Andy’s Wearable Computing Notebook – I received a press release from a Canadian company, Neptune. The release states:
Neptune unveils the Neptune Pine: The World’s First Full-Feature Smartwatch: A smartwatch that can make phone calls, shoot video, take pictures, check email, browse the Internet, play music, and much more; all independently without the presence of a nearby smartphone.
I checked out the Neptune website and saw pictures of the “pine” (sometimes with a lower case and sometime with an upper case “p”). The site states, “With the finest materials and a trendy design, the Neptune Pine is truly a bold fashion statement.” What I saw was a watch-type device with a large (USB?) built-in connector, uninspired gray plastic-looking band and cheap-looking display and body.
The specifications are intriguing, however! Pine comes with Android 4.0 OS and, “Not only does the Neptune Pine feature all of the standard connectivity that comes with a smartphone such as quad-band GSM, 3G, 802.11 Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0; it also boasts a digital compass and a FM radio.”
I hope this device is real and delivers a great experience. You can pre-order a pine for $420 ($CAD). I’m not ready to put down any of my money yet but will be following developments
DVICE - Fans of the iPod Nano Watch may want to think about making an upgrade in the near future. Of course, the only trade off is that you’ll have to switch to an Android device.
The Sony SmartWatch is essentially a tiny touchscreen that allows you to control and interact with your smartphone via Bluetooth. In addition to functioning rather well as a wristwatch, the device allows you to read sms and email messages, control your phone’s camera, read calendar appointments, and use services like Twitter and Facebook. In order to use the SmartWatch you’ll also need Sony’s LiveWare app along with the SmartWatch plug-in. Priced at $149, it’s due to arrive in stores later this month.
news, research, watch
New York Times – [...] Wearable computing is a broad term. Technically, a fancy electronic watch is a wearable computer. But the ultimate version of this technology is a screen that would somehow augment our vision with information and media.
Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers. Their main goal: to sell more smartphones. (In Google’s case, more smartphones sold means more advertising viewed.)
In Google’s secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that — when attached to your clothing or body — would communicate information back to an Android smartphone.
People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities who specialize in tiny wearable computers.
Apple has also experimented with prototype products that could relay information back to the iPhone These conceptual products could also display information on other Apple devices, like an iPod, which Apple is already encouraging us to wear on our wrists by selling Nanos with watch faces.
health, sports, watch
gizmag - Motorola Mobility has launched MOTOACTV, the company’s first music and fitness device. Designed to help you reach your fitness goals by tracking, syncing and recording your workout data and customizing your music, the Blutetooth-enabled MOTOACTV logs time, distance traveled and calories burned and has an inbuilt heart rate monitor, accelerometer and a GPS which records a map of your routes.
The 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.37 inches (46mm x 46mm x 9.6 mm) square MOTOACTV straps to the wrist or arm or can be mounted on a bike and sports a 1.6-inch full color touch screen that is sweat proof, rain and scratch resistant, and adapts to indoor and outdoor lighting. And it weighs in at a feathery 35grams.
The battery is specced at up to five hours for outdoor workouts, 10 for indoor and nearly two weeks on standby, while the device supports Bluetooth® 4.0 and ANT+ wireless connectivity.
gadget, software, watch
Engadget – Tablets and smartphones might rule the present, but if you ask the folks at WIMM Labs, the future of data consumption is a one-inch by one-inch square. The Los Altos startup just revealed its new, wearable computing platform, developed, in part, through a partnership with Foxconn, that it hopes will change the way we look at computers. Currently known as the WIMM wearable platform, this new modular device packs a full-color 160 x 160 touchscreen, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, an accelerometer and magnetometer, and runs on good old Android. What’s more, it’s waterproof. Basically, it’s a tiny, multifunctional computer, packed with “micro apps” that can make it anything from a smart watch to a health monitor, from a mobile payment device to an all-in-one remote. As of now, the company doesn’t have plans to market it direct to consumers, but says it has a few partnerships in the works that could bring a WIMM-powered something to market by year’s end; a developer kit will go on sale in the next few weeks for an undisclosed price.
