DIY Smartwatch: Current Offerings

Time for the most important step of the design process: the product definition.  I’m going to take some time, research some examples, and write down specifically what I (would) want in a custom smartwatch.  Let me start off by outlining the features of some current smartwatches on the market and using them to zero in on what I want.

Battery life:
  • Pebble – Roughly 7 days, mostly due to the ePaper display
  • Galaxy Gear – Roughly one day
  • Qualcomm Toq – 3 to 4 days
  • Sony SmartWatch 2 – 3 to 4 days
  • Pebble –
    • Sharp Memory or ePaper which means no color, just black and white, but has a backlight
    • 1.26″
    • 144×168 pixels
  • Galaxy Gear – 
    • Super AMOLED display which means lots of bright vibrant colors and no power draining backlight
    • 1.63″
    • 320×320 pixels
  • Qualcomm Toq – 
    • Mirasol Color Display, similar to eInk but with color, pretty low power usage
    • 1.55″
    • 288×192 pixels
  • Sony SmartWatch 2 –
    • Transflexive LCD which I assume means some sort of low power LCD screen
    • 1.6″
    • 220×176 pixels
  • Pebble – 32mm (W) x 50.33mm (H) x 8.44mm (D)
  • Galaxy Gear – 36.8mm (W) x 56.6mm (H) x 11.1mm (D)
  • Qualcomm Toq – 47.6mm (W) x  43.3mm (H) x 9.96mm (D)
  • Sony SmartWatch 2 – 42mm (W) x  41mm (H) x 9mm (D)
  • Pebble – Bluetooth 2.1 or 4.0 (BLE)
  • Galaxy Gear – Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE)
  • Qualcomm Toq – Bluetooth 4.0
  • Sony SmartWatch 2 – Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
  • Pebble – 4 navigation buttons, accelerometer for dismissing notifications with a shake, magnetometer, ambient light sensor
  • Galaxy Gear – Camera, 2 microphones, speaker, accelerometer, gyroscope, interactions with S Voice and other Galaxy features, touchscreen
  • Qualcomm Toq – touchscreen
  • Sony SmartWatch 2 – touchscreen
  • Pebble – $150
  • Galaxy Gear – $300
  • Qualcomm Toq – $300
  • Sony SmartWatch 2 – $180
So as a whole, the smartwatches on the market now have a lot to offer.  I probably won’t be able to achieve the same resolution as any of the commercial offerings, but I think I can at least get some of the same features.  Size might also end up being an issue.  I’ll most likely need to find a balance between features and size constraints.  Price is also worth mentioning.  $150 for the cheapest smartwatch is pretty steep.  The early backer price for the Pebble on Kickstarter was $100 so I’m going to try and shoot for less than that price range.

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