The concept of harnessing some of your cell phone abilities via a wrist top device is not new, but it is easily an expanding market prime for innovation and a killer product or two. Enter i’m Watch, the Italian designed and Android powered wrist top smartphone portal which is promising to be the world’s first “real smart watch”. The i’m Watch is a wristwatch-style device that houses a 1.5 inch touchscreen (240 x 240 resolution) allowing you to use your smartphone and its data connection to access weather, Twitter, Facebook, contacts, music and call control. The overall feel appears to be comparable to a current-gen iPod Nano but with a direct connection to your phone and tethered use of its data connection.
The physical unit measures 40 x 10 mm with a lug to lug of 52.6 mm and should not be too large for most wrists. The case is fitted with a 3.5 mm jack for audio and charging duties along with a lone button in its top right side. The i’m Watch runs on a rechargeable battery which can power its functions for a total of three hours of speakerphone use, 24 hours of standby time with Bluetooth on (double that figure with bt disabled) or up to five hours of “other uses”. Our guess is that users will need to charge their i’m Watch daily. Tech details include 4 GB of storage space and 128 mb of ram with processing dispatched by a Freescale ARM9 IMX223, which is good for a max clock speed of 454 MHz. Support for the most features appears to be limited to Android and iOS devices but complete technical specifications can be found here. The makers of the i’m Watch are planning to foster an expanding app development space to leverage the open source nature of the i’m Watch’s Android 1.6 operating system.
The i’m Watch’s Italian design is both simple and modern and is available in a range of case/strap options from silicone (~$325 USD sale price), titanium (~$645 USD), carbonium (~$2200 USD) or even a range of gold options for nearly $13,000 USD! All of these prices have been converted from Euro (and will change with time) as the i’m Watch is being sold from Europe and will ship internationally. According to their purchase agreement, the i’m Watch will start shipping on the 30th of January, 2012. Providing you have a fully featured and modern smartphone, the i’m Watch appears to be an interesting offering to this relatively new space.
While the special models carry truly unbelievable prices, the entry “Color” range costs only $325 which seems quite reasonable if the functionality fits with your smartphone use. It is anyone’s guess as to whether the average tech consumer wants a wrist mounted smartphone accessory or if the i’m Watch, and its competition, will go the way of the Casio Calculator Watch and find only a small but passionate following. While the name is a bit awkward, we will reserve most judgement on the i’m Watch until we get a chance to see one on wrist.