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Android ‘smartwatch’ acts as Bluetooth extension to smartphones

Aug 8, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Blue Sky has begun taking pre-orders for the “I'mWatch,” an Android 1.6-based gadget that offers a 1.5-inch screen and audio jack, interacting with smartphones via Bluetooth to display alerts. The device follows last week's WIMM One wearable Android watch, as well as an Android-based watch platform from Motorola called the MotoActive that popped up recently on the web.

Wristwatches started going out of style long before MP3 players. Yet, vendors have lately been recasting these devices as Bluetooth-savvy Android "smart watch" and wearable smartphone accessories.

Earlier this year, Sony Ericsson released its Liveview clip-on accessory for Android phones, and images of a Motorola MotoActive watch recently spilled onto the web (see farther below). And last week, WIMM Labs announced its 1.4-inch, Android-based WIMM One Module reference platform aimed at fitness-related devices. 

Now, Milan, Italy-based Blue Sky has joined in by taking pre-orders for its I'mWatch "smartwatch" platform. Based loosely on Android 1.6, the watch is designed to interact via Bluetooth 2.1 with any Android device, as well as with the Apple iPhone 4, RIM BlackBerry phones, and Windows Phone 7, says the company.

I'mWatch in its various colors
(Click to enlarge)

Users can download a variety of apps running on these devices from the company's I'm Store, or sign up for its I'music site for downloadable music. The apps push alert feeds for news, weather, stock feeds, and appointments, says Blue Sky. They are also said to include interactive alert apps for text messaging, social networking, and email. A call-screening app is also said to be available.

Jeweled versions of the I'mWatch

The 1.54-inch, 240 x 240 resolution touchscreen can display photos and watchfaces, and users can also plug in 3.5mm earphones to use the device as a music player or handsfree calling extension to a Bluetoot- connected smartphone. A mic and speakers are also supplied.

I'mWatch in red

The I'mWatch is built around an ARM9-based Freescale i.MX233 processor, says Blue Sky. The i.MX233 offers integrated power management, and specializes in audio, featuring support for analog audio and a monaural audio amplifier. No clock speed was mentioned for the I'mWatch, but when the i.MX233 was announced in 2009, it ran at 454MHz.

The modest i.MX233 is likely up to the job of organizing Bluetooth communications, acting as an MP3 player, and displaying photos. The I'mWatch does not play video or offer web browsing.

I'mWatch with messaging alert app

The device offers just 64MB of RAM, as well as a 4GB internal flash drive. Other features include volume and on/off buttons and a 350mAh battery that charges via a micro-USB port or a power adapter, says Blue Sky. Standby time ranges from 30 to 48 hours depending on whether Bluetooth is activated, and general usage lasts 3.5 hours, or three hours with continual speakerphone, says the company.

The I'mWatch measures 2.17 x 1.57 x 0.35 inches (55 x 40 x 9mm) and weighs 2.47 ounces (70 grams). That's for the basic color versions that cost 249 euros ($354).

Luxury jeweled models weigh more, starting with a 699-euro ($852) Titanium model and moving up to a 11,999-euro ($17,094) Gold and a 14,999-euro ($21,330) gold and diamond encrusted version.

The 249-euro price is apparently a special pre-order price, which also gives buyers a T-shirt, as well as a one year subscription to the I'music site. Pre-orders require 20 percent down payments, and shipments are said to be due in November. It is unclear if any apps are available free with the device, or how much the apps will cost.

The I'mWatch site offers more information and links to pre-orders.

Motorola MotoActive and Tracy XL

Images of a Motorola sportswatch platform that appears to be called the MotoActive were posted July 27 on Engadget. The images were found in a recent online survey, and may be showing a device in the prototype phase, suggests the story.

The MotoActive is said to be a fitness device that includes a music player and GPS, and can communicate with Android devices, offering wireless sync and workout analysis. Presumably the device itself runs Android, although this was not clear from the report.

Leaked images of Motorola MotoActive device

Source: Engadget

An AndroidCommunity follow-up on the story last week suggested it may be a variation of another Motorola watch platform called the Tracy XL that was leaked on Pocketnow in early June. PocketNow later removed the images per request from Motorola Mobility, but they are still available on an earlier AndroidCommunity post (see below).

Leaked marketing document for Motorola TracyXL

Source: Pocketnow via AndroidCommunity

The PocketNow report suggests that the Tracy XL may be Android-based, something more positively attributed to two other thin-looking Android handsets — referred to as the Slimline and Zaha — tipped in the same marketing document. No more details appeared to be available, however.

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