Jan 11 AT 11:53 AM Nick Gray 64 Comments

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


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.

Show Press Release
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/

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://goo.gl/tQ2E wwJOSHdo

    This is freaking awesome! I would totally freaking wear one of those! :D

    • iamXiV92a

      I’m all for it, but look at the price tag…

      • Andy_jr

        $329 is getting close to the range I would pay for something like this.

        For better battery life, it would be cool to see a Pixel Qi or Mirasol type display.

        I hope this segment takes off!

        • kensaysrawr

          I’d rather get the motoactv cheaper and gps

  • spazby

    i would be all over this if the battery lasted longer… would be great for golfing – gps included?

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      No GPS, but who knows what the next version will be equipped with.

  • Reconnnn

    You should take a look at the wimm one. It’s the same concept but a better solution I think.

    You should be able to find them at CES.

    • _matte

      well I saw the i’m watch at CES, i found it awesome..! i think it’s a great product


    Awesomeness !! i want yesterday !!

  • Oskar Wismierski

    $2,299?! :O

  • Oskar Wismierski

    Loving the iphone in the vid lol

  • gre@aol.com

    people who would be interested in this most likely already have a smart phone THAT INCLUDES A CLOCK

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Obviously you don’t get the point.

      • gre@aol.com

        please do explain the point lol
        I’m a techbuff i don’t get a boner over useless tech just becasue its different
        Is not practical its running outdated software its not inviting

        and you know what you could buy with that type of cash

        • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

          The idea behind a device like this is that you can use it to get all your notifications without actually having to pull out your phone all the time. It’s amazing how people go into meetings or even out to dinner and pull out their phones and place them on the table. With a smart watch, that’s no longer necessary since all your notifications will be available on your watch.

          Yes, there will be times that you will need to pull out your phone to reply to an email or send out a tweet, but even though you’ll have to recharge your smart watch on a daily basis you should notice better battery life from your phone since you will not be turning on the screen (the number one battery killer) as often.

          No, a smart watch isn’t really needed and will not replace your phone any time soon. It’s a companion device which enhanced your phone’s experience and allows you to keep your phone in your pocket more.

          • Hr

            That put gre in his place!

  • nivekkev

    Everything was kewl till they got to the price, guess I will be waiting a little while longer for something like this. Just thinking, the watch would cost more than my fone, funny thouhgt there…

  • Futureboy

    For $329, I’ll strap a 7 inch tablet to my wrist. It’s an awesome idea and has a ton of potential, but the price is just a bit too high for it’s limitations.

    • Dustin Earley

      I could use a 7-inch watch.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      The high price is probably because it is a niche product that will not be produced in large quantities.

  • Chris

    My friend has that fossil watch and to stupid big and the android watch is even bigger…no thanks

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      You making fun of my watch? Yes it is big, but Fossil has watches that are even bigger. This is a first-generation product. SONY managed to shrink things down a little with their LiveView 2 SmartWatch. I’m sure i’m watch will be working on a sleeker design for the second generation.

  • mark

    I don’t need it. I always have my phone with me.

    I don’t want one more devise that needs to be recharged every day.
    My watch runs on the same battery for more than 2 years. I can take it on planes and under water and I need only one look to see what time it is – without touching any buttons.

  • Jteph

    I find it useless and too expensive. I’d rather have a classic watch on my wrist and a good smartphone in my pocket.

  • YMS123

    The Motoactv has a 600Mhz processor, 256mb of ram, 16 gb of storage space, a GPS (!) can run Honeycomb, for $300 (+ $30 for the wrist band) , this thing seems pretty over priced.

  • YMS123

    The Motoactv has a 600Mhz processor, 256mb of ram,8 or16 gb of storage space, a GPS (!) can run Honeycomb, and starts at $250 (+ $30 for the wrist band) , this thing starting at $320 seems pretty over priced.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      true, but that things is also a lot bigger than the i’m watch and made by Motorola which has years of manufacturing experience. The i’m watch will be the very first product for this Italian company. Once they get more experience making these devices, the product itself will get a lot better. Also, i’m watch will be manufactured in Italy where costs are a lot higher than places like china and Taiwan.

