Tag Archives: smartwatch

Did Swatch Kill The iWatch?



iswatchIn 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.


3 new Pebble watches hit Kickstarter



Pebble_Family_Blue_CropDespite 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.


Casio Smart Outdoor Watch



casio logoTo 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.

WSD-F10 Hero

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.

Mono Dial WSD-F10The 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.

WSD-F10 Range

No confirmation as yet on price, but it’s expected to be around US$500 and available in late spring 2016. I want!


Where Are The Smart Watches?



Michael KorsQueuing 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.


Android Wear smatwatches get new interactive faces



Android LogoOn 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.


Swatch may Bring a Smartwatch to Market in August



Swatch logoSwatch, the Swiss watch maker best known for its colorful and untraditional designs, is looking to enter the smartwatch market. It’s still unclear as to what exactly Swatch is planning. But at a recent company meeting, Swatch CEO Nick Hayak stated that Swatch’s smartwatch will be launching in two countries within the next three months.

2015 is definitely shaping up to be the year of the smartwatch. And while tech companies like Apple, Motorola and Pebble have all made headlines this year in the smartwatch space, it seems few established watchmakers have entered the fray. Given its history as a known and trusted brand in watchmaking, could Swatch bring a new perspective to the field?

Little is known yet about Swatch’s proposed smartwatch. Will Swatch develop a proprietary OS? Will the company implement some version of the Android operating system? During that company meeting, Hayak said that Swatch will launch its smartwatch in two countries. The first will be Switzerland and the other was only described as a “large country.” It seems logical that this other country would be the United States. But Swatch has made deals with China UnionPay, a Chinese financial firm, and it’s likely that the Swatch smartwatch will ship with a near field communication chip that could allow the device to make mobile payments. Given the prevalence of the Apple Watch and Android Wearables in the U.S., perhaps Swatch’s second launch country will be China instead.

Despite its rapid growth in recent months, the smartwatch space is still fairly new and much is likely to change. If Swatch is able to bring a product to consumers that’s unique and reasonably priced, the watchmaker might just find a whole new market to tap into.


Burg Smartwatch Mixes Luxurious Design and High-Tech Features at CES



Burg logo2015 is poised to be the year of the smartwatch. And even tho a certain big technology brand is set to release its first smartwatch this year, smartwaches themselves have been around for awhile. Indeed, Burg has been developing its own smartwatches for several years now. And while other smartwatch manufacturers put technology first, Burg has put its focus on style and design.

Nick and Jamie had a conversation with Steven from Burg. Steven came by armed with the Burg 27, a stylish smartwatch packed with tons of cool features. Burg watches use an electronic display that, by default, shows a dial for telling time. Each watch comes with a number of dials available and users can change them at will. A simple swipe across the watch screen reveals access to an impressive number of applications. Everything you’d expect is there; phone, messaging, social media and web browsing. But the Burg watch also comes with health-tracking apps and even a 2-megpixel camera that can be used with services like Skype. Also, the Burg smartwatch can operate independently using an onboard SIM. There’s no need to rely on your phone to use the apps built into a Burg watch. But you can still pair it with a phone if need be.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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SmartSafe Brings Data Security To Your Wrist At CES



Ionosys Smart Safe

Our personal data is valuable. With the endless stream of hacks and security breaches flooding the news these days, protecting our private information is more important than ever.

Scott spoke with Stephane Blondeau of Ionosys about the Ionosys SmartSafe. SmartSafe is a wristband that securely stores your passwords, account numbers, and other personal data right on your wrist. The wristband uses a combination of encryption and your personal biometrics to ensure that only you as the owner have access. And with NFC capability, SmartSafe can connect to your other devices, including doors.

SmartSafe will be available in September or October. Price is still to be finalized.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Toys for Christmas 2014



Minecraft FiguresOnce Hallowe’en is over, the holiday seasons begins in earnest with both children and parents thinking about Christmas presents and toys. Unsurprisingly, the Toy Retailers Association for the UK and Ireland is happy to give some advice on what it considers to be the likely favourites for Santa Claus’ sack and in the festive spirit, here are their top twelve toys of Christmas.

  • Bop-It! Beats from Hasbro
  • Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa from JAKKS Pacific
  • Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll from Mattel
  • Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech
  • Little Live Pets Bird Cage from Character Options
  • Minecraft Figures (Assorted) from Character Options
  • My Friend Cayla from Vivid Toy Group
  • Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1 from Hasbro
  • Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! from LEGO
  • Toot-Toot Animals Safari Park from VTech
  • Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock from Hasbro
  • Zoomer Dino – Boomer from Spin Master Toys

KiddiZoom SmartWatchAside from the fact that Disney’s Frozen features twice, the other item that stands out is the VTech’s Kidizoom SmartWatch. Smartwatches are hardly mainstream items, yet here they are. At a retail price of less than GB£40, these have to be the cheapest smartwatches available, with some great features, including lots of different analogue and digital clock faces, a colour touch screen, built-in camera, voice recorder (with effects), games and a rechargeable battery. I think there are some adult smartwatches with fewer features!