Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Netronix E-ink Smartwatch (video)

Posted: 12 Jul 2014 10:05 AM PDT

netronix smartwatchSmartwatches were a dime a dozen at CES 2014 and now Netronix is jumping into the mix. Charbax caught up with the Taiwan-based design house at a trade show recently where he got a good look at their newest gadget.

The Netronix smartwatch sports a 1.73″ Mobius E-ink display, with a screen resolution of 320 x 240. The one shown in the video is a prototype, and it runs Linux. Like most smartwatches it is intended to be paired with smartphones over Bluetooth.

As you can see in the video, the prototype has a couple buttons on either edge, two on the face, and it even has a touchscreen. This watch weghs in at 77 grams, and Netronix is saying that the production model will have 4-6 days battery life. They’re also saying they have several interested customers, and that the wholesale price will be $70-$80.

It’s a neat looking gadget, but I’m not nearly as excited about smartwatches as I was at CES 2014. I’m not so sure they will amount to much more than a curiosity.

It’s not just that there’s no evidence that Apple is going to get into the market; I don’t see what need a smartwatch fills other than saving you the effort of removing your smartphone from your pocket. Most designs are so limited that they can never be more than an accessory.

True, there are a few models (the Motorola Activ, for example) that fill a secondary purpose  better than a smartwatch would, but they are the exception.

If I had to make a prediction I would say that in the next couple years the hype surrounding smartwatches will fizzle, leaving the category as little more than another type of wristwatch.

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