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Pebble's Smartwatch is said to have kickstarted the trend
Pebble's Smartwatch is said to have kickstarted the trend
 










Smartwatches set to flood market?

Local jewellery retailers might soon find more business potential in smartwatches, following a slew of new releases shown at a recent technology tradeshow.

The sheer volume of smartwatch offerings displayed at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas last week, had many industry commentators suggesting that the market had transitioned from being a niche segment to one much more mainstream.

While traditional jewellers and watch retailers may not be able to stock products from big-name technology brands such as Samsung, Sony or Apple, should the much speculated iWatch ever be launched, the influx of smartwatches will see other technology companies looking to market their products with smaller, independent retailers. 

For example, late last year West End Collection announced that it had secured Australian distribution rights for the Burg smartwatch phone – a wristwatch developed by Dutchman Hermen van den Burg. Unlike most smartwatches that do not act as stand-alone phones, the Burg watch can be paired to a wearer’s smartphone or can operate as an independent phone. 

Burg smartwatch, now available in Australia and distributed by West End Collection
Burg smartwatch, now available in Australia and distributed by West End Collection

While it is still considered early days for the new product category, below is a roundup of some of the smartwatches showcased at this year’s CES (held from 7-10 January). 

Pebble Steel

Moving away from the original Pebble’s brightly coloured, rubber and plastic design, the Steel is made from marine-grade stainless steel with Corning’s scratch resistant glass on the face. The watch is said to be light on the wrist and is available with both leather and metal bands, and features tactile metal buttons rather than a touch screen. While maintaining the current Pebble functionality, the new offering also automatically tracks and other activities, can deliver live sports notifications, and, if you have a Mercedes Benz, can even locate and activate your car. 

Pebble Steel
Pebble Steel

Wellograph

Creators of the Wellograph claim that the smartwatch is not only a timepiece but also a “premium wellness watch” that is an activity tracker, heart rate monitor and running watch all in one. With a leather or NATO fabric strap and a 1.26 inch sapphire crystal face, the Wellograph features a built-in nine-axis motion sensor and a tri-LED heart rate sensor. Although it lacks a GPS, the 4.0 Bluetooth does connect to Android or iOS devices and can reportedly last up to two weeks with two hours of charge.
 
Wellograph
Wellograph

Qualcomm Toq

Featuring a colour touch screen, Toq’s Mirasol display uses microscopic machines (MEMS) in a process called interferometric modulation that manipulates light refraction, allowing the screen to be viewed in direct sunlight. Also comprising an MP3 player, calling and texting functions, and smartphone integration, the Toq is said to deplete battery life a little faster than some of its contemporaries, but can be easily recharged via a wireless base. 

Qualcomm Toq
Qualcomm Toq

Sonostar SmartWatch

This smartwatch is said to be the pioneer of the curved touch screen with a 1.73 inch e-Paper display (like a Kindle) and smartphone integration via Bluetooth. Through the Bluetooth connection, the Sonostar not only offers notifications such as calls, texts and emails, but also provides sports-oriented updates and music control in a sleek wraparound design.

Sonostar Smartwatch
Sonostar Smartwatch

PHTL HOT (Hands On Talk)

The HOT smartwatch was another successful crowd-funding endeavour on display at the CES. Featuring four new designs, the timepiece enables calls directly from the device – a function that is not often provided by a smartwatch. Featuring a speakerphone with caller ID, text messaging and social media facilities, the HOT watch also incorporates an e-ink screen that uses swipe gestures to control menu options and is loaded with apps such as a pedometer, fall detection and note capture. 

PHTL HOT (Hands On Talk)
PHTL HOT (Hands On Talk)

Cogito Smartwatch

With a minimalist design, the circular analogue smartwatch from Cogito looks just like a conventional watch but includes a range of icons on the face to provide email, text message and missed call alerts, as well as offering calendar events. With only a small digital screen behind the arms of the watch, the Cogito is able to preserve battery life and the manufacturer claims it can last up to 12 months on a standard watch battery.

Cogito Smartwatch
Cogito Smartwatch

Other wearable tech

While watches and glasses largely dominated the wearable technology frenzy at the CES, there were a few other items on display that continue to blur the lines between what is and isn’t considered “jewellery”. 

The Netatmo June bracelet might look like a stylish accessory to the untrained eye but inside its platinum, gold or gunmetal plated stone is a UV sensor that tracks sun intensity and daily sun exposure, informing its wearer what type of sunscreen to apply and when.

Netatmo June Bracelet
Netatmo June Bracelet

Furthermore, British electronics business CSR also launched a line of wearable technology, including a pendant necklace embedded with LED that flashes different colours when receiving a text or email. 

Founded more than 40 years ago, the International CES is an annual consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow that takes place in Las Vegas. It is said to attract more than 150,000 visitors from 150 countries. 

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Monday, 25 June, 2018 02:24am
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