PC World – A Canadian company has developed an awesomely hackable wristwatch called the inPulse that operates in the vein of Dick Tracy, or Inspector Gadget. The “programmable Bluetooth wristwatch” works as a display for apps that you build using the company’s free SDK on Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms and upload via the watch’s Bluetooth connection.
What’s more, since it can connect to Blackberries, Androids, and jailbroken iPhones (take that, Apple), customizable apps send you notifications about emails received, allow you to toggle through iTunes while your phone is in your pocket, or curate PowerPoint presentations with a previous and next button.
The watch is made for program-builders, and the watch makers offer the source code for the six-or-so apps that have already been created, so if you can code in C (or patch together a knowledge of C using the source code for the already created apps) you can build your wristwatch to do just about anything that’s possible with 32kB of program space, a single button, and a color OLED screen.
[Available now - USD 149.00]
gizmo Watch — [sic] We have marked a great shift in the form of modern gadgets that, other than holding up-to-date functions, equally support an elegant design to attract trendy users. Designed for Samsung, the ‘Wearable Mobile Device’ by Erik Campbell is a Smartphone that can be worn like a bracelet. Intended towards athletes, tech savvies, thrill seekers and active adults who look for excellence in both form and function, the Samsung device concept integrates an OLED touchscreen, tactile keypad and flexible electronics to support an active lifestyle. Featuring an elegant split pad for better airflow to prevent sweat, this device relies on memory alloy articulation for on the go communication.
the gadgeteer — ThinkGeek offers a very portable, wearable universal charger they call the Bracer of Battery Life +2. Unlike most charge-as-you-go chargers, this battery-extender doesn’t ruin the sleek lines of your phone, mp3 player, or gaming device, and you don’t need a different one for each of your gadgets. You wear the Bracer on your wrist like a bracelet, and you’ll have a 1500 mAh, 5.5V power source at the ready. The Bracer has a rechargeable lithium ion battery that recharges with the included USB cable. There’s a power button, a power status LED, and a 4-LED power level meter. The Bracer comes with a universal power output cable and nine connectors. You’ll receive connectors for iPhone, Nokia I (3.5 mm), Nokia II (2 mm), LG, Samsung i900, Sony Ericsson, Sony PSP, NDS Lite, Nintendo DSi, and a mini USB connector for Motorola/HTC/Dopod/and many mp3/mp4 devices. It’s $34.99 from ThinkGeek.
electronista — ASUS is using CES as the vehicle for a new design concept it hopes will guide its design in the future. Known as Waveface, it centers on using organic designs and new technology to make technology more natural as well as more flexible. The centerpiece is the Waveface Light, which Electronista had the chance to see at ASUS’ booth: it would act as a flexible OLED tablet that also fold up into a more conventional notebook design. A mockup interface would have a live stream of data and in tablet form let two users interact at the same time.
The most portable would be the Waveface Ultra. The thin strip would be intended as a hybrid phone, watch and computing device and would depend on a flexible OLED to let owners wrap the device around their wrist but still have a single surface when handheld.
cnet — Quite possibly one of the biggest buzzes at CES  so far has been about the LG Watch Phone, which we reported on yesterday morning. It’s no wonder; it fulfills every geek’s fantasy while still satisfying the cool quotient with its sleek styling and touch-screen interface.
We had a sit-down with LG earlier today at its booth in the Central Hall, and got up close and personal with the phone. LG wouldn’t let us touch it, but we did get a good look at how the transitions work between each tap of the finger. It looks quite intuitive, and the tempered glass on the surface apparently works as a capacitive touch screen, making it as easy to use as the one on the iPhone. We were surprised at how easy it seemed to dial numbers on the tiny dial pad, even though the screen only measures 1.43 inches diagonally. According to LG, texting will be done in a similar manner with a virtual T9 keypad.