  • Vance

    … Shan’t

  • No_Smoking

    I don’t wear watches, but that’s pretty sexy IMHO.

    • bigsmoothz88

      Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah
      Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wig-yea, yea
      Do the wiggle, man
      I do the wiggle, man (yea)
      I’m sexy and I know it…

  • http://willoughbyjunction.com Jayson Olson

    While I think the technology is pretty darn cool, I’m just a little puzzled by the excitement.

    Maybe it’s because this YouTube’d demo was’t the best prepared as the guy said, it just synced with a new iPhone, so there were no contacts, email, or info that was shown. I would have felt better if there was live data to actually look at to understand this better.

    But then, the vendor said “You can’t really read email.” and “You can’t write any email” You can’t post FB status or see picture posts…so then what does this watch do that any low-rent smart phone can’t do? I’m not trying to be troll at all, and I wouldn’t kick it out of bed, but the idea of spending that kind of money to look at a glorified notification service I can’t really fully interact with…I just don’t get it.

    The only thing I see I like is the MP3 capability for the gym…but don’t 99% of us already own players to begin with, so are you going to replace your dedicated Nano or Zune or Sandisk with this? I’m a bit lost, but am intrigued.

  • lokidokie

    I’ve been waiting for a ‘smart watch’ worthy of my money

    • Andy_jr

      So have I, and I agree with Nick that this is probably the first one that is interesting. I hope they are successful.

    • damambt

      I agree, I’m tired of my friends trying to get me to buy an iPod just because they can use it as a wristwatch. MotoActiv is nice but this is something that fits me.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      As much as I love the i’m watch, I’ll probably just buy the Sony SmartWatch because it has better app support and lasts a lot longer. It’s not as sexy as i’m watch, but I’m hoping to get my hands on a review unit so that we can show you exactly what it’s like to live with an Android powered smart watch

  • bigsmoothz88

    Who wants to charge their watch every night? Plus, what are the chances that this watch is even water resistant? Not worth it…

  • cabrone

    looks oddly similar to the Ipod nano watch… still, android is better!

    • andrew_fire

      except that the ipod nano does not connect with your smartphone;)

  • cthonctic

    I do wear a watch (a Suunto Core “outdoor computer”, to be exact) which cost a bit more than the basic model of this one. The looks are fine too.

    But a single day of battery life is a show-stopper for a watch. I’m fine with charging my mobile every (other) night but I really can’t be bothered to take of my watch to charge all the time.

    As I said in other comments, I’d prefer a slimmer-featured connected watch with an eInk or Mirasol display that will survive 1 month on a single charge, minimum. After all, I won’t need this thing to do Facebook, G+, Angry Birds etc.; it’s supposed to be a wearable companion device for my smartphone that tells me time and date, along with what notifications I have and who is calling me.
    Kind of like the G-Shock… so if we can take the design of this one and the functionality/battery life of the G-Shock and maybe stay under $200 – then we’re talking.

  • geoone

    The price is the main disadvantage for this device, we’ll see soon similar devices on eBay at no more than $80 directly from sellers in HongKong, of course with a low quality but able to do exactly the same.

  • aryin

    hoping to get an even more advanced one

  • Mark

    Maybe I’m missing something but what is there to be excited about?

  • http://www.jdotreach.com Joshua Reach

    I love it, even with android 1.6! It’s a watch, not a full featured smartphone. Totally want one!

    (Like how you compared it to a standard wrist watch in the pic, I was worried about the size of these)

  • donger

    what if you have fat fingers?

  • Emmanuel Lazcano

    I’d definitely would like one of these watches, but not at that price. For the current asking price I would rather get a subsidized phone with a 2 year contract renewal with my service provider. Let’s see how competitive the smart-watch market gets; maybe we’ll see better machines/timepieces for lower prices.

  • raichleb

    I’m not ready to jump into this, yet. At this point, I think the early adopters will spend a lot of time holding their smart phones in the same hand that their smart watch is on. But as an earlier post said, that’s really not the point. This market is just beginning to move. Anyone care to guess what will be available, and at what price point in another 18 to 24 months?

