The Pebble smartwatch has been a great success story for a small startup that launched a Kickstarter campaign last year. Pebble ended up breaking records when it raised more than $10 million on the crowd-funding site and it finally began shipping to customers late last month. The smartwatch features some nice iPhone integration out of the box, but a new jailbreak hack released by developer Conrad Kramer allows all notifications to be displayed on the watch’s E Ink screen instead of just notifications for native Apple (AAPL) apps like Messages, Mail and Phone, and a few third-party apps. The “BTNotificationEnabler” tweak is available right now for free in Cydia, the jailbreak equivalent of Apple’s App Store.
The web is abuzz with chatter surrounding Apple’s (AAPL) rumored “iWatch,” which both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal detailed in recent reports. Little is actually known about the device and the only info we really have at this point is that it is in development, it runs iOS and it may feature a curved glass face, which obviously isn’t very uncommon for a wristwatch. Bloomberg added some fuel to the fire on Tuesday evening when it reported that Apple’s iWatch is real and it is likely “beyond the experimentation phase;” its sources suggest that a team of more than 100 Apple employees including senior director of engineering James Foster is currently working on the device. The site offered no guess as to when the iWatch might launch.
While the world awaits new details surrounding the next-generation iPhone and a much rumored HDTV, news that Apple (AAPL) is developing an iOS-powered watch made the rounds on Sunday. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times each pointed to multiple unnamed sources when reporting the news around the same time, and few details were made available. The Times merely said Apple is “experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass” that will run iOS, and WSJ added that Apple has discussed the device with longtime manufacturing partner Hon Hai. The fact that these papers published their reports almost simultaneously suggests this may be a controlled leak, but a question remains: Does the world want an Apple watch? More →
In October, Google (GOOG) was granted a patent for a smartwatch with a flip-up display, however it was assumed that the concept, like most patents, would never move beyond the drawing board. A new report from Business Insider claims that the company is now “actively exploring” the idea of producing its own smartwatch and is even looking into ways it could market such a device. Information is slim and it is unclear what size the device would be or if it would even run the company’s Android operating system. Business Insider cautioned that the project is still in a “very early stage” and “it remains to be seen if Google will actually end up bringing a smart watch to market.” As the Pebble has shown, however, there is clearly a market for smartwatches.
The Kickstarter-backed Pebble smartwatch was originally scheduled to ship out to customers in September. The device, which can display and interact with apps on Android and iPhone smartphones, raised more than $10 million and received an overwhelming number of pre-orders, forcing the company to stray away from its originally planned schedule. At the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday, CEO Eric Migicovsky announced that the first batch of Pebble smartwatches will be shipped on January 23rd to its more than 65,000 Kickstarter backers. The company expects to have Pebble in the hands of all backers within 6 to 8 weeks. Migicovsky also revealed that the team has added a variety of goodies to the watch, such as a magnetometer and ambient light sensor.
We’re big fans of ZShock and its work, so when the company decided it was going to do what it does best on a Lunatik iPod nano watch case, we had to get our hands — and wrists — on one. It takes ZShock around 3-4 weeks to create and carefully hand-set the diamonds into pave settings on the white gold watch case. The craftsmanship on here is amazing, and just what you’d expect from one of the most innovative jewelers around. The all-diamond ZShock Lunatik iPod nano watch retails for around $18,000, though custom orders with different metals and even different diamonds and stones are possible from http://www.zshock.com. Make sure to check out some photos of the diamond Lunatik iPod nano watch in our hands on gallery!
When we first heard watchmaker Hublot would be releasing an iPhone app, we didn’t honestly expect much. Boy were we wrong. If you’re a watch lover, this app has to be the most feature-packed creation the App Store has to offer. There is loads of content available here — 360 degree interactive watch views, the ability to actually see and control your favorite watch (complete with start/stop chronograph function), to even a built in game where you can win prizes by winding up a virtual power reserve on a Hublot (you shake the iPhone to wind the watch). It’s pretty amazing to see a watch company that gets what the iPhone experience is all about. Our favorite feature, though? Hublot went all out with the ability to let you try on your favorite Hublot watch using an augmented reality-type interface, and it looks really, really good. The app weighs in at around 65MB, but storage space on your iPhone is a small thing to spare to have a virtual collection of Hublot timepieces in your pocket.
Oh, Motorola. You’ve now been featured in two out of two of our Throwback Thursdays. Who remembers the TIMEX Beepware watch? A collaboration with Motorola, the Beepware pager watch had a monochrome display and weighed around 1.3 ounces. But that’s boring, the insane part was that it was a full-fledged one-way pager with service through Skytel. You could get weather updates through it, people could email you, and you could of course make use of an operator dispatched page if you signed up for that service. The watch was first made available in 1997.
BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets of yesterday and yesteryear.
The bad news: it’s €899. Subsidized. On contract. Seriously. Orange has finally made LG’s highly anticipated GD910 Watch Phone official, confirming it will be the phone’s exclusive carrier in Europe. The sleek 3G touchscreen handset wristset is available immediately in France and the aforementioned price is tied to “an Origami star, first, jet or Origami plus package (12 or 24-month contract).” Unsurprisingly, no contract-free pricing is listed. We’re really interested to see where this thing goes to be honest. Here’s our conundrum: If you have €899 (about $1,300) to spend on a phone, you should already be rocking a pretty solid watch, no? Not necessarily anything too crazy per se, but a solid timepiece that you probably spent at least a few grand on. In fact, odds are good you have several nice watches to choose from each morning. Now you’re going to replace them with a Watch Phone? One that you have to wear each and every day — because it’s your phone — unless you swap the SIM constantly? Sorry guys, we’re just not seeing it. If you are seeing it however, and you think $1,300 on contract is a fair price, it’s time to pack up your things and move across the pond as we can’t imagine that this little guy is going to make it to the US any time soon — FCC approval or not.
To be perfectly honest, it’s hard to know whether or not we actually care about the possibility of LG’s upcoming GD910 watch phone touching down in the US. If the pricing comes in as high as had been rumored a few months ago — $1,500 or more — then the answer is most definitely no. If LG can manage to simmer down a bit and hit a more realistic price point… Well, it might be fun to play with for a minute. Whether or not the GD910 will officially hit US soil is still an unknown but its stroll through the FCC halls at least makes it a much more likely possibility. As far as frequencies covered in the FCC documents, don’t get too excited. GSM/GPRS/EDGE 1900 is all we’ve got so far but it still looks like there are still a bunch of documents that haven’t been released yet so maybe LG will surprise us with some US 3G. And maybe not. Hit the jump for the label as found with the patent app.
More interesting news from the UK today as it looks like LG’s would-be-highly-anticipated-if-not-for-the-insanely-high-rumored-price-tag GD910 watch phone is set to become a reality next month. Orange has reportedly confirmed that LG’s Dick Tracy-esque wrist gear will hit store shelves some time in August as an exclusive, though Orange exclusivity will only be for “a limited time”. The carrier hasn’t yet pinned a price on the touchscreen GD910 watch phone and we don’t blame them considering it’s rumored to be in the £1,000 range (about $1,612 at today’s exchange rate) on a pay-as-you-go plan or SIM-only. And you thought the Nokia N97 was expensive. For the sake of our British friends’ wallets, let’s hope the rumored price is way high and this little HSDPA-ready wristwatch drops with a slightly less ridiculous price tag. As for availability on this side of the Atlantic — don’t hold your breath.
Put off by the £1,000 price tag LG and Orange will reportedly attempt to fetch for the upcoming GD910 watch phone? Don’t fret, English brothers, as your dreams of hitting the streets Dick Tracy style are not dead in the water just yet. Hyundai has just confirmed it will soon be launching a new watch phone of its own and just as the company has done in other markets, the touchscreen MB-910 watch phone is all about undercutting the competition. The MB-910 is much less capable than LG’s offering of course, but it does have a few advantages. Price, first and foremost, and a slightly better display resolution of 132 x 176 pixels — though it only supports 65K colors. The unit also has a 400mAh battery rated by Hyundai at 70 hours of standby and three hours of talk time. It will support voice, SMS, MMS, email, video playback and music playback, though its 128MB of internal memory will certainly limit the usefulness of any video and music capabilities. Finally, no 3G to be found unfortunately, though we’re not so sure it’s necessary just yet in a watch phone. Hyundai’s MB-910 will be released in the UK some time in Q2 and will run a respectable £200 ($277), including a Bluetooth headset.
Well, watch phone fans… It was fun while it lasted. When we first caught wind of the LG Watch Phone, we laughed. When LG unveiled it, we were silenced. When Orange reportedly priced it late last week, we laughed again — and then cried. For the time being this is a rumor as Orange and LG have yet to confirm it, but word on the street is LG’s Watch Phone will be announced by Orange soon for a whopping £1,000 ($1,454) or £500 ($727) on contract with a monthly rate of £40 ($58) and up. Wow. The 3G is great, the UI is nice, the touchscreen is cool and the functionality is respectable but the price? No, no, no. That ugly little Phenom watch phone isn’t looking so bad anymore, is it?