Android and Me

Hands-on with i’m Watch at its official CES launch

3 years ago 64

The world’s first real Android powered smart watch is finally here! Today at CES, i’m Watch was officially unveiled to the world, showcasing what a true smart watch should actually be like. We’ve seen what SONY and Motorola have come up with, but their devices don’t really do everything we want an Android powered smart watch to do. The Motorola ACTV is a niche device intended to work independently of your smartphone as an exercise accessory. The SONY LiveView 2 is really only a Bluetooth enabled accessory that features some nice widgets that tie into your phone. But they don’t work without having an Android powered phone by your side.

The new i’m Watch takes a different approach, offering a smart watch experience integrated with Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth that allows users to load music and other applications directly onto the device without having to rely on a smartphone at all times.  Specs on the i’m Watch include a 1.54-inch 240×240 pixel (220ppi) curved capacitive display, 450 MHz ARM processor, 64 or 128 MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 450 mAh battery.

Currently, the i’m Watch is running Android 1.6 and there are no plans (with the current models) to update the device. I spoke with one of the engineers who said that the decision to go with Android 1.6 was due to the watch’s original 64 MB memory limitation. They have since changed the hardware to include 128 MB of memory, but found that the device was simply more stable on Android 1.6 than any of the newer versions of Android.

Battery life for the i’m Watch is rated at 48 hours of standby time, but that number drops off to only 24 hours if you have Bluetooth enabled. The i’m Watch team was brutally honest with me, saying that battery life is one of the main limitations of the device. Most people will be able to get through a full day with i’m Watch, but the battery can be drained in as little as three hours if you leave the display on the entire time.

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Shipments of i’m Watch will be headed out from Italy in February of 2012 as soon as the final version of the software is approved. The devices we played with were a lot more responsive than the hands-on videos that popped up on the web a few months back. The software allows users to sync their contacts, calendar and email and even access updates from Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re looking for the ultimate Android powered smart watch, the i’m Watch is definitely the way to go. Prices on the device range from $329 for the standard model to $2,299. Yes, it’s more expensive than the competition, but for now there’s nothing in the smart watch category that can really compete with the i’m Watch.

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LasVegas/Milan, January 10, 2012 – Play.me Radio Edition, the multi-device digital music application recently launched by Buongiorno-DadaEnt, is behind the i’Music channel for i’m Watch, the first smart wrist watch made in Italy, which is to be announced today at the CES in Las Vegas, the world’s foremost electronics and technology event.

The Play.me application on i’Music allows users to select all of their favorite music at a mere touch, thus enabling them to listen to their music anywhere through the intuitive interface offered by the smart watch that has already been selected for inclusion as a “CES 2012 Design & Engineering Award Honoree”.

Exclusively for i’Music, Play.me Radio Edition is offering over 1 million radio channels selected by artist and genre, along with carefully crafted playlists created by the DJs on the Play.me team, conceived to satisfy all music preferences, whether for pop, dance, Italian music, jazz, R&B or rock. Using Play.me Radio Edition is quick and immediate: the music is streamed in high quality and users can even listen offline by simply choosing a list of their favorite songs and saving them on their i’m Watches.

The radio channels are playlists of individual songs in a sequence that is constantly updated and not subject to any limits of use in terms of time or space. After having selected a radio channel, users can synchronize their smart watches to keep that channel always available for them to listen to at any time.

Smart watches with the Android operating system are innovative, effective wrist watches that are integrated with next-generation smartphones. Audio quality is guaranteed by 3.5 mm input/output mini-jacks for headphones, integrated speaker microphone connection and power and external “on,” “off,” “stand-by,” “re-activate volume,” “+” and “-” controls.

Buongiorno-DadaEnt, the Company behind Play.me Radio Edition app, has made it also available as a multi-device Web application based on HTML5 for use on PCs, tablets and smartphones or as a native application for Samsung smartphones and smart TVs.

Information about I’m Watch

I’m Watch is equipped with a 1.55-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth tethering and a 4GB memory card. The graphical user interface (GUI) is clean cut, minimalist, easy to use and draws inspiration from the icons of the iPhone and of other smartphones. A resistant glass protects the curved surface of the high-resolution display screen (similar to the iPod nano). The first collection of this wristwatch will be available in late February 2012 and can be purchased on the official website www.imwatch.it. For further information about i’mWatch and i’Music: http://www.imwatch.it/it-it/smartwatch/imusic/