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      I’d say we’ll see something with double the battery life and a lot thinner in just 12 months. I think the magic price point for a smart watch will be $149 for basic features and $199 for a device that can handle almost anything.

  • vid500

    Cool, that’s nice. In a year when they manage to get more battery power into the device I would be really one of the buyers, It really comes handy when you don’t have your phone with you, but wont to use some apps(like running,…). Great.

  • Zeferino

    Gotta be kidding me guys. this watch is like something that was released in the early 90′s. Even the LG GD910 will outstrip this by miles. This is a bad attempt at fooling the people, and all the big promises given has turned out to be just that, promises. Even the Chinese watch phones perform better and cost less.

  • aykutb

    yes it’s a smartwatch okay and these guys are the pioneers but I highly doubt they’ll be the leading brand in the industry.We’ll see other brands coming up with such devices,thanks to backwards engineering.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      true, i’m watch is priced high because they are a boutique Italian company focusing more on design than anything else. Sony and Motorola are already in the smart watch game and I’ll bet that we see products from Samsung and LG this year as well.

  • Tim

    I currently have a Timex USB data watch that is waterproof to 100 meters and has a battery that last 2 years. Timex stopped making this-not sure why. When this watch stops working I would like a digital watch with even better data and bluetooth sync with Outlook, and battery life and durability that is just as good or even better. These “smart” watches need a nearby phone, recharging everyday or 2 days, are delicate, and don’t really provide anything more useful than my data watch.

  • Jerry Chan

    It’s looks so cool, but how long will you get it after placed an order on the web site?

  • Jerry Chan

    Any one ordered online yet?

    • Arabear

      I placed an order for 2 watches, and so far I keep on getting emails of apologies for the delay in delivery! Now it looks like I will get it (fingers crossed) 2nd or 3rd week of March 2012.
      I am not happy with the delay, especially the set software version is getting older by the day!!!
      Those Italians should stop eating pasta and start cracking on producing those watches before they are completely obsolete and surpassed by 300 other smart watches out of China!
      It took the Italians ages to produce proper working cars, at first they thought of them as work of art, and left the mechanics behind! Hope they don’t do the same with the i’m watch!

  • Karlnorway

    Too bad I live in Norway its not comming local any time soon

  • Phil

    Beware if thinking of ordering – every promised release date has been missed. Support tickets go unanswered. Possible scam.

  • brian88

    it looks great!!:) I’ve ordered it!

  • duke

    To everyone who is interested in this watch. Please don’t order it. I have ordered one in the beginning of Feb. 2012 and paid it with full charge. But nothing happen. There was no any confirming letters to inform you when it will ship. if you write to them, they won’t give you any answer. What you got is just a auto-reply letter. They treat you like a fool.

  • Bob Frankston

    Ordered in January — no sign of it yet.

  • Momad

    Smells like a scam to me! The initial release date was originally Jan 2012. Till now not one single person has gotten it delivered. Not a single blog post, tweet, or youtube video. This looks to be a mega scam!!

    • Phil

      It’s longer than that – They originally suggested they’d be shipping the middle of 2011.
      They’re now saying some deliveries in April. But they’re not in order sequence so some people who placed orders early 2011 may get delivery after people placing orders in 2012.
      The company gives no information as to what the issues have been.
      If you place an order, make sure you can get your money back if they go broke.

  • Erik

    SCAM!!! Absolute unequivocal SCAM!! They have ALL my money and won’t answer phone calls (don’t even have voicemail) nor emails anymore. DO NOT waste your money or time on this watch. It’s been MONTHS since the watch was promised, I know it was a pre-order, but I’ve been waiting for far too long… with no recourse. DON’T BUY!!

  • Phillip

    Unfortunately this company is scamming people. People have not received their watch. Upon asking for refunds — they’re getting the runaround … “will refund in 15 days”… three months pass “will refund in 1 week”

    now I posted imwatchscam.com

    Not sure it will help, but hopefully people will stop buying…