Apple’s new “iWatch” may be the biggest story of late in tech territory, but there are other wearables out there ready to catch the eye the of trendier customer. The Apple iWatch has some formidable new competition from rivals Intel and Motorola.
Back in September of 2013, Intel founded a wearables division called the New Devices Group and showcased the MICA bracelet at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January. The MICA name stands for My Intelligent Communication Accessory, and the smart bracelet made its official debut at a fashion show last week, but details like price and features are still forthcoming. The MICA is designed to keep busy fashionistas connected to their messages and personal alerts even if they stray more than a foot or two away from their smartphones.
“It’s a statement piece; it’s not so much a piece of technology as it is a beautiful accessory with the added benefit of technology,” Intel spokeswoman Ellen Healy explained. “Some of the apps available are still being determined with third parties, so we will announce those before early November.”
Another fashionable smartwatch is the Motorola 360, a new wearable device that allows users to access sports on the Internet, record their jogging and keep track of exercise schedules. The Motorola 360 uses the Android Wear platform from Google and sells for $249. This wearable owes some of its style to the Horween Leather Company, the Chicago tannery that designed its leather wristband.
While undeniably attractive, the Moto 360 has been greeted by mixed reviews. One complained of the short life of the 320-mAh battery and called the processor “old, slow, inefficient, and power hungry.” On the bright side, the watch is IP67 water resistant and has a clear shell on the bottom to shut out dust and moisture. As for specs, the Moto 360 runs Android 4.4W, has a 1GHz TI OMAP 3 CPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB storage and comes with an optical heart rate monitor (PPG), dual microphones, IP67 and leather band. A metal band is available at extra cost.
Compared to the more utilitarian Apple Watch, the Moto 360 definitely has the sophisticated style to attract fanciers of fine timepieces, both male and female. The round 46mm face is a welcome change from the square-ish displays sported by most current smartwatches like the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. The 1.56-inch diameter has 320×290 resolution. For the customer who prefers a sharp fashion accessory to a small iPad strapped to the wrist, the Moto is the trendier choice, provided you’re not addicted to all things Apple.
The smartwatch market right now is rather like the Wild West, and there’s no way to tell which device will emerge as the new Top Gun and which will wind up on Boot Hill (or the clearance table) in a few months. The Motorola 360 sets a new standard for style but only time will tell how well this trendy timepiece is received by the watch-buying public.