provides top-notch protection from bumps, drops, and wear-and-tear, so you have less to worry out and more time to go about your day.
The Timeframe Charging Sleeve from Ten One Design is available for preorder today here. It retails for $24.95 and is scheduled to begin shipping on January 28, 2016.
Queuing for rides at theme parks is a great opportunity for sizing up the fashions of fellow thrill seekers. Everyone docilely shuffles along and the folding line passes lots of people both in front and behind. As a watch fan, I enjoy checking out the timepieces around me and at Disneyland, Paris, there was plenty to see in the warm weather.
The wrists of Disney’s guests provided a good selection of horology from Rolexes and Omegas to Tissots and Casios. Michael Kors must be selling watches by the truckload: there were probably more of these fashion watches than anything else. What slightly surprised me was the dearth of smart watches. In five days at the House of Mouse and hundreds of people, I saw two Apple watches, one Sony smartwatch and a handful of Pebbles.
The Sony owner was next to me at one point and I engaged him in conversation about the watch. He confessed that it had been a gift and he didn’t use it very much. Interestingly, both the Apple watches were on women’s wrists. I’m not quite too sure what to take away from that…perhaps they were gifts too, or perhaps Apple has made the watches sufficiently fashionable and appealing that women will be the leaders here. Or perhaps it was pure coincidence.
Where are the smart watches? They’re not at Disneyland, that’s for sure.
On the heels of today’s Pebble Time update, Google will not be outdone. The search giant is continuing to try and improve on its Android Wear line of smartwatches. LG, Motorola and others have leaped into this market and Apple is there now as well.
One of the big things is watchfaces. They can be handy, especially when they show current temperature and conditions as Pebble does.
Now Google is rolling out a new line of them, bringing all sorts of features to your wrist. “Today, we’re launching interactive watch faces, making it easier (and more fun) to stay connected, right from your wrist. Now, with just a tap, your watch face can change its design, reveal more information, or even launch a specific app”.
The new updates are coming now. Google states “Today’s updates are rolling out to all Android Wear watches in the coming weeks. So pick your favorite watch face, or pair up with your favorite person, and start wearing what you want”.
So which smartwatch, if any, will you choose? I’m personally using Pebble, but considering a possible change to either upgrade, or switch altogether.
Looking for a new smartphone or smart watch in the UK and fancy a Moto X, Nexus 6 or Moto 360? Motorola is having a two day Spring sale starting at midnight tonight, Sunday, (00:01 18 May) and running through to midnight on Tuesday night.
For the Moto X smartphone, save £96 on 16 GB and 32 GB handsets, with prices starting from £299 and £339 respectively off contract.
On the Nexus 6 smartphone, save £30 on Midnight Blue or Cloud White Nexus 6 32 GB and 64 GB handsets, with prices starting from £449 and £519 also off contract.
Finally, save £50 on a Moto 360 smart watch in Stone or Black leather with prices starting from £149.
I really liked the Moto X when I reviewed for GNC back in January and now that has been updated with Lollipop I’m sure it’s even better. With a 5.2″ screen, it might suit the smaller pocket rather than a 6″ screen, but if bigger is better, it’s hard to go wrong with the Nexus 6.
Watch for the UK special offers on this page.