Rumors were abundant regarding smartwatches to look out for at the Mobile World Congress 2015, including the LG Urbane, HTC Petra, Samsung Orbis and even a smartwatch from Huawei. So, which of these devices made it to this year’s show?
Many were surprised with what Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. brought to the show. It did not just showcase one smartwatch, but other wearable devices as well. Huawei is known for its networking equipment, so attendees were pretty impressed with the Huawei Watch, an Android Wear smartwatch that has a more classic and traditional look and feel to it.
The Huawei Watch features a sapphire crystal face, stainless steel casing, 1.4-inch full circle AMOLED display with 400×400 resolution and 286ppi, Qualcomm APQ8026 1.2GHz processor, 512MB RAM + 4GB ROM and Bluetooth 4.0/4.1. Other features include gyroscope + accelerometer, PPG, barometer and vibration motor sensors; a built-in MIC; and 300mAh battery. The smartwatch comes with a charging cradle, USB cable, power adapter and Quick Start Guide. It measures 42mm in diameter and is 11.3mm thick. It will be available in silver, black and gold.
You can choose from 40 watch faces or interfaces, three luxurious cases, and a range of fine-grain leather or stainless steel straps. It allows you to quickly access contacts to send messages or make calls and get notifications from apps and social media services. It also doubles as a health and fitness tracker so you can stay fit while looking fab. Word on the street is that the Huawei Watch is priced at $1,000.
Huawei also showcased the TalkBand B2, the second iteration of its wearable tracker that doubles as a Bluetooth headset. It now features an aluminum alloy body and a 0.73” PMOLED touchscreen for a more sophisticated look. And finally the TalkBand N1 is a Bluetooth headset, wearable tracker and MP3 player all rolled into one within a magnetic necklace design.
LG Electronics USA, Inc. featured two smartwatch at MWC 2015: the Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE. The Watch Urbane is described as a posh version of the G Watch R as it still features the same 1.3-inch P-OLED screen, 410mAh battery, Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM; runs Android Wear; features 4GB eMMC, 9-axis (gyro/accelerometer/compass)/barometer; and is IP67 certified, making it water and dust resistant. It also features a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor that measures a user’s heart rate and average pulse during exercise, as well as an always-on ambient mode for location-aware capabilities. It comes in silver or gold steel casing and is compatible with devices running Android 4.3 or higher.
The Urbane LTE has more to offer with a 4G antenna allowing the user to make LTE phone calls, share GPS location, translate foreign languages and voice chat with peers. It has a 700mAh battery, NFC to facilitate mobile payments and 1.3-inch POLED display. The Urbane LTE is bulkier and more masculine in its appearance than the original Urbane.
Many were expecting HTC Corp. to debut its very first smartwatch, but it didn’t. However, it did reveal a wearable fitness tracker called Grip, which features a 1.8-inch 32×160 PMOLED mono flexible display with capacitive touch, 16MB flash, 8MB SRAM, and 100mAh battery that lasts 2.5 days or 5 hours if GPS is turned on. It has a sensor hub, G-sensor, gyro, compass, GPS and light sensor; BLE 3.0 and 4.0; vibration notifications; and IP57 dust, water and shock resistancy.
MWC 2015 also catered to a new type of smart device: the fusion between a smartphone and a smartwatch in the form of Runcible. Runcible is a standalone device that offers the connectivity of a smartphone by allowing users to call and message their contacts, but it does away with all the other distractions brought about by social media and other apps on smartphones. It runs Mozilla’s Firefox OS and comes with a camera, a touchscreen display, fully round display and customizable wooden rear cover.
Though it will allow you to make and receive calls, you need a Bluetooth headset for this as the Runcible doesn’t have a built-in mic and speaker, which also means you will never hear the device beep or make a sound. It is designed as such because it is meant to be used as a pocket watch with smartphone functionality — providing connectivity but eliminating distractions so you can enjoy the real world better. It will have different watch faces, like a social watch face that features social bubbles so you can easily keep track of your social networks. The Runcible is still a prototype; thus, the full specifications of the device are not yet available, but more details will be available by the end of the year, along with a $600 price tag.
Pebble Technology Corp. launched a Kickstarter project last week for the Pebble Time, which it brought to MWC. Pebble Time features a colored e-paper screen; a microphone so you can create voice notes; is 20 percent thinner than the original Pebble watch; has a quick release mechanism to quickly change straps; comes in black, white and red; and features a new timeline that delivers notifications in chronological order. It still features tactile buttons for easy navigation, offers compatibility with thousands of apps to get things done faster, and works with iOS 8 on iPhone 4S or higher and Android 4.0 or higher.
At MWC, Pebble also brought the Pebble Time Steel, which sports a machined metal case that comes in silver, gold and black. The Steel version also features an extended battery life, allowing it to last as long as 10 days. The device sports the same features as the original Pebble Time.
Acer Inc. introduced the update to its smartband offering, the Liquid Leap+, which features a tracker pod that has a water-resistant rating of IPX7 and easily pops out of the rubber wristband. It’s compatible for use on devices running on Android, iOS and Windows Phone; has music controls allowing for play, pause, go back or skip songs; and gets notifications for emails, calendar events and text messages. It has no physical buttons and to wake the device; you just need to double-tap and swipe the screen with your finger. Its battery lasts five to seven days, and the band comes in black, pink and green.
Though the device doesn’t have any cutting-edge features or features that make it standout from the other fitness trackers, it is cheap. It will be priced at $89 in the U.S. market.